Community Kitchen

Community Kitchen

Today, Mercato Metropolitano welcomed a group of children from Friar Playscheme for some half term fun! Inspired after their previous trips to the MM Cookery School, when they made pizza and participated in a mushroom growing workshop, the children wanted to try their hands at pasta making.

Led by our chef, Davide Rossi, the class started with the children weighing out the ingredients to make the pasta. They then moved onto kneading the dough; we were so impressed by one little boy who joined in even though he had a broken arm! The group then chopped all the ingredients to make the delicious tomato sauce, which simmered away in the pan to go with the pasta.

Davide then talked to the children about the ingredients needed to make a fresh pesto sauce; basil, nuts, olive oil, garlic and Parmesan cheese. Next he got some of the children crushing the basil and garlic, old style, using a pestle and mortar. They loved the aroma that came from the tasty mixture! We also had two very willing volunteers to grate the Parmesan cheese.

It was then onto the really fun part- rolling out the dough, ready to be put through the hand-operated pasta machine. An orderly queue was formed and everyone watched in fascination as tagliatelle came out. After a few minutes in a pan of hot water, the pasta was ready and was tossed into the fresh pesto for some and, tomato, for others, sprinkled with yet more Parmesan. Silence fell as everyone tucked into their delicious lunch! We’re looking forward to welcoming the Friars Playscheme back to MM soon.


Watch this space for a new community gardening project that we are going to be launching soon. Fancy helping out to grow hops on our site to make the delicious beers that will be made in our sustainable brewery and sold at MM? We are working in conjunction with the amazing Lamlash Gardens, who are based a stone’s throw from us in Elephant and Castle, to start growing hops on our site. Join us on Sunday 3rd December from 1.30pm to start this amazing project. More information to follow….

Community events in May

Community events in May

There have been lots of community events happening at Mercato Metropolitano recently. On Thursday, May 11th, we welcomed MIA Dance group, headed by Suzy Mills-local dance and exercise tutor, leader and choreographer for the group. They sang modern and vintage songs and the ladies, between the ages of 64 and 84, performed upbeat and show-type dances to current music and old faithful’s, taking everyone on a journey from Broadway, to New York, Copacabana and beyond, while proving that keeping active by dancing is the way to good health and happiness!

On Saturday 20th May, the MM Cookery School was a hive of activity! The children, who are regular attendees of the community classes, decided that they wanted to bake cakes and then sell them during the day at MM to raise funds for the next programme of events in the cookery school. The children arrived at 10 am and spent a busy two hours baking and icing cakes and buns. They then set themselves up with a stand in the market (and decorated it with bunting) and started selling the cakes. Well done to the children who raised over £80!

Sunday 21st May saw the start of the second programme of community children’s cookery classes at MM. This programme will run for 4 weeks and is based upon wok cooking skills. Run by the incredibly talented 15 y ear chef Cameron Brown, the children will be preparing Pad Thai, Kung Pao Chicken, Hong Kong style fried noodles and stir fried Sichuan chicken with garlic egg fried rice. Week 1 started with a bang, with two groups of chicken chopping, stir-frying and then eating a delicious bowl of Pad Thai. Well done to Cameron for running an engaging, fun class.

On our community sustainability programme

On our community sustainability programme

The community/ sustainability programme at Mercato Metropolitano is in full swing!

The first of the children’s Saturday morning cookery classes launched in February. This 12-week programme, run by local community hero, Jason Brown, welcomes 10-12 children every week. So far, the children have enjoyed making cakes, pizza, jerk chicken and stir-fry to name but a few! As well as having great fun, our objectives for the classes are to give children skills in different types of food preparation and also to instil a love of cooking with and, eating dishes prepared from scratch.  The second programme will start on Sundays towards the end of May and will run for 5 weeks, with the focus being on wok-based cookery.

We also run free cookery classes for children during the school holidays. Groups of local children, attending holiday clubs, have enjoyed making pizza, Venezuelan Arepa and mushroom pasta dishes. The free community class, together with the master classes, supper clubs and corporate events means the cookery school is fast becoming the hub of Mercato!

Running in conjunction with the cookery classes, is our community gardening club, which runs on a Sunday between 12pm and 2pm in our garden. Local children and their parents have been planting herbs, salads, fruit and vegetables. To date we are growing strawberries, chard, broad beans, spring onions, apples, pears, rosemary, and thyme.  The children have really engaged in the process of planting and maintaining the produce in the wooden boxes around the site. As we get further into the growing and harvesting season, we hope to start an after school gardening club too. The children will be using the produce grown in the garden to prepare dishes in the cookery school, a true demonstration of “zero miles” in action!

We currently have two sustainable growing projects operating on the site.  Firstly, we (think) we have the only mushroom farm in central London! We take left over coffee waste from the site (and other coffee shops in the local area) and have been growing Oyster mushrooms from the waste. When working at full capacity, we think that we will be harvesting about 10kg of mushrooms per week. These mushrooms are being used by our vendors at MM to create delicious pasta, pizza and risotto dishes. We also run workshops for local children where we talk to them sustainable farming, them let them make up their own bag of the coffee waste to take home and grow mushrooms.  The children then prepare a simple pasta dish with the mushrooms. Although most of them arrived at the class, saying there was “no way” they would “ever eat mushrooms”, it was amazing how many tried the dish and liked it! They found it fascinating to be preparing a pasta dish, using vivid pink oyster mushrooms that had been grown in the heart of their community in Elephant and Castle!

Watch this space for a number of other events: We have been accepted as a participant for London Food Month and will be running a dads and daughters pizza making class on 11th June, as an early celebration of Fathers Day. We are also planning on holding a Family fun day and a Community sustainability day, where we will showcase the sustainable farming initiatives at MM.