The phrase goes, that if you can’t stand the heat, get out the kitchen.

This was certainly not true during my afternoon at COSMO on Magdalen Street, which saw me standing in front of a 300°c hot plate on a roasting summer’s day.

I was invited to the buffet restaurant to undertake an afternoon of cooking with William Anderson, consultant of westernised cuisine at COSMO, particularly trying out a new cuisine which might be rolled out at COSMO’s across the country.

READ MORE: Oxford's newest restaurant got me behind the scenes

To get into the part, I was handed some slightly too-large chef whites which - will not lie - helped me get into character and reminded me of those years I worked in hospitality while at university.

Oxford Mail: Chef William Anderson talking me through the concept Chef William Anderson talking me through the concept

Though, this was not the first time I went behind the scenes at a restaurant in the name of journalism.

In May, I visited the opening of Korean restaurant Grounded Kitchen in London Road, where I had the chance the make a nourish bowl from scratch.

Once I was in my chef whites, Mr Anderson chatted me though the concept: a Mongolian dish which people can construct themselves based on their preferences.

Located at what is normally the teppanyaki station, the concept would see guest fill bowls which vegetables of their choice, which they would then hand to the chef behind the hot plate who would cook them alongside the meat option they like, before adding a sauce.

Guests also get to choose between a base of noodles or rice.

Oxford Mail: There are a huge range of veggies to choose fromThere are a huge range of veggies to choose from

The entire idea of the new Mongolian station is that it is quick, fresh and prepared before the guests’ eyes.

The vegetables you can choose from include red onions, spring onions, beansprouts, peppers, courgette, peas, cauliflower, celery, nuts, carrots, mushrooms, lychees, sweetcorn and chilli.

The meats on offer are pork, beef or chicken and the sauces include sweet and sour, teriyaki and bearnaise.

Of course, as the concept is dictated by the customer’s preferences it means allergies and dietary requirements, such as being vegetarian or vegan, can easily be catered for.

Once I had picked by own vegetables, the cooking experience got underway.

Oxford Mail: Giving the cooking session a go Giving the cooking session a go

First job was the throw the meat of my choice onto the hot plate with some oil.

The hot plate being, as I mentioned earlier, a scorching 300°c the cooking process is extremely quick. Far quicker and hotter than any standard domestic oven could reach meaning I had to keep my eye on the ball and chop and move the meat constantly, to prevent it from burning.

Giving this experience ago gave me so much respect for the chefs who work on the hotplate day in and day out. Let me tell you, it is absolutely roasting behind there.

Oxford Mail: The hotplate is a roasting 300°cThe hotplate is a roasting 300°c

Once the meat was ready, the vegetables were added. Again I had to be quick in my movements to ensure they did not burn.

Finally, sauce was added. It was given a few quick seconds to cook and marinate the food before it was all scooped up and added on top of the base of either rice or noodles.

The new Mongolian dish would certainly fit into COMSO’s brand identity of serving food from all around the world, with people being able to pick and choose exactly what they want.

Oxford Mail: The finished product The finished product

“When you look at all the different areas we have got, we have sushi, pasta, pizza, BBQ, carvery, teppanyaki, grills, desserts, all the Indian cuisine, the Chinese cuisine, ice creams, fresh fruits, canned fruits – you name it, it is there,” Mr Anderson previously explained to the Oxford Mail.


Read more from this author

This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

You can get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @itssophieperry

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