Scotland’s restaurateurs and producers are a generous bunch and it’s not unusual to see dinner for two or a hamper as a prize in a charity raffle or auction. One of our friends was the lucky winner of a class at the Nick Nairn Cook School in the raffle at the recent Wellbeing of Woman lunch in Edinburgh. I was delighted to be the lucky friend who joined her for the “Just Shellfish” class at Nick’s Port of Menteith cook school. Apart from the menu looking fabulous (chargrilled hand dived king scallops with mini potato fondants, crisp pancetta and lentil dressing and classic lobster thermidor), we didn’t really know what to expect.
There was a mix of first-timers and old hands, pairs and singles, foodies and the curious. Tristan, our tutor, did make things look simple as he showed us how to bone sea bass, portion a side of salmon and shuck those scallops. The lobster was obviously going to be more challenging, but when our turn came to despatch the lobster ourselves Tristan had made sure we knew exactly what to do. The thrill of chargrilling the scallops and creating a “cheffy” plate of salad, pictured, and then cooking the thermidor sauce and reconstructing the lobster for a show-stopping finale was beyond expectations. The day flew past as it does when you are having fun and as we sampled the fruits of our labours, we couldn’t think of a better way to indulge in foody pleasures.