A steakhouse is not the first place that springs to mind when considering locations for a cooking masterclass. Something about the, arguably deceptive, simplicity of sticking a piece of meat onto the grill seems to scream “Insta Story” more than an entire afternoon of your life. So it was that when my colleague Winnie and I were invited to OlPul Steakhouse, the funky urban Two Rivers Maasai eatery, we really did not know what to expect.
Fast forward a few weeks and early one Monday afternoon, the two of us are seated at a table on the main floor of the restaurant, sipping on water, checking out the bright red interior decor that comes complete with large hanging Maasai bead lamps and street art-inspired Maasai murals. We are waiting for Chef Patrick Mavoungu to roll-in and curious about the surprise he has in store for us.
Upon arrival the Congolese-born French-raised, Chef Patrick immediately ushers us into the quiet off-hours restaurant kitchen. He tells us that we will be preparing a tropical mango and coconut Panna Cotta—an Italian cream-based dessert, and a Beef Wellington—the traditional Sunday Roast beef-in-pastry dish so beloved by the Brits. Despite the lack of obvious Maasai connotations (what was I expecting: blood and curdled milk?) this is fine by me: I love both dishes and have never had the patience to actually figure out how they are done.
After a brief conversation on the provenance of our fillet steak—a Morendat Borana/Angus breed that was aged for 14 days—we dive right into the preparations. The next hour and a half are more of a demonstration than a hands-on, get-your-apron-covered-in-flour class. I suspect Chef Patrick feels a bit impatient with Winnie’s eggs and sugar whisking technique and her attempts at deftly rolling the fillet into the puff pastry, as he keeps on stepping in to show us how it’s done. Yet we pick up a couple of tricks along the way and I get to mess around with my camera phone documenting the whole affair. All in all, we are enjoying ourselves and definitely looking forward to tasting the fruits of our, ahem Chef Patrick’s, labour.
With the Panna Cotta setting in the fridge and the Beef Wellington cooking in the oven for the next twenty minutes, I ask Chef Patrick about the logistics of the Master Class. He tells us that classes are available both in the restaurant kitchen for groups of up to five people or, preferably, in the comfort of one’s own home. The meals to be prepared can be planned together with him, or alternatively, customers can leave it to Chef Patrick to surprise them.
Later, as we cut through our pastry and watch the juices ooze out of the delightfully deep pink cut of fillet, Winnie and I congratulate ourselves on a job well done. If only cooking was always as easy as this!
The Master Classes take place every Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 12pm for Ksh. 4500 per person where students get to prepare a three course meal which is then followed by a wine pairing.To book your spot, call: 0715764260/1