food & drink

Cooking Lisbon – A Cultural Melting Pot!

Written by Jacob White

An Englishman, an Irish family, some Canadian guys and a South Korean blogger walk into a kitchen… No, this isn’t a joke, rather a fantastic cultural experience for travelling foodies.

During my Half Term break in February I visited Lisbon, Portugal, and being a passionate foodie I decided to go along to a class at Cooking Lisbon, the city’s premier cookery school for tourists.

The enterprise has just celebrated its first anniversary and is already planning to move to larger facilities after early success as Luis Lopes, co-founder and owner explained to me.

He was on-hand to welcome me to the kitchen and I was also greeted by one of the thre professional chefs employed by Cooking Lisbon – Pedro Pereira – whose CV boasts globally experience from Angola to Norway!

The classes have a simple mission – to be a place to learn and have fun whilst learning traditional Portuguese dishes during your stay in Lisbon and I cannot fault that mission! They fully succeeded in that!

The menus offered at the classes generally consist of at least four courses – an appetiser, a starter, two mains (one meat and one fish) and one dessert which are selected by the chef from a list of around 50 different dishes.

The dish choices can be altered if Cooking Lisbon is notified in advance to take into consideration vegetarians, vegans, allergies and any other special dietary requirements.

The classes are designed for every skill level with hands-on tutition – the menu we were given to prepare was kale soup followed by codfish cataplana and chicken in the pot with a salted caramel pudding for dessert.

Learning from an industry professional we learnt how to prepare meat and fish which was fascinating and at this point with sharp knives – luckily the wonderful wine hadn’t kicked in!

The expression ‘a cultural melting pot’ was given a whole new meaning with cultures from around the world united by a love of great food and great wine. Did I mention the unlimited amazing Portuguese wine on offer?

The kale soup went down a treat, complemented by crusty bread and olive oil and both the meat and fish were cooked to perfection with the cod seemingly just melting in the mouth!

The dessert was the ideal finish, despite my concerns it might be too sweet, it marvellously cut through the dense savoury flavours and proved a refreshing finish to a superb meal!

I will definitely look out for more cookery schools when I am next on my travels, my experience this night was one to savour! What better way to understand what makes a city’s heartbeat then to understand what goes into its stomach?

I cannot recommend it highly enough for foodies! For more information about Cooking Lisbon, visit their website: where you can read more about their cookery nights and other cookery classes that they offer.