There are things in life that don’t happen very often- rain in Joburg in July, snow in Cape Town in December and me going to a cooking class. It is well known within my group of friends, that when it comes to meals, the only thing I can make is a mean reservation at a restaurant. I guess I was just born without the cooking gene and instead it got replaced with double the amount of the “shopping” genes that are allowed in one person. Nevertheless, I am always up for a challenge, so when Discovery Vitality invited me to their brand new HealthyFood Studio for a cooking class, I said yes. After all, it couldn’t be that bad right?



The HealthyFood Studio is a new concept from Discovery(in partnership with Woolworths) that is aimed at teaching people to cook healthy food by themselves at home. It’s a series of cooking classes that range from seasonal delights to guilt free desserts(yum!). The studio is located within the Discovery South Africa offices in Sandton, and it’s a rather Master-Chef looking place that had me shaking in my ALDO boots. Such a pristine looking kitchen and I surely couldn’t go together, but it worked! I joined the very fun “All About Veggies” class which showed me how to cook 6 different meals with a vegetable being the star ingredient!



The deal is quite simple- you arrive for you class at 6 o’clock in the evening(there are morning classes too though) and enjoy a glass of wine while taking a look at the evenings menu. Once the class starts, the very talented chefs from Prue Leith Chef Academy spend an hour showing you how to make all 6(sometimes more) meals, and of course they do it so effortlessly. In our class we were also taught the different vegetable chopping techniques, and later put our new knowledge to the test by chopping up onions, carrots and baby marrows. After the introductory hour, its just you and your station and a recipe!



We got to make the Italian-Style Quinoa Soup and the Parmesan Herb Salad with Poached Eggs. While normally all recipes terrify me, having the chefs on stand-by to help me when something was confusing(even after watching them do it an hour before) was the greatest help. On the evening I learned how to poach eggs(which was huge for me okay guys), what goes into a stock for the soup, and how to make an easy and healthy snack, such as the rolled baby marrow with sundried tomatoes and feta. For someone that usually buys all of the Woolies food ready-made it was an incredibly productive evening of actually converting a whole bunch of ingredients into a meal! This might not seem like a lot for some people, but hey, a small step for every one else, a giant leap for Irina!



After everyone is done preparing their recipes, all food gets served buffet-style for everyone to enjoy around a table. On the evening we also got to eat some delicious Mushroom and Thyme Ragout, Roasted Pumpkin Salad With Chili and Yoghurt, and Tandoori Spiced Cauliflower. It helps that you can drink wine throughout the whole thing, so even if you are failing at the recipe, there is always wine to cheer you up ;).




It was such a fun experience that I got to do with my friend, and I have my eye on the guilt free dessert class next. If you are an amateur cook like me and would like to learn how to cook healthy and quick meals, you need to sign yourself up for one of these classes! Hell, even if you are a seasoned cook, I guarantee you that you will still find these classes very enjoyable and knowledgeable. Its fun to do with friends, a partner or even your colleagues after work or on a Saturday morning.

Chef Alessia is cooking…
While I’m busy enjoying the wine

Now you can win yourself a cooking class of your choice today on the blog, by simply going over to Discovery Vitality Facebook Page here, and writing on their wall which of the classes you wold like to take! You can check out the full list of classes here and its an experience like no other! Please note you have to be Joburg based(or be in Joburg for the class) in order to enter. Good Luck!


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