Cookery Course News

Le Gavroche – still the hippest eatery in London 45 years on

Even if you’ve never attended a cookery course in your life, do not consider yourself particularly to be a foodie or haven’t been to the capital for decades, you will have heard the name Le Gavroche touted in fine dining circles in magazines, television, even film.

Opened at the dawn of the summer of love in April ’67, when the media was still recovering from England winning the World Cup (some would say ‘still is‘) and the world was yet to be wowed by the greatest music festival ever at Woodstock, Le Gavroche had high expectations, even if London’s fine dining scene was only slightly more active than sedentary with the youth of the day experimenting in lentils and pulses rather than fine French cuisine.

However, Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison and Co may well be keeping the heaven-bound occupied (oh, yes they would – all sins would be forgiven for their unique style and music created whilst they were down here), Le Govrache is still standing, opening its doors in London for the 45th year.

The second generation of the Roux family are at the helm

And, still at its head are la famille Roux, whom many would argue were amongst the movement that started London’s mammoth turn around and entry onto the global map of haute cuisine. Gone were the cafés of the ‘Quadrophenia’ era (yes, I know the film was released in ’79, but you get the picture) and classy restaurants were springing up all over the capital in their place.

A check back on the restaurant’s history and you begin to see what an impact and influence the ground-breaking Michelin-starred eatery has had; from the biggest names associated with the silver screen and global dignitaries to our own royal family and prime ministers – all have had occasion to dine there in the past.

Michel Roux Jr., son of Albert and nephew of Michel, the two brothers who opened the famous restaurant in Chelsea before it found a new home in Mayfair, has been at the helm for more than twenty years. The cookery classes have been handed down the generation inhouse and, according to Michel Jr., it is not only the family’s passion for food, but also the manner in which the guests are treated that has been the backbone of Le Gavroche’s success.

Perfection is something to be strived for and that has led to this famous restaurant being a powerhouse and a beacon of all that is good about dining in the capital, whilst many a pretender has fallen by the wayside over the same period. It is no wonder, then, why, as Michel Jr. concluded, critics as well as customers have kept the restaurant a beloved treasure of the capital for forty five years.

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Cookery School News

Sustainable fish competition launched by renowned chef

Top restaurateur, cookery school proprieter and world renowned chef, Raymond Blanc has launched a new contest to identify the most innovative and forward-thinking user of sustainable fish.

The competition is aimed at restaurants or caterers and is the result of a partnership between Raymond, the City of London Corporation, the Sustainable Fish City project, Sea Web Seafood Choices and the Fishmongers Company.

Raymond is the owner and chef at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons restaurant in Oxfordshire. He was born in France and like many of his compatriots he is a huge fan of seafood and fish. As a result, they feature in many of his dishes and he is a keen supporter of the recent sustainability campaign.

During the launch of the competition Raymond expressed his belief that good ethics ought to be fundamental to all businesses. He believes that the competition will give caterers and restaurateurs the chance to demonstrate what they are doing to help protect the nation’s marine resources.

Entrants will be expected to demonstrate a real passion for sustainable fish and have clear rules about what they will serve. It is hoped that as well as receiving their rightful recognition the successful entrants will also help to inspire others.

London based Indian restaurant Cafe Spice Namaste won the award last year. Head chef and owner Cyrus Todiwala also won the award for Leadership in Sustainability. Cyrus explained that he was delighted to win last year not least because the awards helped to highlight the beliefs which underpin his business.

Cyrus is pleased that the focus this year will be on fish. He believes that by using sustainable seafood, restaurants will be doing their bit in helping to prevent over fishing in our seas.

The campaign for sustainable fish won a notable victory recently, to read more please click here.

Cooking Courses

Restaurant joins forces with college to offer Indian cookery courses

Indian restaurant Mai’da has joined forces with Blackburn College to offer cookery courses aimed at tackling the shortage of Indian chefs in the area.

The recent tightening of immigration laws and the subsequent struggle to recruit chefs has forced many Indian restaurants across the country to focus on training UK based chefs in the art of Indian cookery.

The college has worked closely with Mohammad Ali, the owner of Mai da, to develop a year-long full-time NVQ Level 2 Diploma in Professional Cookery.

The course will focus and key techniques such as tandoori cooking, spice blending, roti making and marinating as well as food hygiene. The students will also work in the Mai do kitchen whilst being supervised by the restaurant’s head chef.

The course currently has six students but if it proves successful, both the restaurant and the college would hope to expand the programme.

Mr Ali is the owner of successful restaurants in both Bombay and London and also supplies Indian food to Singapore and Emirates airlines.

