Vincenzo Garreffa is a very popular butcher in the West, the self proclaimed Prince of Flesh, and he runs Mondos in Inglewood. Now I had visited this fine establishment on many occasions because it a great butcher shop, but more recently I found out that they also hold cooking classes, an exciting revelation. I looked through the list of classes scheduled for the year and it was actually the very first one that got my attention – Pasta Meat Sauces and How To Make Italian Home-Made Tomato Sauce.
Learn how to make Italian tomato sauce plus how to use beef, veal, lamb, chicken and game in an Italian pasta sauces for stunning results… and then EAT and EAT and EAT with us. You get to take home a gift of homemade sauce as well. Also watch Italian ladies making homemade pasta. $110 per person.
Held on a Sunday from 10am til 1pm the group eagerly assembled in the covered back courtyard behind the butcher shop. It wasn’t a hands on class, but there was plenty going on to take in and everyone was encouraged to ask questions along the way.
My intention is to teach passionate foodies about meat. How to work with it, how to buy, how to prepare it, how to cut it, how to cook it, how to carve it and how to save it when you overcooked/undercooked it. Maybe you want to learn how to sharpen a knife, cut some meat, bone some meat, bone some chicken, prepare some side dishes, choose a wine, store meat and food, know when to eat it or throw it away. Hygiene hints, 10 minute wonder dishes, $2.00 meals?
When you come to classes: you will watch, occasionally help, but most of all learn and eat, eat, eat and have fun. Forget about the world and grow confident in the kitchen for yourself, your family, your friends and your business contacts.
We started in one of the larger refrigerators where Vince talked us through the different cuts of meat. Good to learn about the basics of butchery. This man has such respect for the meat and it was really interesting to hear some of his family stories as part of the class.
From here we went outside to the four large tables they had set up and sat with our new foodie friends. The focus switched to tomato sauce making, where some assembled Italians were busily sorting and washing tomatoes and getting them ready to be sauced.
There is a whole process and it is clearly a team effort, but with years of practise under their belts they have it down to a fine art and in amongst the hive of activity it is almost hypnotic watching it all unfold from a box of tomatoes to a bottle of sauce.
At a nearby table some pasta making aficionados expertly turned the simple ingredients into a ball of dough, before it was carefully rolled out with the pasta maker to ribbons of fresh fettuccine.
And we were a lucky bunch because our first bite was an epic dish of that fettuccine along with a very classic tomato sauce, a little onion, a little garlic and some fresh basil at the end. The sauce wasn’t cooked long so it retained a wonderfully fresh flavour. It was a taste of summer, sunshine on blushed tomatoes and it was heavenly. I was almost disappointed that we didn’t get bigger servings, but I need not have had that concern as there was plenty more to follow and I would need the space.
The next hour was about teaching the group about the versatility of that tomato sauce and how it paired so well with essentially every meat. The difference in flavour when it had been cooked for longer was the depth, the intensity, the richness of that sauce, all the more enhanced by the time spent slow cooking with a meat like pork. The pork ribs were a huge crowd pleaser, but that’s not to say that the chicken wings, beef short rib and beef mince were also not enjoyed. Everything was consumed with gusto and enthusiasm. My goodness it all tasted so good!
It was such an enjoyable class. Enjoying lively conversation with the fellow foodies around the table, with a glass of wine and a seemingly endless plate of pasta and meat sauce was just a lovely way to spend a few hours on a Sunday. Plus we went home with some tomato sauce to get cooking with! The line up of classes coming up for the rest of the year can be found in this link here. I have no doubt that whatever the meaty topic you can look forward to being well informed and well fed. Grazi Vince!