Ditch the cupcake ready mixes and the fifty delivery menus on your countertop; make Betty Crocker, or your grandmother, proud by learning a few tricks of your own in the kitchen. With a short list of ingredients, a little encouragement, and a room full of enthusiasm, you’ll leave Chef Boutique feeling as skillful as a Food Network pro!
Owner and founder Olga Degtyreva and her husband, Victor, have succeeded at making cooking a ‘first-class hands on culinary learning experience’ from the effortless cooking techniques to the clock-friendly recipes; they make plates covered in salmon and veal canapés and a bowl of chocolate-dipped-date truffles look like you slaved away in the kitchen for days, when it took less than an hour! Don’t think you’re well equipped for this? Don’t worry, you won’t need professional knives or blenders to apply what you’ve learned, just a set of kitchen bowls, your local grocery, some will power, and you’ll be taking over – one tempura at a time!
Located in South Surra in Kuwait, Chef Boutique offers various cooking classes on a daily basis, such as Asian Fusion, Moroccan, French, Brazilian and even an attempt at incorporating authentic Kuwaiti foods. Suggestions from students regarding any cuisines are always encouraged at all times.
In a large dining room, cooking stations are set up with kitchen equipment and fresh ingredients with ovens on your right. In the front, the chef is positioned next to a television screen (for those who are in the far back to see his station). The room could not have been organized any better; you can’t help but feel the urge to get your hands dirty (or arms, and hair in my case!). Also, Chef Boutique caters to private gatherings such as team building events and social occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, etc) and offers Junior Chef classes for children.
Olga’s goal for Chef Boutique is to help satisfy the hunger for culinary skills and knowledge in Kuwait and to introduce new cuisines, thus she has made sure to partner with restaurants such as Osaka, Japanese restaurant, and is currently looking at one or two more to work with. The classes allow chefs to socialize with the students and even teach them a few cooking secrets to ease the challenges of preparing flawless sushi or even bread. Although she would love to see more Asian, Western European, Eastern European, and Latin local franchises in Kuwait, she thinks the restaurant business in Kuwait is booming.
“The variety is great, but so is the number of franchises and copycat concepts. We definitely see a lot of positive development and it is really encouraging. Young entrepreneurs are taking a few more “risks” with every aspect of the eating out experience. And the Arabic and Indian restaurants are truly excellent.”
For the past years, Kuwait has been on top of the obesity chain, number two, behind the U.S, and 88% of the population is overweight to be exact, according to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Food delivery and the increase of fast food restaurants have caused the epidemic of larger waistlines. With that said, Chef Boutique keeps recipes as healthy as possible, with as little fat as possible.
“Knowing how to balance meals and also how to cook healthy, light alternatives is very important and so many people are now sharply aware of this.
When we design menus and recipes we look for as many ways as possible to show healthy options with the freshest ingredients. After all – you are what you eat!”
Ramadan is right around the corner, how about you impress a few family members with dishes you’ll only find in France or Brazil? Chef Boutique will be more than happy to prepare you for that!
To book a class or check out their courses and schedule, visit www.chefboutique.com.kw
– Iqbal Al-Sanea
Photography by Bader Al-Yaseen