Eat Yourself Happy! Neil Rankin Visit
8th February, 2018
The cook-along event with Neil Rankin started off with questions about how he became a chef. Afterwards, Neil explained the importance of getting the best out of each opportunity we are given, even if it is a job at Burger King. Then the cook-along began and Neil started to cook the delicious Seafood Curry.
He showed us how to cut food properly, without being at risk of losing our fingers! I enjoyed observing the precision Neil had when he was cutting vegetables and the creative ideas he had when he cooked the claws, for example, or used the curry bowl as a lid. The final curry was delicious and I will certainly try to make it myself when I am at home. I think the event was one of the best, if not the best event of its type which has taken place in the School. It was a one-time opportunity to watch a good chef cook food and explain it in a way in which I know I can follow.
We arrived at the kitchen unsure of what to expect; I, for one, had never met a chef in person, not a famous one by any stretch, and so was weary of how to act around one. Against my reservations though, we were greeted by a smiling man of an affable nature, with an apron on and ingredients at the ready. We soon set off, hoping to create a delicious fish curry by the end of our two hours with him. He chatted with us about his time at Merchiston, some 20 years ago, and how his life had developed after he left, from a sound engineer to full-time chef with several restaurants opened since. While naturally chopping and dicing vegetables with an ease only years of experience can grant, he gave us some insight into his favourite cuisine, especially foods found around Asian & Indian areas of the world. As the pots began to steam and the final touches were being made, students and staff from nearby classrooms alike were attracted by the flavoursome aroma, proceeding to crowd around the finished dish with eager faces. The curry, containing pollock fish and rich crab meat, was loaded onto cabbage leaves, alongside the crunchy salad made with puffed rice and herbs. To polish this off, Neil taught us how to prepare the perfect steak, cooking a filet mignon alongside a sirloin steak to a tender medium-rare; as an ode to Neil’s expertise, the plate was spotless within seconds, and many satisfied faces left the kitchen with fresh experience and a recipe for the best fish curry all of us had, without a doubt, ever tasted.