The real housewives of HK attend the Peninsula Hotel‘s cooking classes every few months. The hotel is over on the Kowloon side and it’s arguably the most iconic establishment in Hong Kong… The class begins with an elaborate breakfast spread in the bowels of the industrial kitchen mega-complex that keeps this five-star hotel humming. The ladies let me know that the traditional Chinese coconut roll (below, left) is shaped that way to look like a chicken’s tail.
I heard about the class from my native Hong Konger friend Elaine (above, right) and also the Mr.’s work colleauge Shanley who flies in from Shanghai every time the four-day classes are offered. They’ve both been attending regularly for years like most of the participants.
From my random surveying of the housewives, I think Shanley is the only person who takes the classes that actually cooks! He was also quick to point out that if we were to simply steal the handbags alone in the room that we could both retire like kings. I can’t even begin to tell you how much these ladies adore Shanley… and he certainly hams up being the only male in the class!
The theme of this session was French cooking made easy. David Goodridge, the Executive Chef of Gaddi’s (the nicest French restaurant in the Peninsula), taught the class and I’ve uploaded all of the recipes in case you’re interested here. One recipe I think I will try at home is Shellfish Vierge Pasta Sauce with razor clams (below at left). I had never seen razor clams before, but apparently they are native to Washington State, New Zealand and China. It’s basically a long chewy clam, but it falls out of the shell very easily and presented well on a plate with noodles as it fits right in!
I am all about easy, one-dish meals so I am also excited to try the Oven-Baked Ragout with Sea Bream–which is basically a fancy way of saying you saute some onions, peppers, and tomatoes… add fish and zucchini and bake for 12 minutes before serving. A perfect, healthy weeknight dinner.
I am also all about the chocolate mousse, although I must admit that these little glass cups really make the dish. Not only are they the perfect amount of mousse, but they look so cute. By the way, you can make this up to three days ahead of time.
So after a morning full of tasting and sampling, we then naturally sat down to a four-course lunch–of fare far more complicated than that which we were just taught to make–complete with wine pairings.
The food was beyond exquisite, not that any of us had much room left for it!
I am looking forward to the pastry and Shanghaiese classes offered later this spring… but I will likely just sign up for one day out of four as I was stuffed and in serious need of a nap by the end of the day! I don’t know how these ladies manage such a tough existence.