- Learn to cook fresh West Coast seafood dishes
- Informal experience cooking together
- Using the best fresh produce available
- Sensory experience
- Join fellow foodies around Isabella’s table to enjoy the feast you prepare together
- A small gift to take home
11h00 – 15h00 (about 4 hours)
12 August 2017
16 September 2017
14 October 2017
28 October 2017
Any date for private cooking experience – by booking request
R650 per person
With a former career as a fashion editor of several best-selling South African magazines, Isabella Niehaus’s home, situated on a dune overlooking the ocean in the laid-back West Coast town of Langebaan, is the stuff of décor stylists’ dreams. No surprise then that her cooking experience is as much a feast for the eye as the taste buds.
“Creating a sense of occasion by setting a beautiful table is as important for me as eating a delicious meal,” says Isabella, or Bella as her friends know her. But let’s take it back to the beginning. Bella is a cook and entertainer of note, with a special passion for cooking with fresh, sustainable seafood. It’s her mission to show guests that cooking with fresh fish doesn’t have to be intimidating at all: if you stick to the rules, there’ll be no dry and overcooked (the horror!), or undercooked fish for dinner every again.
After first introductions to your fellow-cooks everyone head into the kitchen and get stuck into helping prepare the day’s menu around a huge red cement table. This is unfussy heart-food, with unique Bella flair.
For starters, you can expect helping her whip up anything from garlic and cauliflower fritters to one of her signature salads – think handfuls of fresh parsley, basil and mint, with sesame oil marinated tomatoes and fresh figs. It’s all about having fun and improvising, so if you happen to think a handful of toasted seeds might take it to the next level, Bella’s all for it.
During the main course prep, there’s always a couple of handy seafood tips incorporated, whether it’s learning how to debeard and properly clean freshly picked mussels for mussel bobotie in filo cups (keep calm and don’t fear the filo!), making a quick seafood stock from scratch for a spicy fish soup or learning how to smoke your own fish for what is surely one of the most epic fish pies you’ll ever have (it’s topped with bacon and leeks).
Dessert usually involves dressing up an old pud in a whole new finger-licking guise. Take a traditional moist apple cake, for example. You know what takes it to the next level? Rum caramel sauce. Before lunch is served, Bella will show you how she likes to set her long table, decorating it with unconventional foliage like indigenous spekboom or rosemary from her garden, and rounding it all off with beautifully printed linen napkins.
And then, lunch is served. Don’t be surprised if the tranquil surrounds and good company sees you saying yes to that second (maybe even third) glass of wine. As you head home with a small parting gift from Bella, you’ll realise the day was as much about learning how to cook, as it was about making friends and creating memories.