What is Cook and Speak?
Cook and Speak is an invitation to Taste Your French: it is a French language and culinary experience centered on the pleasure of sharing food related stories and delicious meals.
Classes have 3 components: French language lesson, cooking and eating together in French. Lunch, dinner, goûter and brunch classes are available for adults, teenagers, families and friends.
The concept may look simple and easy, but in fact there is a lot of work behind the scene and I don’t count the hours developing the course content, trying the best combination of seasonal recipes, learning to use new marketing tools, etc.. Still, I really love the freedom and flexibility of working by myself.
Could you please tell us a little about yourself?
I am a French “gourmande” married to an Italian with 2 children who are now studying at University in the UK. I studied in a French Business School and have worked in corporate environment within IT and HR functions, in various European countries. After our 8th move, I faced difficulties to find a job in Denmark as an expat spouse so I decided to use my skills in the non-profit sector and focus on what matters for me most: education and food. What else can be better than working at enjoying a great meal prepared in good company and sharing your culture?
How did you get the idea of creating a link between cooking and language?
Having lived and worked in several European countries, I appreciate the importance of cooking and sharing a meal as a great way to create strong bonds and learn or practice a foreign language.
I also started to teach French professionally working for Berlitz in Copenhagen using a very interactive and intuitive approach that I found very effective.
Finally, I have realised the growing importance of adopting healthier and responsible eating habits.
With Cook and Speak, my goal is to put the pleasure of taste, conviviality and responsibility at the centre of our meals with a festival of the senses, using an action-oriented and intercultural learning approach.
Who are your customers?
My customers are in the first place foodies who want to improve their conversational French skills, more specifically:
-adults who are interested in the French food culture and Mediterranean inspired cuisine
-young people (from the age of 12) who learn French at school and want to practice what they have learned in class in a gourmet context, as an alternative to tutoring.
Is the concept Cook and Speak unique?
Using cooking as a tool for practicing a new language is not new, but as far as I know Cook and Speak is the only experience which includes:
-A proper language lesson, with specific food related linguistic and socio-cultural objectives
-A cooking lesson, with the aim of inspiring people to become more creative and adopt healthier eating habits. Using the language to perform a task collectively is a great way of getting more confident in a conversational situation.
-A meal experience, which encourages participants to exchange and get a better understanding of their respective food culture.
One of the Cook and Speak lessons theme is called “Cuisine de Chefs”. Using an article which describes the story of a famous chef, we learn to talk about character traits of someone and we cook a menu based on simple famous chefs recipes.
This recipe from Alain Passard which is a Cook and Speak typical example: maximum culinary pleasure for minimum effort. I bet you’ll be asked for the recipe many times.
It is my pleasure to share it with the Expatclic community.
AVOCADO CHOCOLATE « SOUFFLÉ »
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
2 big ripe avocados
50 g of raw sugar
3 egg whites
1 vanilla pod
2 teaspoons of pistachio butter (optional)
8 small squares of dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 210 °C.
Cut the avocados in 2 and remove the flesh gently without breaking the shells.
Mix the pulp with pistachio butter, vanilla seeds and lime zest.
Whisk the egg whites adding sugar progressively.
Fill the 4 avocado shells with 1/3 of the mixture.
Add pieces of chocolate in the middle.
Cover with another layer of mixture.
Bake for 8 minutes just before serving.
Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.
Notes: The “soufflés” can be prepared in advanced and stored in the fridge until baked in the oven. They can also be baked in ramekins if you have made a mess with your avocado shells.
Thanks to Cécile Della Torre for text, recipe and pictures
Interview collected by Carole Sahebzadah