Based in the heart of Cardiff on Mill Lane, Giovanni’s Cookery School offers a vast range of classes to suit all ages and abilities.
I was invited to join a class and rustle up a pasta dish and pizza in the trusty hands of Chef Max.
Many of you familiar with Cardiff will know of Giovanni’s, it’s the longest established Italian restaurant in the city with a reputation so strong it even draws in celebrities.
In 2013 The Cookery School was born so customers could recreate some of their favourite dishes at home and also be inspired by the strong values and passion between Italians and food.
I was eager to give the class a try after thoroughly enjoying a pasta masterclass at Jamie’s Italian with Gennaro Contaldo (see here) and pizza lesson at The Stable.
The smart kitchen and dining room at Giovanni’s are both available to hire for private functions or parties and there’s a variety of classes on offer; from seafood and steak to dessert and coffee.
We began the class by preparing pizza dough with 200g of flour mix, yeast in water and a little olive oil.
While this rested we made a pasta dish by firstly chopping up half an onion and clove of garlic. Chef Max showed us how the pros chop an onion into those even cube/rectangle shapes – fingers intact.
We were also given useful tips such as cooking the onion in oil before adding the garlic because of their different cooking times.
Once ready, the garlic and onions were added to the heated tomato sauce with fresh basil. In a separate pan, salami and mushrooms were cooked in oil before adding them to the sauce on a low heat.
Pasta portions are generous at Giovanni’s restaurant, around 110-120g are used on a plate! We each poured 100g into salted boiling water that was deep enough to allow the pasta to move around and avoid sticking.
Dried chilli flakes are added to the sauce mix at the end, along with a sprinkle of parsley and salt and pepper to taste. We then plated it up, sprinkled on some parmesan and garnished with a parsley leaf.
I thoroughly enjoyed my pasta, you could tell it was made with fresh ingredients and the salami gave it a nice bite. I’d stress to go easy on the chilli flakes, there was a few sweaty brows across the table!
After relishing each mouthful of our pasta with some wine, we headed back into the kitchen to make our pizza. We floured the surfaced, rolled out the dough and smoothed it out with our fingers. We also had lots of fun trying to flip the dough in the air – fortunately no disasters to report as it safely returned back to earth.
Once we had a nice flat and round base we swirled on tomato sauce, showered it in cheese and added toppings of our choice.
I went for traditional pizza toppings with pineapple, ham, mushrooms and peppers. This was then put in a pizza oven at around 400 degrees for a few minutes until it came out all crispy and gooey.
The pizza was another knockout but I was rather full from the pasta! Fortunately Giovanni’s provided us with boxes to takeaway any leftovers.
I really love Italy’s attitude towards food – it always comes back to friends, family and using fresh, wholesome ingredients. This rings true at Giovanni’s where the owner (once a chef on a cruise ship) moved to Cardiff from the south of Italy as a child and developed his natural talents. The class gave me a chance to pick up recipes and easy techniques to boost my cooking skills and have a lot of fun in the process!
Classes start from £35pp, visit their website for more information.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Giovanni’s Cookery School in Cardiff and my experience was complimentary. I was not obliged to write a review but wanted share it with you! All opinions are my own.