Reviewed by: Anthony Leyton
Hidden somewhere deep within the oldest, grandest dame of the London hotel world, there’s a room resembling a Provençal kitchen – all heavy farmhouse furniture, festoons of dried chilli and baskets of lavender. This is part of a suite of spaces devoted to Sauce, cookery school of the Langham Hotel, and by extension one of the most prestigious spots to wield a spatula in the capital.
The school is presided over by Michel Roux Jr, the brains – and name – behind the Langham’s headline restaurant, Roux at the Landau, since 2010, and the curriculum is rooted in his gastronomic MO – classic French cooking for the modern world. Consequently Sauce feels like an integral part of the Langham’s food offering rather than an add-on, and chefs from all of its restaurants have a hand in its teaching.
Before each class, students are guided in for pastries and coffee around a big table, before being shepherded into the main kitchen. Intimate and radiating polished rusticity, it has space for up to twelve students on four island workstations. Centre-stage is a beautiful 19th-century tiled oven, salvaged from France, lugged up the Langham’s stairs, and now pressed into duty as Sauce’s demo station.
As you’d probably expect from one of the capital’s bougiest boltholes and a super chef of Roux’s calibre, equipment is state-of-the-art stuff – including Samsung appliances and an arsenal of Global knives and accessories (available to buy then and there if you get seduced while you’re slicing). Split between Chef Michel, other luminaries from the Langham restaurants, and the schools’ driving force, kitchen manager Millie Simpson, teaching is accessible and the atmosphere amiable and friendly, but the instruction is top-flight and takes technique seriously – the perfect balance of ‘fun day out’ and ‘life-enhancing culinary education’. You’re sure to leave with the skills to transform your own kitchen capabilities, as well as a bag of self-made bounty, and a posh apron to model when you’re recreating it at home.