Table talk: Where Tom Stiles eats..

I was looking for a way to bond with a team of Chinese partners, and Venturi's Table struck me as a perfect idea. It worked out brilliantly.

You walk in and it's like you're on the set of a TV cooking show. It's this beautiful professional kitchen with a large work-island in the centre. The initial reaction is to be a bit intimidated - there are no chairs or tables, which gives you a sense of 'okay, this is not a traditional restaurant', and it dawns on you that you'll have to prepare your own meal. It was a bit of a risk: I don't think men in the Chinese culture do a lot of cooking. But it was worth a try, and proved a great experience.

The staff ply you with drinks and hors d'oeuvres, then put you into three groups, each preparing a different course under a professional chef. You cook, then pull up stools, sit round the island and eat the food you've made.

It was absolutely delicious. Our theme was Italian - one of the starters was pasta with a homemade ragu. I made one of the main-course dishes - rolled chicken breast stuffed with cheese and Italian herbs - and the dessert was a beautiful meringue with a fruit coulis.

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