Getting social while someone else does the cooking
On Monday night, some of the Wellingtonista went along to the launch of Social Cooking, a new cooking school based in Herd Street, so this fly tagged along too, buzzing overhead.
The launch was held inside the City Market space, not actually in the classroom itself, where stands were set up by various purveyors to tempt us with their wares – Mac’s, Montana, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and though they were less sign-pointed, Osteria Del Toro and Monsoon Poon, all of whom are associates of the school, with their chefs being teachers.
Given that the event was free to anyone who registered, and there was no doorlist, it was rather crowded and there was a long wait for margaritas. In fact, the event shut down early because of a lack of glasswear. Disaster! Not early enough to skip a speech from Kerry Prenderghastly. Apparently she’s still around and was asked to do an encore of her “I’m so fucking great” speech from the Fishhead launch. Double disaster! In this case, she threw in talk about a different cooking school which she is taking full responsibility for bringing to Welly. Kind of inappropriate, and we had to listen to it without a drink in our hands. Also, we appreciate that sponsors are important for any event or venue, but woah, what a reacharound they got in all the speeches. It would have been nice to have a little more attention paid to the kind of people who might come along and come to the classes (especially since a lot of the classes are now sold out), and we probably didn’t need the lesson on how Facebook (apparently) works. Did you know you can ‘like’ things?
That aside, we buzzed over delicious ceviche, and salted caramel macarons from Hippopotamus. Wellingtonistas think the school – which emphasizes drinking with cooking – sounds like a good idea. As long as the class attendees aren’t too much like the crowd at the opening, who with all the sense of entitlement of a pack of rich baby boomers were absolutely dreadful at giving way to let people through.
Unfortunately for the wonderful chef and support staff at Social Cooking Wellington, the experience isn’t really one to be repeated. The CEO was very difficult to deal with. He ran a competition which resulted in the winning of a night at social cooking for 10 people. We were over the moon to win. Unfortunately Graham made this experience unpleasant for us.
While trying to book a date he mucked us around, told us a date was available then not. He tried to get us to change the menu we had chosen to cook. When people became unwell on the night and unable to make it he STILL CHARGED for them, even though he was informed earlier in the day that they weren’t coming – before he bought ingredients. His email said “off to buy ingredients now” .Also used boxed herbs, and crushed garlic…a real cooking class would have surely used fresh ingredients.
Worst of it all was the continuous pressure he put on for us to bring people over the 10 who had won the prize. If he felt that the night could not be successful with only 10 (we should bring another 10), then this should have been a part of the competition brief. This pressure continued until the very last day. If he felt strongly about this, then he should have offered the prize to more people to ensure that he was “full”. This is hard to understand however as there was only table seating for 14 people. So where he was planning on the remaining 6 people eating their dinner, I’m not sure.
Over all, if you want a fun night out – absolutely – the front of house staff were fantastic. If you want something easy to organise. Don’t go near them.
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