Knife Course at Saf restaurant Kensington

24 March 2011

I don’t like writing bad reviews and like to try to find something positive to say so let’s get that out of the way first…..  David Bailey, the chef that ran today’s course is a really nice guy.  Clearly he is a skilled chef.  Oooh something else…. In the class there was a lady had been on another SAF culinary course so they must do some good ones……

Got the positive out of the way now let’s move on to the course feedback.

As you know I am a keen vegan cook.  I love it!  I can pass hours in the kitchen whipping up a dish, creating something new or clearing up from yet another experimental disaster.

Unfortunately there is no such thing in the UK as a vegan chef cooking course so you have to pick up bits and pieces from courses as you go along.  So far I have been to a fine dining course with Cordon Vert and attended a couple of courses with Blackheath Cooks. When I saw the Saf knife course on their newsletter I could barely contain myself and booked myself and Mits into it.

Here is where I should have spotted there was no agenda and only the length of the course 10-12.30pm and the cost £50.

I arrived at 10am at Saf Kensington and joined the rest of the class.  We were sitting in the main restaurant, around the high table. Only one of us had a board and knives….. that was David Bailey, the really nice chef.  If you were going to a knife technique course and paying that sort of money wouldn’t you expect to have your own board & knives and follow the demo with your own practice? Yeah, me too.

Initially I thought we were there without boards for a brief intro but this turned out not to be the case and the cooking demo started. We were invited to the main board to practice on a mushroom, onion and pineapple.  I had a go at every opportunity simply because I WANTED TO LEARN SOME KNIFE TECHNIQUE.

Then David prepared 3 dips which we ate with SAF raw crackers.  Nice.  But not why I attended the course.  Although I did try to eat the course cost on raw crackers which is not hard at £3.99 per box.

After eating we were invited to practice on mushrooms again and he got a 2nd board so two of us could try at one time.  Whoop.  The course was finished in 2 hours (!!).  We were invited to stay and ask questions but I imagine not to keep cutting.

I thought that this was the first time that this course was run and it wasn’t properly thought through and planned.  After speaking to David it seems that no two courses are the same and it depends on the individuals involved.  For me this course needs some big changes to work.  Everyone should have boards & knives is the main thing (else how is this different from watching someone cut for free on the net?!) .  The reality is that nothing cut by students is going to be suitable for the SAF restaurant but I am sure the course cost more that covers the price of a few veggies and why not let us make the dips and take stuff home?

I have emailed and given my feedback and requested a refund (he responded VERY nicely and gave us a 50% goodwill refund – YAY!).  Now I can do something else with some of the money.

So go, you might enjoy it.  No, not really.  Don’t go unless you have a planned agenda and your own board and knife to practice on! Alternatively I reckon you can find something on the net.  Although maybe they wont be as nice as David……


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