Saturday 1 June 2013

Burger Making Lesson at L'Atelier Des Chefs

For my boyfriend's birthday I booked us both into a burger-making lesson at the Atelier des Chefs near St Paul's in London. He loves burgers and I'd much rather he ate homemade ones than supermarket versions, and - I hope he won't mind me saying this - he doesn't know how to cook, so it would be helpful if there was something he could make if push came to shove! Also, I thought this would be a fun activity for us to do together.

I've been to the Atelier des Chefs before (their Oxford Circus branch) a few years ago on a corporate cookery evening, which I really enjoyed - the idea is that you learn to cook a meal then sit down and eat it afterwards. They offer all sorts of lessons of different lengths and at different prices, ranging from a £15 "cook, eat and run" where you can make a burger and eat it on your lunch break, to a French cooking masterclass for £144.

We got really lucky, as I had booked the class for what was probably the first sunny Friday of the year, so the other people who had reserved a place (you don't pay in advance) didn't turn up - they were probably having a drink in the pub like the rest of the Square Mile seemed to be doing! So whereas the week before, we were told there had been 15 people in the class, on this occasion there was... just us! I've no idea how much we would have had to pay for a private cookery class but the £36 each for the burger making lesson (which also included making potato wedges and onion rings with a glass of wine thrown in) was definitely excellent value!

Some of our ingredients
After washing our hands we met our chef, who explained what we would be doing and that we would receive the recipes afterwards by email (which never happened but I found them on the website). Then we got right down to it, being shown the right way to chop an onion, then crushing garlic and herbs and cutting up the potatoes into wedges. We seasoned the potatoes with a cajun spice mix and salt, and drizzled them with oil, and they went straight in the oven.

To make the burger we had to remove the fat from a huge steak, which was very hard - when it came to trying to remove a very thin film of fat running along the side of the meat with a very sharp knife, I managed to cut myself, and had to leave the rest of the work to my boyfriend and the chef while I bled into the sink!

As well as the steak we cut up chunks of pork fat which was going to be minced together.

I was quite pleased to see the mincer we were using was a KitchenAid attachment; I want one for my KitchenAid now! I didn't really see it in use as I was busy turning over the potato wedges, which were looking very tasty at this stage, but I caught a glimpse of my boyfriend merrily mincing steak for our burgers and took a couple of quick snaps.

We also made a barbecue sauce, which was amazingly simple. Fry onion and garlic then add all the other ingredients to the pan and simmer: bay leaf, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, cayenne pepper, cider vinegar, water, salt, dijon mustard and sunflower oil. You barely need to do anything and it tastes delicious.

The minced beef and pork fat was mixed in a bowl with herbs and large flakes of sea salt. We got our hands in and mixed it then shaped it into a giant ball.

Then we shaped it into five patties, to feed ourselves and the kitchen staff.

Next we moved onto the onion rings. We'd already sliced some onions into thick rings, then oil was heated in a deep fat fryer. We mixed a beer batter, dipped the onion rings, and carefully slid them into the fryer; they took less than a minute to cook then were lifted out and allowed to drain.

Here are the cooked onion rings

The burgers only took a few minutes to fry on each side. My mouth was really starting to water now!

Finally the potato wedges came out of the oven and we were ready to serve. The buns had been lightly toasted in the oven in the last few minutes while the potato wedges were cooking, which is something I haven't done at home before but it was really nice. We filled our buns with a burger, rocket, onion and tomato for those who wanted it.

And here it is, in all it's glory - a completely homemade burger, spicy potato wedges, beer-battered onion rings and barbecue sauce. I think my boyfriend, who has never even chopped an onion before, could barely believe he had made all this!

Here I am enjoying the fruits of my labours.... the food was delicious, probably one of the best burgers I've ever eaten, and I made it myself! The potato wedges were much better than the ones I make at home, so I will have to bookmark the recipe, and the barbecue sauce was tangy and worked perfectly with the rest of the meal. The onion rings were also probably the best I've ever had. The class was really good fun - the chef was highly skilled but also a good people-person and we had a great time learning from him and asking questions and chatting as we went. I highly recommend the Atelier des Chefs and I'd really like to try out some more of their classes!


  1. Sounds like you had a great time, and what luck to be the only people on the course - I bet you managed to learn loads from the chef. I keep meaning to go on some courses but then never get round to it.

  2. I love your burger. They look so yummy! I'll try to make it for my family some time. Thanks for the recipe, Caroline!

  3. This looks like so much fun! I'm definitely going to try it now I've seen your post


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