House and Leisure online intern Sarah Louise Keeble ventured off to experience a taste of one of the Kitchen Cowboys’ unique food and beer pairing workshops, and left with some handy cooking tips and broadened insight into this often overlooked beverage… Arriving at Cape Town’s Salt River industrial estate, ready for a food and beer tasting, I didn’t quite know what to expect. Turn a corner however, and I was directed into the Kitchen Cowboys’ inviting and innovative space. The open-plan warehouse contained a comfy sofa seating area, the central kitchenette, six encompassing sub kitchenettes, a bar with beer on tap, a pantry holding shelves of cooking materials, food and condiments, boxes of fresh fruit-‘n-veg, and a chic wooden dining area. A warm smiley introduction and an offer for a glass of beer or wine was followed by flowing conversation amongst a group of new faces. Coming to a Kitchen Cowboy workshop is not only a learning experience, it is also a cooking and social experience. With everyone introduced to each other, including the Head Chef Pete Goffe-Wood and South African Brewery Master Denis De Silva, the lesson about how to taste beer began. We each were given a glass of Pilsner Urquell, a Czechoslovakian beer. Denis proceeded to go through the different flavours that are attached to beer: cloves, almonds, orange peel, banana peel, bran, caraway seed and aniseed. Each in turn, we gave these components a large whiff in order to heighten our senses to each fragrance. Denis pointed out that we rarely taste beer – we just drink it. So we advanced to listening to our beer, looking at our beer, smelling our beer and finally tasting it. Unlike wine tasting, there is no swirling or savouring of beer. Beer is designed to drink – and to drink quickly. To accompany the beverages, Pete got his hands dirty in the central kitchenette, showing us how to make a veal and bacon meatloaf, and sweet-caraway-seed-dressed cabbage salad, followed by a starter of chorizo, chicken liver and tomato accompanied by a slice of bread to mop up the tangy buttery sauce. Halfway through discussing the complimenting flavour of the beer paired with the succulent chicken liver, we were paired up into couples to go off and create our own meatloaf and cabbage salad. With the meatloaf slowly cooking in the ovens and the cabbage salad sitting patiently (and being nibbled on!), we regathered around Pete’s central kitchenette and watched him whizz up a sticky toffee pudding. With mouths drooling and armed with our newly-acquired skills, we returned to our tables to produce our own sticky toffee pudding. After our own cooking experience we congregated around the stylish wooden dining table to eat Pete’s amazing feast he had prepared for us. With conversation flowing, (as well as the beer on tap and the bottles of wine) we all agreed that the evening was enjoyed by all, and would be loved by every person with a taste palate. Not only did we have tomorrow’s lunch sorted with our cooked delights, we had learnt some great new recipes to whip out at our next dinner party, made some new friends and had discovered the fine art of tasting beer. If you want to experience an evening with the Kitchen Cowboys or just want to find out more visit their website here. Alternatively, you can contact Pete on email@example.com. Don’t be daunted or put off by the cooking – it is such fun and there is help (and washer-uppers) along the way. Kitchen Cowboys is a cooking course with a twist for those ready to take the next step, each workshop themed to make the experience entirely unique. Each course comprises 6 weekly workshops, held on Tuesday evenings from 6pm till 9pm. Find them at 20-22 Brickfield Road, Salt River, Cape Town.