Last week a sneakily crafty friend blagged us a couple of places on a new evening Mexican cooking class. I was dubious at first as I knew it would be: me with my butter fingers, famously bad cooking past, pathological fear of tequila and my friend who had the handy benefit of having LIVED IN MEXICO. My chances didn't look good. But not being the competitive type (who me?!) I was willing to give my pride a night off and try some of this Mexican cooking malarkey.
The class was hosted by two of the owners of delightful Benito's Hat, a small but growing chain of Mexican restaurants. Ben and Filippe were charming hosts and left even the girl who wooed her long-suffering boyfriend with night after night of humous and pitta (I thought he liked it as much as I did ok?) feeling proud of at least some of her cookery skills.
I was, predictably, a little late to the start of the night. But was delighted to be greeted by hosts who already knew my name and promptly handed me a watermelon cocktail which was delicious, apparently packed full of evil tequila - but which didn't leave me chucking up my guts in Jessica Chamberlain's garden like it did last time I drank it - so a success already.
The Benito's Hat gang then deftly took us through the steps of some key Mexican recipes, showed us the ropes using fab fresh veg, herbs we would have never guessed they would use and shared more secrets of how they get their central London food to taste so fabulously like it does in Mexico.
They then very bravely let our motley crew have a go ourselves. There was mixing, muddling, crushing, flour going everywhere, chili handling and lots of tasting (which in some instances led to a little coughing - I'm not naming any names...)
There was also loadsa great Benito's Hat food with put on too throughout the night, which was happily devoured by all.
I won't brag about the outcome on the night. But some people left with a bottle of tequila and smug smiles...and some did not. Here's one person who may have gone home with hard liquor in her handbag:
These will only be monthly classes so I implore anyone at anyone (even the humous and pitta crew!) to beg, steal or borrow a place. They cost an awfully cheap £15 so they are definitely worth getting while they are chili hot (sorry couldn't resist).