It’s week 6 of our Alford HouseFriday night frying, baking and stewing sessions, funded by Well London. My young group of regulars arrive excited, full of banter and talk of detentions until one of them calls “what are we cooking today miss?” I’ve given up on trying to play-down the healthier elements of the meal. There’s no need. Over the weeks these young chefs have warmed to the idea of vegetables in their food as long as they get to chop and cook them. Let’s be real, carrots are never going to have more appeal than cake, but they are welcome in the pan.
This week we’re cooking (chilli) chocolate pots and chilli con carne – probably in that order of priority. The chocolate pots are in fridge, and with the knife skills learned for last week’s stir fry still fresh in everyone’s minds, the team of 11 -17 year olds set about blitzing a plate of peppers and onions.
Now this session happens in the middle of a youth club on a Friday night, and the greatest challenge we face is to cut through the end of the week hype and sit together around a table and focus on the meal, rather than the cries of their FIFA playing friends. As the weeks have gone on this has become less of a problem as the word on, and smell of, our sessions has circulated and trust and interest has grown. More of the FIFA fans join us to eat –they are quickly recruited as pot washers – and within minutes the cauldron of chilli is gone. Next week we’re undertaking a full-on America diner style burger blowout with sweet potato chips and milkshake too boot. Who’s game?