chefs for foodies recently launched its recipe box program, offering every ingredient you need for a variety of our classes, packaged and delivered to you ahead of a scheduled live class, or on a day of your choosing to accompany a video class. Our recipe boxes are made in partnership with Morgan Munyinyi of Turie Café, a popular eatery in London’s Marylebone district. Editor Sally McIlhone spoke to Munyinyi about his food ethos, the importance of great produce and how the very best ingredients form part of the chefs for foodies recipe boxes.
How did you first hear about chefs for foodies?
So chefs for foodies came along via Chef Craig, who called me to tell me there is a platform where I can do cooking class and make some money. James called me to do a class and I said, ‘Let’s think big - if you want to do recipe boxes, I’m game to do that. I’ve got my business, Turie Cafe and I have a space where we can start doing the boxes.
What made you want to partner with chefs for foodies on recipe boxes over other platforms on the market?
At chefs for foodies have a dynamic flow of chefs who are bringing a lot of experience in their field, whatever level of catering they are in. Other platforms might offer you their version of a chicken tikka masala but at chefs for foodies you’re able to learn from an expert who understands that dish inside and out. Our chefs are opening up key trade secrets that have been hidden to the public and teaching people how to be better cooks at home.
How do chefs for foodies recipe boxes compare to buying ingredients at a supermarket?
Buying a recipe box is actually cheaper than going out and buying the same ingredients from the supermarket because when you go to the supermarket and buy allspice, for example, you might use one tablespoon and then it’s at the back of the cupboard and you’re never going to use it again. You’re not bombarded with all the million and one ingredients that you’d want to make a particular recipe. So, for example, I’m going to do a caponata class. Now the amount of ingredients you’d need for a caponata is 16 or 17 ingredients. If you go to the supermarket and you buy 16 ingredients, the amount of money you’re going to pay for that is a lot as compared to coming to our platform. Here, we weigh every ounce of spice that you need and you’ll have the exact amount for the dish you are making. We’ll send you enough of exactly those 16 ingredients for 2, 4, 5, or 6 portions. The more you buy, the cheaper it gets. If you look at the cost of the box, it’s cheaper than buying the spices and we are able to offer you different fantastic menus every day. In comparison, we are much cheaper and other platforms are not highlighting that.
Can you tell us about the quality of produce that’s used in chefs for foodies recipe boxes?
We are using Aubrey Allen for all the meats. You cannot get a better butcher in the country, they supply her majesty the Queen. Hakkasan, Nobu, they only buy from Aubrey Allen. The other platforms, they don’t explain where their meat comes from, for them it's just a money churning machine. Here, we care. There is traceability with our products, from beginning to end, so the duck legs we have for Daniel Galmiche’s class are French, they’re brought into the country three times a week and the quality is just phenomenal.
We have such dynamic and passionate chefs and they all bring something different. We are the only platform offering cooking classes with boxes of specific ingredients and doing it in a way where we are using dishes we know are 100% amazing because they are the same dishes we sell in restaurants. So you’re bringing the same dish from the restaurant and onto a platform and offering that to the public.
Can you tell us more about your cafe, Turie?
The cafe is going well. Follow us on Instagram @turiecafe and you’ll get an idea of the food we make here. We are next to the BNP Paribas bank and it’s very international. There are people from all over the world and they understand different palates and foods. Even now, during covid, we have 60-70 people every day.
Takeaway works perfectly for us. Our prices are from £9-£12.50 for a large box of salad and a protein. We have between 12-15 different salads, core salads that don’t change like pasta and pesto, caesar salad, quinoa with avocado, grilled broccoli and petit pois, but then all the other salads will change depending on the season. It’s a very original concept.
Today we had fillet steaks aged for 35 days served with smoked mashed potatoes, spring greens and a red wine jus. We’ve got king prawns cooked with garlic butter finished with Japanese spices and you can have that with tapenade or harissa or salsa verde and then you get to choose things like cauliflower, confit shallots. We have chicken escalope here which is corn fed and in the mixture you have thyme and lemon zest. It’s pan-fried with clarified butter so it’s much more flavoursome. Surprise, surprise, it's the biggest seller!
That sounds delicious, you’re making us hungry!
With great produce, you don’t need to do very much, it does the talking. All you need to do is enhance what’s already there. Aubrey Allen call me every morning with a list of specials, fantastic steaks and meats, rare, local breeds. Happy animals which produce happy meat. One of the other companies we work with is Freedown Foods and they sell wagyu beef so I do wagyu beef bourguignon with smoked celeriac mash and swiss chard and that flies out. The flavours are just insane. Then I’ll do traditional stuff like a beef shin ragu and sometimes I make fresh pasta here. I sell them for the day and when we run out, we’ve run out.
Can you tell us about the classes you are hosting on the platform?
If you look at all the restaurants that do an amazing brunch, it’s just eggs, hollandaise, good ham and the muffins. You can make that at home, but it’s shrouded in all this mystery. I did a class on eggs benedict with foamed hollandaise, grilled asparagus and ham hock and the whole theme of the class was how to demystify poaching eggs. What sort of vinegar do you need? How long do you poach the eggs for? What sort of eggs do you need? Just getting people to follow those steps so that the next time you go to a restaurant and eat a perfectly poached egg you know you can do it yourself and you appreciate it more. It will encourage people to eat out more as they understand the effort that’s gone into what’s on their plates.
With my class I even send you a reduced tarragon, shallot and white wine reduction which is the base to cook off the egg yolk and it’s already measured and weighed to make four portions. I can tell from the amount of bubbles being released by the butter, how hot it is, because I’ve done it a million times. I know when it’s about to split within a split second, so I’ll tell you all the stuff you need to have next to you when I do my class. If you drop in a tablespoon full of warm water, you can stop it turning into scrambled eggs. It’s so simple but a lot of chefs don’t want to teach you these techniques because it sells and that’s all they have!