My initial concerns aside I want to mention from the offset that by the virtue of some very meticulous design this is actually a fairly simple and enjoyable cooking experience.
What Simon and his team at WOOD have brought here is quite simply the opportunity to cook like a master-chef without requiring the abundance of necessary knowledge and skills. And I can tell you it is great fun.
The thing that struck me about this meal, it’s preparation, cooking, plating and serving is quite how seriously I took the whole thing as soon as those ingredients were laid out.
I read each recipe to calculate appropriate start times, which paid dividends when I realised the dessert took 90 minutes to set – so I started there.
Citrus Tutti Frutti. The cooking really couldn’t have been simpler, boil the provided cream and pre-portioned sugar, add the lemon juice and pour into bowl. Round 1 to me.
Next we revert to a more natural order of things, the first course. You may opt for different choices but we went for Pork Belly with accompanying Apple, Pickled Onion & Shallots with an Apple Gel, Sage & Onion Purée and a sprinkle of Crackling Powder.
Simmer for 8 minutes and plate. Our second choice of plate, the Artichoke, Celeriac & Apple Risotto with Lancashire Crumbly Gnocchi, had a similar level of requirement ‘heat the risotto’ ‘fry the gnocchi’.
The key part it seems to me in this experience is that the team at WOOD have very cleverly achieved the perfect plating up experience. Pictures accompany the recipes and the idea is to aim as close as possible.
I was tweaking that Crispy Sage Leaf to within a fraction of a millimetre as if I was indeed serving to an eager customer who’s heightened expectation could be matched only by their sheer disappointment if the presentation ruined their entire experience.
I did OK (I think) and the food of course tasted fantastic, small sprigs of Samphire, Chopped Chervil and Linseed Cracker, all adorning that plate complimenting the dish perfectly and all as if I just happened to have them on hand in the fridge.
My Pork Belly cooked beautifully (as per the instructions) with a flurry of delicate accompaniments that of course no average home has in the cupboard.
Back to the cooker and it’s main course time. Fillet of Cheshire Beef for one and Chicken & Sweetcorn the other.
These dishes I think are of course slightly more complicated and in anticipation I read again my recipe cards but it’s fine, there are more ingredients but they are again more relevant for plating up so I press on.
The Chicken with it’s Cajun Spice, Sweetcorn Purée and King Oyster Mushroom all comes together brilliantly and the result after some careful arrangement is brilliant.
Resting on a Madeira Sauce and showered with Beetroot Powder, Truffle Oil and Tarragon this is another ‘proper’ restaurant dish and not something you would ever go to the lengths to adorn at home and that is of course the rather obvious point of all this, the thing to really enjoy and experience.
Finally the moment of truth, remember that Citrus Tutti Frutti from 90 minutes ago, well it set just right and whilst my adornment on this occasion left a little to be desired, it did not impact the great taste.
I really enjoyed WOOD at Home and all I can say is hats off once again to Simon and the team for creating such a great experience.
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