Unilever – a name synonymous with some of the best and biggest brands , is headquartered in London at Leatherhead and I was invited a few weeks ago to spend an entire day exclusively in the Unilever kitchen cooking up a storm with some of the most amazing brands in the food and drinks industry with a series of Masterclasses.
I arrived at the Leatherhead office on a rather grey and chilly October morning and since I managed to reach on time inspite of a massive delay on the SW trains and just before some major traffic signal issue threw the tube network off balance at the peak morning rush hour , I spent some time waiting in the beautiful lounge and gazing around. The fact that I was sitting in the very building where many brilliant minds conceptualise and give us brands like P.G Tips which are a part of our everyday lives lent a sense of admiration and awe to my thoughts.
When the other bloggers arrived I was glad to see some familiar and friendly faces – Heidi from Heidi’s Kitchen Talks and Fiona of London Unattached . It’s always makes me very happy to meet in person bloggers whose blogs I regularly visit and feel as if I already know – like Dom from Belleau Kitchen.
To kick start the day , we sat down to a very engaging and interesting session with Tea Expert – Jane Pettigrew. Of course we were served this lavish spread before the session and after much of crunching and munching we got onto some tea tasting.
Now we are all familiar with the cute P.G Tips talking monkey and his friend Al who have been regaling us with some rather hilarious adverts on the telly for a while now, but are you aware of the vast range of teas available with P.G.Tips? Also, did you know that drinking Tea regularly helps keep cholesterol levels low?
For all green tea aficionados – here’s a fab tip from Jane – Green Tea is best brewed at 80 C because adding boiling water will make the tea taste bitter. Useful tip knowing this, knowing that green tea has many health benefits – it helps cleanse the kidneys aids weight loss and is great for keeping age related diseases at bay.
We tasted several teas including the new P.G.Tips range of fruity, herbal and green teas.
With a sudden flurry of activity the room was abuzz with an electric energy and the very charming and rather famous Master Chef – Marco Pierre White was in the kitchen with us. Gasps and silent whispering later we gathered around as he showed us how to cook the perfect steak and took us through a taste test. Steak which was rubbed with just sea-salt and pepper and steak rubbed a little olive oil and a Knorr Beef Stock Cube. Opinions for the which tasted the best strongly leaned in favour of the ones flavoured with the Knorr stock cube due to it’s rich meaty taste with well balanced herbs and spices.
Then Chef Marco made a rich, creamy sauce using my favourite Knorr 3 peppercorn flavour pot and a whole bottle of Worcestershire sauce, which paired with the perfectly cooked steaks seasoned with Knorr Beef Stock Cubes went down a real treat.
We were then given workstations and assigned the task of cooking up one main dish in pairs. Fiona and me had to cook up a curried parsnip soup and flavour it using the versatile Knorr vegetable stock cubes. I must say that it was only when the masterchef stepped in to take over that the soup actually turned out really amazing…well, no shame in admitting that the Masterchef knows best right? 🙂
This is one picture that I am going to really treasure forever!
The charisma of this great personality filled the room with an unmistakable electric energy. And yet inspite of his obvious charm he came across as very humble and very real as he shared his experiences of working in a professional kitchen at the very start of his star studded career.
The other bloggers made Bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and Knorr Mixed herb flavour pot, a simple bolognese sauce and Risotto al Funghi – all using various Knorr flavour pots and sauces.
As you can see they also had great fun posing;)
After a fabulous lunch sharing the food we had prepared together we then had a baking masterclass with Stork expert baker Sue Batty. We made fluffy cupcakes and Sue gave us complete rein to let our imagination run wild with the toppings and flavourings. The end result of course was a combination of colourful and delicious cupcakes.
After we were given goody bags stuffed to the gills we were dropped off to the station, bringing to an end a fabulous day packed with masterclasses, cooking with a masterchef, getting excellent tips from a tea and baking experts.After a rainy and chilly journey back home I enjoyed my evening cuppa with not one but 2 cute P.G.Tips company as Fiona’s monkey decided to come home with me. As you can see from the picture below, both of these naughty monkeys tried to sabotage my cuppa;)
Keep an eye out the cute limited edition monkey available with certain packs of P.G.Tips – I want to collect them all!
*With thanks to Master Chef Marco Pierre White, Tea Expert Jane Pettigrew, Baking Expert Sue Batty ,Unilever and the entire PR team for a fabulous day out. No monetary compensation was offered for a positive review. As always all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.