Tonight Germany has just beaten France in the World Cup and Berlin is one big noisy party. But in truth the Berliners love France and all things French. In1700 over a fifth of the population of Berlin were Huguenot immigrants and they had an enormous influence on the city. Frederick the Great was a Francophile and even after Napoleon had occupied the Prussian Capital, Berlin continued to look to France for inspiration, especially in architecture and the arts. And now there is nothing Berliners love to do more than hang out in street cafés – just like the Parisians. They also enjoy experimenting with new ideas, so it’s no surprise to find that ‘Ratatouille’, a friendly French ‘Kochatelier’ (cookery studio) in a pretty courtyard off Ackerstrasse in Mitte, is proving a big hit.
The cookery lessons last for about an hour and then everyone gets to eat the delicious dish they have helped to put together. Yesterday evening I joined a group of eight others and learnt how to prepare and present steamed salmon served with a fennel and apple salad. It tasted delicious and looked stunning. Ratatouille is owned and run by Moira who says that her passions are ‘cooking and eating and ruminating and discussing for hours with friends..’ She is French with German roots and spent her childhood in Quebec. With her multicultural background Moira is able to switch easily from French to German to English and does so with ease and charm. Her method of cooking is unfussy, using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and the results are always flawless. In Paris she trained with a variety of chefs and has picked up all the secrets of top French cuisine which she shares with enthusiasm and empathy. This was simply the most enjoyable cookery lesson I have ever experienced. It wasn’t just about food, it was about exploring the language and culture of cooking and eating. It was also typically Berlin – relaxed, unpretentious and inclusive. Check out the website video and book your place!