Words by Hannah Tan-Gillies
It’s not every day that you can learn how to make authentic Italian pasta and risotto with chef Theo Randall himself, but that is exactly what I had ventured out to do at the InterContinental Park Lane on this balmy summer evening.
Randall’s food passion began from beloved family holidays around Europe. His early culinary days were spent at legendary establishments Chez Max and River Café, helping the latter achieve its first Michelin Star in 1997. In 2006, the chef brought his culinary talents to the InterContinental Park Lane, a landmark hotel in one of London’s most prestigious addresses that offers the ultimate five-star luxury accommodation overlooking Hyde Park. The hotel’s timeless interiors, exemplary service, and impeccable reputation have made it a staple in London’s luxury hotel scene – and with good reason.
While the InterContinental Park Lane certainly has plenty to offer for the discerning luxury traveller, on the night I visited, I was indulging in an Italian cooking Masterclass led by the award-winning chef himself.
I learned how to make two deceivingly simple, yet delicious Italian dishes; pesto pasta and bell pepper risotto. There are no short-cuts here as Randall took us through the entire pasta-making process beginning from the best raw ingredients, (in this case raw eggs, and semolina flour) all the way up to the final garnish of basil. Amid a few glasses of prosecco, the chef also shared some expert tips gleaned from 20 years of experience in the best kitchens around the world. He also divulged some of the culinary world’s best kept-secrets and shared some frankly hilarious anecdotes about Jamie Oliver’s pasta maker.
During the masterclass, we learned how to make your own pasta at home, discovering the exact colour, consistency, and texture required to achieve the perfect al dente pasta. We also learned the proper way to prepare the perfect risotto and how simple, good quality ingredients can make or break any dish. After the masterclass, we indulged in a four-course Italian dinner with wine pairings guided by the restaurant’s talented sommelier.
For antipasto, we started with a light and creamy fresh burrata and Swiss chard, served with grilled peppers, farinata, Taggiasche olives and basil; paired with a soft and fruity Roero Arneis Serra Lipino.
For our first plate, we enjoyed a simple, yet delicious, serving of ravioli di erbette paired with a full bodied and creamy Planeta Chardonnay. For secondo, we had the bistecca di agnello’ or chargrilled rump of lamp with caponata and salsa verde – which was perfectly cooked and beautifully paired with the fruity, spicy, and aromatic Perricone Tenute Orestiadi.
There was no better way to finish our culinary journey across Italy than with Randall’s famous Amalfi lemon tart – a final zesty flourish to what was undoubtedly an unforgettable evening.
Theo Randall masterclass
Based at the InterContinental London Park Lane, Theo Randall’s masterclass runs from 6pm for £159 per person, which includes the guided masterclass with Randall and four course meal with wine pairings. Running on 7thSeptember, 21st September, 5th October, 19th October and 9th November, the experience is able to book through email at email@example.com. More information is available from: theorandall.com/masterclasses.
InterContinental London Park Lane
The InterContinental London Park Lane is based at One Hamilton Place, Park Ln, London W1J 7QY. Rooms are available to book via phone, +44 (0) 20 74093131, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. See the website for further information: parklane.intercontinental.com.
Chef Theo Randall’s Risotto Di Pepperoni Gialli E Rossi Recipe
300g risotto rice 1 white onion
3 celery sticks
4 ripe plum tomatoes, skinned, deseeded, and finely chopped
75g unsalted butter
2 red peppers
2 yellow peppers
2L chicken stock
Handful of fresh basil, ripped
90ml white wine
1. Chargrill the red and yellow peppers until black – you can do this over the flame on your hob, using tongs to turn them.
2. Place the peppers in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rest. Peel off the black skin and wash off the seeds, chop finely and set aside.
3. In a large saucepan, soften onion and celery then add the rice and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add the white wine then stock and stir continuously adding stock ladle by ladle.
5. When rice is almost ready, add the chopped peeled peppers, tomatoes, Parmesan, basil, and butter. Stir vigorously to obtain a creamy consistency.
6. Season with salt and pepper.