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Kate reviews: Atlas Masterclass — ‘great value and a fun mid-week distraction’

ATLAS MASTERCLASSES

atlasmasterclass.com.au

Charlie Carrington was quick to pivot in lockdown one. The idea made sense, his restaurant – Atlas Dining – boasts a menu that vicariously travels the world, changing cuisine each quarter.

So if we can’t come to Atlas, he decided to bring Atlas to us, in the form of internationally-themed food boxes and online cooking classes.

There are a few reasons why the Atlas Masterclass boxes took off so quickly. And when I say it took off, it REALLY took off.

From dropping boxes off around inner Melbourne in lockdown 1.0, now Charlie is shipping them to Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, and parts of regional Victoria and NSW. First time around he was able to keep staff on the books, then they brought past employees back, then they had to fire people – there are now upwards of fifty staff on the books.

They are great value – a couples box sets you back $79, but contains three nightly dinners for two people, so that’s $13 per person per meal. Plus, you can get boxes for singles, or families of four to six.

They’re great for keen, but inherently lazy cooks. Yes, you put it altogether, there’s a bit of chopping and frying, grating and baking; but all the hard stuff is done for you. Sauces have been prepared and reduced, nuts are chopped, lovely pork belly has been slow-roasted overnight, the spices are mixed.

They’re designed to hit the table in 30 minutes or less, and they inevitably do.

And importantly, they’re seriously tasty.

I’ve now done three different masterclasses. There’s no subscription, you can opt in and out. For me, it’s just fun every now and then to have something different to cook for a few nights a week, that’s generally a step above a normal weeknight meal for me.

So what might you cook? Well, I jumped on board the trip to Italy last week, and here’s what I made …

The menu kicked off night one with Chicken Milanese on crushed potatoes with peperonata.

Sounds complex? It’s not. Watch the video below to see just how easy it is.


It goes like this – peel and chop a couple of potatoes, whack them in boiling water. Slice onions, put them in a pan – Charlie’s also given us a tub of salsa verde, chuck some of that in with the onions.

After a few minutes, slice a couple of capsicums and put them in too.  Chop some parsley and mix it with the leftover salsa verde.

Throw your giant, crumbed chicken in a pan with pre-heated oil. Strain the potatoes and crush them slightly, give them a drizzing of olive oil, sprinkle of parsley, squeeze of lemon juice.

The potatoes go onto the plate, crispy chicken schnitzel sits on top, then the onions and peppers, and some extra dollops of salsa verde. It’s an unbelievably generous, and seriously tasty dinner.

How did I know how to do all this? Well, you do need online access. The recipes are housed on the Atlas Masterclass website, along with terrific videos of Charlie explaining the inspiration for each dish, and how to bring all the ingredients together. Plus, he does live demonstrations on Instagram each week, where  you can ask him questions as he goes.

The remaining two nights in Italy saw us indulge in a rich, roasted porchetta (complete with tooth-breaking crackling) alongside roast fennel and an orange and fennel salad; and finally some fettuccine with mushroom and sautéed silverbeet on the side. These were all hits, no misses. Night three is always vegetarian, which is worth knowing. You can always see the upcoming menu before you decide whether to sign up.

And what is coming up? Colombia, Taiwan, and Indonesia, plus Charlie’s been doing regular “Favourites” boxes with an eclectic mix of popular dishes from menus past.

The Atlas Masterclasses are a great option for the happy home cook looking for a little inspiration from afar, they’re great value, generous, and a fun midweek distraction from our current quiet lives.

NOMINATIONS FROM LISTENERS – ONLINE COOKING CLASSES

freetofeed.org.au/all-together-now  – Free to Feed is a not-for-profit social enterprise celebrating the potential and spirit of refugees, people seeking asylum and new migrants. All Together Now is their home cooking experience run by Mahshid Babzarbati, one of their longest-running and much-loved cooking instructors. They’ll send you a Feast Kit with the harder-to-find specialty ingredients, you’ll source the source the fresh & pantry ingredients using their shopping list.

relishmama.com.au Ross and I met Nellie Kerrison at her Relish Mama cooking school in Cheltenham when we filmed there for A Moveable Feast. Clearly no-one can visit now, but she is doing online classes, everything from perfecting steak, to Moroccan and making gnocchi.

foodcentric.com.au listeners say Naomi is lovely and professional, and has attracted a regular crew who enjoy cooking and the odd glass of wine during her Zoom classes.

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