Chef Mel Alafici runs the vibrant Vanilla Zulu Cooking School in Teneriffe.
I was lucky enough to do a cooking class there in September last year and loved everything about it: you can read about it here.
In late February, a girlfriend and I went along to the launch of Mel’s new cookbook: Culinary Quickies. The book itself is great, but first let me rave about the launch night. Tickets were $50 and for that princely sum we enjoyed:
Wine on arrival. Vanilla Zulu has always been BYO and now they are licensed, too! A cooking school with a bar: it’s a yes from me! Mel treated us all to a wine or beer on arrival and we were able to purchase more wine throughout the night. Some guests brought their own and at $5 corkage, why not? I’ve heard of other cooking schools not ‘letting’ guests drink their wine until it’s time to eat, but Mel has a much friendlier approach. Guests are free to enjoy a drink as they learn, chat, cook and prep. On the night of the launch we relaxed even further, with Mel doing all the cooking as we sat back and watched.
A lively cooking demonstration. It’s obvious as to why Mel isn’t an executive chef hidden in the kitchen of a fancy restaurant: she was born to perform! We laughed and learned as Mel took us on a protein palooza: pork belly, lamb shoulder, lamb backstrap, salmon, barramundi; I lost track! There were tips and tricks along the way with plenty of witty anecdotes peppered throughout. This woman needs her own TV show.
All of the food you could possibly eat. Mel is the most generous of hosts. There was such an abundance and variety of recipes prepared from her cookbook that we could have fed another 50 people! Mel also had us plate our own food as to allow us the opportunity to practice plating techniques.
My girlfriend and I had such a fun night, as did all who attended. It'd be awesome if Mel could run a cooking demonstration regularly - it was such a fun night out!