The Idler History of Cooking in Six Chapters with Rowley Leigh

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In this fine cookery course, legendary chef Rowley Leigh traces the history of cooking from hunter-gatherer times and gives simple recipes from each period in humankind’s culinary evolution. Rowley Leigh’s ‘History of Cooking’ is divided into six chapters. Each chapter is 20 to 40 minutes long, and is accompanied by a printable recipe sheet. You can view each film as many times as you like.

You will find Rowley to be delightful company, and warm and witty. You would expect no less from the man who led the Idler team to victory against the Financial Times on University Challenge. And the recipes are divine as well.

Our films were made in Rowley’s kitchen.

Chapter One: The Hunter-gatherer

In this first chapter on wild food, Rowley teaches you how to cook rabbit with ceps.

Chapter Two: The Conquest of Fire

How to cook the perfect steak with béarnaise sauce.

Chapter Three: The Triumph of Farming

How to cook khichiri, the ancestor of kedgeree, plus garam masala and courgette risotto.

Chapter Four: The Egg

How to make an omelette, plus oeufs à la neige

Chapter Five: The Chicken

Roast chicken with tarragon, and chicken à la king

Chapter Six: Salt

The advent of preservatives is celebrated with recipes for Parmesan custard and anchovy toast, and spaghetti Amatriciana

Here’s what others had to say about the course:

“Thank you very much to Rowley for a wonderful course.”

About the tutor

Rowley Leigh is a British chef and Restaurateur. After a couple of years at the Joe Allen restaurant, Leigh went to work with the Roux brothers at Le Gavroche in 1979. After stints at Le Gavroche and the brothers’ pastry laboratory, and becoming buyer for the group, he took over their prestigious Le Poulbot restaurant as head chef in 1984, receiving many accolades including The Times “restaurant of the year” award in 1986. He opened Kensington Place restaurant with Nick Smallwood and Simon Slater in 1987. Quickly hailed by The Times as restaurant of the year, Kensington Place and its blend of brilliant food and an informal and buzzy atmosphere set the pattern for London restaurants in the 1990s. In the same decade, Rowley started a career as a cookery writer, winning the prestigious Glenfiddich Food and Drink Awards three times. His much accoladed book, No Place Like Home, was published in 2001. He left Kensington Place in December 2006 in order to open Le Café Anglais in 2007. He is cookery correspondent of the Financial Times.