Cher Loh has been leading courses at the Good Housekeeping Institute Cookery School since it opened its doors in 2015. A graduate of Leiths, he did his kitchen time on the London restaurant circuit, working at the likes of Nobu, One Great George Street and 28–50 before taking up the tutor’s apron and sharing his passion with students. Now, as Head Tutor and Kitchen Co-ordinator, he spends his days demystifying restaurant-quality cuisine for the Institute’s ever-growing army of keen home cooks. We caught up with him between classes…
How did you end up teaching cooking?
Following a long stint working as a chef, I chanced upon an opening at a cookery school in London. I got the job while still working as a freelance chef but gradually found that teaching was much more fulfilling. The opportunity then came up at Good Housekeeping – I have been with the school since it opened and have loved every minute of it!
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Maintaining a somewhat trim figure as we are constantly tasting food and testing recipes!
…and the best?
Tasting food and testing recipes!
Do you have a favourite course or topic that you teach?
‘Macarons’ is a great course to teach because a lot of people think that they are difficult to make at home. I love showing show them that it’s achievable!
What do you think is the trickiest dish/technique that your teach in your classes?
Anything to do with eggs – they are such a versatile ingredient but you do need know the science behind cooking with them.
How would you describe the atmosphere in the school kitchen?
Convivial and welcoming. We see a lot of guests come back over and over again and we really feel like we’re greeting friends. It’s brilliant to see what people have accomplished since they were last here.
What do you think makes the school stand out?
Being a part of the Good Housekeeping Institute means that we research and test recipes vigorously to get them just right, so anyone can replicate them at home. GH also has nearly 100 years of cooking experience so once you’ve learned the skills from us in the Cookery School, we are confident that we’re sending you on your way fully equipped to replicate the dishes and expand your repertoire at home.
Do you think some people are just bad cooks? Or can everyone be saved?
No one is a bad cook. Different people have different skills and levels of experience in the kitchen. We see people of all ages and levels of experience on our courses and we pride ourselves on ensuring that everyone goes away having learned something.
Be honest now: are there any ingredients that you use in your classes that you don’t actually like?
I really dislike cheap rose water, but I would never use the cheap stuff in classes. Quality of ingredients is incredibly important.
How often do you introduce new classes, and how do you decide what to teach?
We have a running stable of classes that cover the classics, but also introduce new ones regularly to align with food trends – we are also not averse to revisiting the classics and giving them a new twist. Food is very much like fashion!
What are your three desert-island dishes?
Beef rendang; bouillabaisse, and crumpets slathered with crunchy peanut butter.