When it comes to flexing muscle in the kitchen, this writer is usually pretty happy with spreading a slab of butter onto a plate of Ryvitas and taking the cardboard delicacy at the breakfast bar. Luckily, the French Classics course at Sydney Cooking School is set up perfectly for lazy cooks – and there’s a fair whack of butter in the recipes for our meals, tarte Tatin and duck a l’orange. Head chef and teacher Brett Deverall takes care of a few steps in the process, such as preparing the quantities and laying out utensils required for the first dish. Working in pairs at gas stoves, Brett demonstrates each stage of the recipe sharing simple knife skills such as how to slice an orange to avoid any ugly white pith, and how to drain the fat from the pan without dropping the duck. Deverall, who once worked for chef Raymond Blanc, entertains us with stories of 100-hour working weeks in Paris as we finish off the two-hour lesson with a sophisticated, and very grown up, meal together at the table.