4 reasons to try Jenius Social’s eating experiences
Jenius Social is a new venture started by Jennifer Wong and truly embraces the idea of social eating, offering not just cooking classes, but also supperclubs, masterclasses, tastings and more. Jennifer was kind enough to invite me along to their Mediterranean Street Food class this week, and I arrived a little late (tube disruptions… what else) but was welcomed with a glass of wine and a smile. There was a bit of socialising around the table before we went into the kitchen and were schooled by Malcolm, a fantastic Greek-Portuguese chef. The entire evening was a pleasure, and here are 4 reasons why you should definitely pay them a visit.
I learned different approaches to familiar ingredients
I absolutely love aubergine, but I had never prepared it in this way. Scoring the flesh before pouring olive oil and garlic on top meant that it cooked more evenly and soaked up all the flavours, coming out of the oven creamier than I could ever imagine. I had also never thought of draining it afterwards to decrease the water content and heighten the flavours. In addition, the hummus we made was prepared without tahini (an ingredient I had previously considered indispensable), and it was some of the best I have ever tasted.
I grappled with new and unfamiliar ingredients
I’ve never made sausages, but these lamb ones with bacon, olives and other tasty ingredients were so fun to make. We spent some time playing around with the unfamiliar ingredient, pig’s casing, before using it to wrap the sausages tightly. It was slightly stretchy and made some of us recoil, but when we tasted its infused fat in the sausages later, we were glad we had taken the plunge!
We were also made to clean squid, something I had done previously with School of Wok, but it was new to most of the others and we all bonded over pulling out the backbones and squeezing out the flesh…
I met new, interesting people
In comparison to the other cooking classes I’ve done, I immediately noticed that the atmosphere at Jenius Social was, well, social. Everybody interacted and talked to each other, and we worked together as a team to put together the delicious meal. Once we sat down to eat what we had cooked, the conversation developed and ended with Jennifer offering all of us some of her Japanese whisky! It really felt more like friends gathering for a dinner party, rather than strangers learning how to cook, and that alone is a reason to attend one of their many events.
I ate amazing food
Of course, how could I forget the food? As it was street food, we made a huge variety of dishes, but my favourite was the aforementioned lamb sausages, followed closely by the squid stuffed with chorizo (two of my favourite things – why had I never combined them before?) and the unbelievably simple hummus. Other dishes included roasted stuffed peppers and tortilla de patata, all of which were absolutely scrumptious. The cuisine was Mediterranean, and the dishes were a mix of Greek, Portuguese and Spanish specialties. I was able to take home some leftovers and ate them for lunch the next day – it’s safe to say everyone at work was jealous…
One complaint I have about the class was that it overran by a large margin – we were supposed to finish at 8.30pm but I didn’t end up leaving until 10pm. It was fine for me as I was really enjoying myself, but not ideal in terms of planning. The same thing had happened to me at L’Atelier des Chefs and it’s something Jenius Social should be aware of, in case people have plans afterwards. Another thing is that I didn’t feel as though I did as much cooking as I expected – we took care of almost all the preparation, but the chef made the tortillas and baked everything without us really noticing. I appreciate the difficulty of doing this with a large group of people though, and it does make me more eager to try everything out at home. Luckily, Jenius Social emailed me all the recipes, so I look forward to impressing my friends with some Mediterranean street food very soon!