I’ve come to love cooking fairly late in my life. Really, it’s only over the last 10 years or so that I’ve learnt to enjoy the creative outlet it gives me and the pleasure of sharing food I’ve cooked with others. And I’ve discovered that food and cooking definitely bring people together.
I’ve done my share of team building courses in the corporate world and believe me, most of them ended in something close to disaster with people being pushed to take part in activities that were inappropriate and unnecessary. In one case several people resigned from the company directly after a team building weekend (and that’s another story). Certainly not a successful way to motivate people! My favourite one involved, you can guess, cooking.
And there’s the perfect place to do it. Venturi’s Table offers fun cookery experiences for team building in business, as well as for personal parties, like birthdays or hen nights. You can tailor-make your time and menu to suit you and it all happens in their beautiful custom-made kitchens. And of course you end up with something delicious to eat once you’ve cooked it all together.
Anna Venturi is the inspiration behind the Table. Originally from Italy, Anna started cookery classes from her home kitchen in Buckinghamshire in 1993 sharing recipes passed down from her family. The classes soon outgrew the house and lead to a larger cookery school. Her experience taught her that cooking is one of the best ways to bring people together which has lead her to opening up Venturi’s Table.
Anna has also published a recipe book: Secrets from an Italian Kitchen. Here’s a fabulous sea bass recipe from her to try.
Sea Bass Surprise
Among Mediterranean fish, sea bass is one of the nicest and most elegant. Serve it on a very special occasion, accompanied by a simple side salad or vegetables and new potatoes.
2 sea bass of 3lb each, gutted, scaled and filleted
1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings
100g cherry tomatoes
3 tbsps capers in salt, thoroughly rinsed
12 black or green olives
3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
2 tsps dried oregano
2 tsps chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
Salt and pepper to taste
Foil or parchment paper to wrap the fish
In a large bowl mix thoroughly the chopped parsley, oregano, garlic cloves, salt pepper and a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil.
Check that the filleted fish is clear of all bones. If necessary pluck out those few bones left. Rinse the fillets under running water and dry with kitchen paper.
Coat the fish carefully with the marinate in the bowl.
Take an ovenproof dish big enough to lay all the fillets side by side. A baking tray is ideal.
Cut a large sheet of parchment paper or foil to be placed on the tray, with generous overlapping on each side of the tray to cover the fish. Lay a bed of onion rings on the paper. Lay the fish on the onion rings, skin down.
Now you can add all the other ingredients: the tomatoes cut in half, the olives, the capers-carefully rinsed, on and around the fish. Finally, drizzle a little more oil on top.
Close the parcel carefully and bake in a preheated oven at 180ºC for about 20 minutes.
Bring to the table and open the parcel in front of your guests.
And for a bit more inspiration, here are the dishes I enjoyed when I visited Venturi’s Table.
The perfect excuse to get cooking together! You can find out more at www.venturis-table.com