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A healthy eats cookery class with Chris Hale

Chris Hale and IconInc residents in the private dining room
Elena, from The Ascent

The beauty of living at Iconinc, The Ascent, is that wellbeing always comes first. Whether that’s the monthly exclusive events, which often have a focus on wellness and health, or the fab facilities like the gym. I’m here to tell you about last week when, MasterChef 2016 quarter-finalist Chris Hale came in to teach a healthy eating cookery masterclass at IconInc.

Food is a massive part of our lives, we literally are what we eat. But at this time of year it’s all too tempting to give in to comfort foods, which are often not so healthy! Lots of us students thrive off the fast food restaurants which are only within a five minute walk from The Ascent. But what if we had the skills to cook our own delicious and healthy meals in our own kitchen?

Apart from studying, partying, and stressing, I’ve found that student life involves lots of experimentation in the kitchen. This can either go tremendously well or disastrously wrong. To help us on our culinary journey, IconInc is putting on a series of cookery masterclasses with Chris Hale in order to limit the disasters and provide us students with the right skills and knowledge to cook a delicious, nutrient rich meal.

Students learning to cook in the mega kitchen

For starters

Firstly, we were taught to make a lentil salad accompanied by a vegetable stir-fry and marinated salmon. The salad was created with lentils, pomegranate, grilled cauliflower, almond flakes and mixed leaf salad. The contrasting tastes certainly made this salad extremely tasty and leaving you wanting to have more. Chris explained that the choice of ingredients make this salad low in calories and high in nutritional value, with lots of iron, protein, vitamin C, and fibre.

A healthy salad starter created by IconInc students with help from Chris Hale.

And for the main

Moving onto the main course, Chris demonstrated how we should handle sharp knives and taught us the ultimate fine chopping technique. We each took turns to cut the vegetables ranging from onions, spring onions, peppers, Chinese lettuce, mushrooms and chilli peppers. Once those were all finely chopped, we got a fresh fillet of salmon and we marinated it in soya sauce, honey and lemon juice to give it some extra flavor (is your mouth watering yet?). While the salmon was baking in the oven, the vegetables went into a hot pan and at this point everyone was starting to get hungry as the lovely smells started to waft around the kitchen.

A healthy salmon main meal created by IconInc students, with the help of Chris Hale.

Time to dig in

Next we moved into the private dining area where we each had to complete the task of plating our food. Anyone who has seen a cookery show will know how important presentation is. So, we took this task seriously as Chris was going to decide who had the most Instagrammable plate…the pressure was on!

There was a lovely atmosphere around the table, as we each got to know each other, seeing as some of us had not previously met. Our table was very international having students from Kuwait, Greece, Indonesia, Columbia, Cayman Island and Saudi Arabia. Cooking and inviting people to try your food is an excellent way to mingle and to make new friends. Chris also told us some really interesting stories about the countries he’d travelled to and the different cuisines he has tried, as well as his experience on MasterChef.

Call me keen, but the best part of the class was when Chris announced that he would be coming back in February for a pizza class – and that we’ll be cooking them from scratch. We’d all had such a good time that we all booked straight on to the next one. You can find out more about events at IconInc, here.

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