I was recently invited to take part in a Masterclass cooking event at Treat.  Treat –  is a foodie event taking place  the 11th to 22nd September 2012 providing opportunities for aspiring chefs, enthusiasts and families to take part in a wide variety of demonstrations on various aspects of food from leading industry experts and best of all it’s FREE to attend and participate !!

I was lucky enough to be invited to take place in a Masterclass with Executive Chef Ron Pietruszka from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel which took place in the Chef’s Theatre on the second day of the Treat event.  The cuisine for the day was Arabic & French which sounded interesting.

After having a quick dash through Dubai traffic, so not like me,  I arrived slightly late and was whisked straight to my cooking station to join five other foodies who were also taking the Masterclass.  Quickly donning my Treat apron and obligatory chefs hat I was pleased to find out that we were cooking a dish of Zaatar marinated lamb with crushed lemon potatoes.  Lamb is one of my favourite foods and as I’ve never cooked with zaatar this sounded interesting.

Thankfully all of the prep had been done for us and our workstation contained everything that we needed for the cooking class to take place.  I was also lucky enough to be ably assisted by a junior chef who was great at making sure the stove ceramic hob was switched on and off when I needed it and he was also great at delving in the cupboards to find me my cooking implements just as I needed them – he also acted as my unofficial photographer whilst I managed to take pictures and tweet occasionally too 🙂 – it had to be done !

During the Masterclass Chef Ron demonstrated what we were supposed to be doing and we were able to follow the majority of his instructions effortlessly as we could also see him working on the large TV screen.  All the time we were being watched by the audience who were keen to see how our meal was going to turn out compared to the professionals.

We started off our dish by pan frying the rack of lamb which had been pre-marinaded, this was then coated in a thin layer of tahini before being encrusted with breadcrumbs and zaatar.  The lamb was then popped in the oven whilst we worked on our lemon potatoes and a sauce.

The potatoes had been pre-cooked for us – so we just had to chop these and then pan fry them in a little olive oil before crushing them and adding the garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice which we had cooked in a separate pan.  When crispy, we seasoning our potatoes with zaatar, salt & pepper where needed and to our taste, we also added some butter towards the end to add the final taste and crunch to the dish.

We then made a sauce using a pre prepared jus which we heated up and added some fresh pomegranate to.

The final part of our cooking involved plating up our meal – first the potatoes, then the lamb and finally the jus.  Decoration was simple, just a few pomegranate seeds on the plate.  The final decoration part of the dish was the addition of a pomegranate foam which Chef Mohammed added to our dish – personally I preferred my dish without the foam as I am not a foam fan.

All of this was achieved in about 30 minutes or so, leaving us plenty of time at the end to taste our meal and swop cooking stories with the other cooks of the day.   The lamb was amazing, juicy, succulent and cooked perfectly pink whilst the potatoes were crunchy and had a nice level of zaatar  –  next time I will add some chili too as I like my food spicy.

Thanks to Chef Ron and Chef Muhammed I now have a dish to impress my guests using good food and great flavours and (hush now don’t tell anyone !) it was relatively easy to make but would impress – surely that’s the beauty of good food cooked well 🙂

Thanks to the team at Treat for giving me the opportunity to learn how to cook a great new recipe under the watchful eyes of Chef Ron and Chef Muhammed.

Full details about the event can be found HERE

But in the meantime here’s a quick summary of the types of activities that are going on :

Cooking Masterclasses take place daily from 4pm – 5pm.  This is then followed by three cooking demonstrations each an hour long at 5.30pm, 6.45pm and 8.15pm.

On the 17th September there is a special series of masterclasses on Hot & Cold Canapes by the International Culinary Arts Dubai with six half hourly masterclasses starting from 4pm until 8.30pm.

There is a kids corner from 5-9pm on Thursdays – Saturday where kids can learn creative cupcake decorations which they can decorate their own cupcake

Table Setting & Culinary Etiquette Workshops take place daily

Daily prizes & product Sampling and purchasing

Burjuman Junior Chef 2012 Competition – takes place from 18th – 22nd with 300 participants from 40 hotels battling it out in a series of creative challenges.

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