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Monday, 4 August 2014

Cook It Yourself!

As a lover of all things food related, I'm the annoying one who enjoys shopping for it, cooking it, eating it, and being adventurous with it. Living in London and eating out so much though, my kitchen cupboards stock more bangles, earrings, scarves and handbags than tinned tomatoes, truffle oil or lentils. Give me an excuse to cook though, and I will jump at the chance with childlike glee! Enter The Brigade...

In conjunction with Beyond Food Foundation and De Vere Venues, this bar, bistro and cooking school is a little more than it seems on the surface. Not only does it employ and train young people at risk and those who have experienced homelessness, it actively reinvests its profit into other social enterprises and charities, all aiming to increase meaningful employment in the local community. Now, this is by no means the only one of it's kind in London, but that fact does not detract from the superb initiative of chef founder Simon Boyle. A haven of food, drink and learning all under one roof will generally be immensely pleasing to me...

Social idealism aside, what fun it is to gather with your chums, your team, or indeed a bunch of strangers to run amuck in someone else's kitchen, with a glass of the bubbly stuff in hand! We split into pairs, taking a station each - I quickly gravitated to the main course of fillet steak, but mainly because I've been desperate to find out if making hollandaise is as hard as everyone lets me think it is. It's not by the way! Between us, we made a 3-course fine dining meal, complete with fresh bread, which we all devoured in a lovely private dining room that was positively overflowing with irrational pride over our collective culinary genius (rest assured, Masterchef will not be bashing our doors down anytime soon). Kudos to the enthused and knowledgeable chefs who pulled us all through it with grace and laughs.

Located on Tooley Street, close to London Bridge, the bar & bistro is a nice apres work spot (erring more on the pitstop scale of drinking establishments if you're not eating), and the cook school is a tremendous amount of fun, with a hugely inspiring story to tell. I would go back again and recommend it to others both in support of their great vision and of course, to have a tonne of fun with great ingredients...get involved!

Square Meal Brigade Bar & Bistro on Urbanspoon

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