Posted: 6th February 2012
At 41 Portland Place Head Chef Will Carvalho, supported by award winning caterer Harbour & Jones, has the creative freedom to design the most fantastic dishes. He also loves to share his passion for cooking at our culinary master classes exclusively for regular clients of 41 Portland Place.
Catherine Luckin from the Academy of Medical Sciences gate crashed the master class and talks us through her experience.
On a cold wintery afternoon I joined a small group of previous 41 Portland Place clients to experience one of Chef Will’s cooking master classes. As head chef of 41 Portland Place Will is well known for the interesting combinations that feature on his menus – dark chocolate mousse with fried shallot and asparagus cappuccino topped with almonds are a couple that Will hinted during the class will be appearing soon.
Today however he took us slightly back to basics by showing us the secrets to making the perfect risotto. As lots of wine is required for this recipe, I was impressed by Will’s professionalism that step one of the recipe was not to pour himself a glass. Throughout the master class he gave us many other handy cooking tips (Brussels sprouts: Blanch for a couple of minutes until crunchy then roast or pan fry in butter or oil until slightly coloured) but for now: on with the risotto!
- Take 50g Arborio/Carnaroli rice per person. As we were in teams of three we put in 150 grams. So far so good and my fellow students and I are feeling very confident.
- Heat oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan, add finely chopped shallot and garlic (1 of each per person) until brown. Right; a few shallot induced tears but onwards we go.
- Add the rice and fry for a few minutes, throw in a good glug of wine and boil for a few minutes. Everyone has their preference as to the ideal splash glug, but for us about 50ml was about right (leaving enough for the cooks!).
- When the wine has reduced a little, start ladling in the hot stock. Make sure you do this one ladle at a time (don’t burn the rice either as a certain master class attendee did!)
- About half way through add the parmesan and butter. Doing this now will give the risotto time to go creamy as it cooks, and creamy is what we want – also season at this point (not earlier to prevent a bitter taste). Keep ladling in stock until the rice is cooked al dente.
- One of the most important things when making risotto: you must keep stirring throughout. Always stir in circles round the edge and into the middle.
- Add more seasoning and herbs right at the end and serve immediately.
- 50 gram Arborio/Carnaroli rice per person
- 1 small shallot, diced finely per person
- 1 clove of garlic per person
- 50ml of dry, white wine
- 250 ml per person
- 50 gram butter
- 50 gram good quality parmesan
- Sliced chives to garnish
- Salt & pepper to season
It turned out to be a great afternoon of team building and under Will’s guidance we all managed to produce a lovely risotto, proving this recipe foolproof! I’ve tried it out on friends since and they were most impressed.
Top tip from Will: with leftover risotto, shape into balls, cover in breadcrumbs and deep fry (you can add cheese in the middle too!). Yummy Arancini!
Do you have a question for Head Chef Will Carvalho? You can email Will directly if you like.
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