A doe-eyed, plume-tailed dog greets us boisterously at the gate to Mama T’s Kitchen, the perfect welcoming committee. It’s the first of many signs of the charming, intimate atmosphere that awaits us at Chef Tori Macdonald’s newest venture. Through Mama T’s Kitchen, she’ll now teach one-stop cooking classes at which small groups of (wannabe) cooks can learn everything from the best way to dice an onion to the makings of a luxurious three-course meal for bae.
The puppy ushers us into a delightfully retro kitchen, its gleaming equipment perched on a dark countertop that has been meticulously scrubbed clean. It’s large enough to remind us of our family kitchen, where the most enterprising grandchild (always this writer) was rewarded with the freshest bajjis for keeping Ammamma company. Perhaps that’s why it also feels just cozy enough to make a group of, say, five or six novice cooks get familiar with each other as they learn everything Tori has to teach them.
Cinnamon rolls and fresh coffee greet us after we pet Ivy and wander up a winding staircase. It’s just wholesome enough to make us feel rather shamefaced about our entirely uncalled for Swiggy order from the previous night. Guilt comes, unbidden, too: surely after running the kitchen for a venue as popular as The Humming Tree, Tori would do anything but cook on her day off?
“Cooking is a life skill,” Tori exclaims, as we confess our sins. “What I want to do with these classes is to teach people some basic methods that they can then use everyday.”
With themes like “Chicken 101” and “Potato 101,” it’s clear that Tori’s aim isn’t to chase trends (you can put away the gold leaf). The goal is to make our favourite meals more approachable, so that even ghar ka khaana may upgrade to #foodporn.
This does not mean that your nights of binge watching Ugly Delicious were all for naught. Whether Amma has to walk you through boiling an egg or you treated yourself to a top-of-the-line melon baller for your birthday, Mama T’s Kitchen has something for everyone. Tori will teach her students to understand the concepts behind the food. Her attention to method and timing means that you emerge from this evening ready to start applying what you just learned to impress your next date. #NasiGorengAndChill
Fantasies of future glory aside, these classes have immediate rewards. After a quick lesson on plating, sit down with your new found friends - nothing makes you bond like successfully avoiding kitchen catastrophes - and enjoy your meal. Roshnee Kumar, an alumnus of Mama T’s initial classes, agrees. “It’s a nice way to meet new people and socialise. You spend the evening cooking together - someone is chopping while someone else washes the dishes and another cooks - so you become very familiar with each other.”
Indeed, Monday drudgery is better borne when one is promised the pleasures of a gourmet meal and the company of a kindred spirit or two.
“Anyone can learn to cook and cook well,” Tori insists. “Because it’s emotional - it’s an expression of you. There are two things in life that instantly connect people - food and music. It’s why I have a playlist for each of my classes. I want to create a mood.” We’re not sure if we want to meet our very own #SaltBae or be him, but we’re all in.
Getting there: Classes are held on two Mondays every month, with the theme and menu shared in advance. Message Tori on Instagram (@mama.ts.kitchen) to sign up for the class on April 16th (Eggs 101) or to be added to the mailing list for future classes.
Photo credit: Craftsy
This story was contributed by Sushmita Sundaram, who enjoys writing about funny people and odd things. Follow her on Twitter at @sushmitas.
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