A 30-minute crash course in Szechuan cooking with L’Atelier des Chefs

Over the past few years, I’ve taken a number of cooking classes in London. I’ve learned how to clean squid, make sausages, and how to do a delicate macaronage, and I’ve loved every minute. However, what these classes have all had in common is that they require some dedication – you have to give up your whole afternoon and/or evening, and they’re usually pretty pricy too.

L’Atelier des Chefs have turned this on its head with their 30-minute classes – you spend 30 minutes cooking, 30 minutes eating (or you can even take your dish to go), and leave only £15 lighter. It seems too good to be true, so I had to find out… is it?

I took an hour-long French cooking class at their Oxford Circus branch a couple of years ago, so this was my first visit to the St Paul’s location. Located right next to the cathedral, the walk there was a pleasure in itself, especially as London has finally decided to catch up with the time of year and give us some sunshine!


On the menu was a simple Szechuan chicken with jasmine rice. I love East Asian food, and am always keen to learn more about its flavours, so I can spice (!) up my own concoctions. Our chef took us through the recipe and explained the various ingredients (including the numbing quality of Szechuan peppercorns) and we very quickly started peeling, slicing, dicing, and grinding.


Szechuan peppercorns… my mouth definitely went numb whilst eating!

5 minutes later, we switched to the stovetop and prepared our stir-fry and jasmine rice as a team.


I couldn’t believe how quickly everything was done – in under 30 minutes, we had served up the plates (I do love the square bowls that L’Atelier has) and were enjoying our meal!

I need to learn more about food styling

I clearly need to learn more about food styling

The St Paul’s branch of L’Atelier des Chefs has a lovely vibe, a great location, and lots of natural light due to the large windows at the front. I definitely preferred it to the Oxford Circus location, but the quality of the lesson was just as high.


You can choose a wine with your meal, and it’s a wonderful and different way to spend an evening, or even a lunchtime, as they offer a huge variety of 30-minute lunchtime meals. If I worked in their vicinity, I’d be doing those courses at least once a month – what a great alternative to the Pret sandwich!

I was a guest at L’Atelier des Chefs, but as always, all views are entirely my own. Special thanks to Rosie and Roberta for joining the class and making it even more enjoyable!