He is really pleased to be working with Blackburn College at the forefront of developing Indian cookery courses in the UK.

Mr Ali explained that the current government’s policy of reducing the number of skilled workers entering the UK has been a major cause of shortage of Indian chefs.

He also believes that Asian parents are steering their children away from the food industry and towards professions such as law, accountancy and medicine.

A spokesman for Blackburn College explained that the trainee chefs have so far demonstrated a high level of motivation and a real eagerness to learn. The students who successfully complete the course will be awarded with a diploma that will hopefully give them a real sense of achievement and pride.

Cook Books News

GCU Cook and Eat initiative exemplifies Glasgow community

The Glasgow Cookery Book – a hundred years old and now the basis of a healthy-eating program for families in the Drumchapel region of Scotland’s second city.

Not that the Scots knew how to eat healthier a hundred years ago, but a designated portion of the proceeds from the sale of the centenary edition of the book are being funnelled into Glasgow Caledonian University, which they are then taking to the Drumchapel community in the form of cookery courses, a catchment zone of the Glasgow Corporation’s overspill and a legacy of rebuilding in the city in the 1950’s.

The GCU Campus plays host to Caledonian Club’s healthy eating project tagged ‘Cook and Eat’ (to the point, you have to say) and will open its doors to Cloan Nursery children’s parents to partake in the cookery courses the Human Nutrition and Dietetics students, their mentors and the GCU staff have put together from their share of the profits of The Glasgow Cookery Book.

It is hoped that the cookery classes will not only spread the word about healthy eating for what the children bring to school in their lunch boxes but also what the parents can cook up once they’re back home. The Caledonian Club is the University’s outreach program into the community beyond the campus, for which it has won awards for encouraging (and getting) engagement and participation from the surrounding populace.

All aspects of cookery will be covered, including hygiene, budget and nutrition

The initial cookery classes, which will take the form of workshops, will be instructive not just in cooking, but also food hygiene, eating healthily within a budget and how to maximise nutrition in the lunchbox. The secondary aim of the community-related initiative will be cookery courses in preparing similarly healthy meals from scratch, rather than pay over the odds for pre-boxed ready-meals, devoid of much of the nutrition that cooking from the base ingredients delivers and worse, often filled with fillers and preservatives, especially those tagged as ‘healthy eating’ alternatives.

Once the parents have been put through their paces by the GCU students, their children will be invited to take part in the final cookery class in the hope that they will start to value nutrition from an early age and will take that through with them into later life.

This is a real story about how, by helping the community beyond the walls of education, the community gives back to the university, which prior to 1993 was actually two schools, Glasgow Poly and The Queens College. The £4,000 raised to fund the Cook and Eat project came from a share of the iconic cook book but also from alumni and friends of the GCU, some who have been part of The Caledonian Club themselves.

It is very much a community venture in the heart of the housing estate for the locals within. A fantastic example of symbiotic existence when all too often today’s attitude is every man for himself. We wish the venture every success and hope both the message and the aim of the cookery course serves to inspire others to do the same.

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Cookery Class News

Marco Pierre White sets out on Knorr-tical world cruise

We have written before about Marco Pierre White and his amazing rise to fame as a teenager, through to his hands-on apprenticeship to the renowned chef we know and love from the reality cooking shows such as Hell’s Kitchen and The Chopping Board to Australian Masterchef, whereupon he set his own challenge.

The fifty-year-old chef, more recently prominent on our screens promoting Knorr stock cubes, is to go on a world tour giving cookery courses on the same, teaching budding chefs across the planet how to integrate them into their own recipes.

The father of four, who famously renounced his three Michelin-star awards when he gave up the nitty-gritty of cookery in the very practical sense as a restaurateur – despite being the youngest ever chef to get a hat-trick of said awards – jets off to Singapore for the first three day stint. The trip will serve a dual purpose: promoting the stock cubes and unveiling the brand new Chefmanship Centre, brought to us by Unilever Food Solutions’.

From there, he will also be appearing at the World Gourmet Summit where he will be giving live cookery demonstrations using the stock cubes as the base of his own recipes. It really should be a treat as Pierre White will also be including in the live cookery class how other herbs and spices can be used to compliment or counteract the tantalising tastes that the Knorr cubes and cooking sauces deliver.

Be inventive and creative in the kitchen to create your signature dish

This is a theory that the young Michelin man thinks sets good chefs apart; having had such successes in the past, who are we to argue? He truly believes that chefs need to get ‘inventive and creative’ in the kitchen to give their dishes that distinct signature that sets them apart, yet hold on to the nature of the meal they are preparing without compromising their own precarious position when meddling with the classics, especially if things go horribly wrong.

It’s for this reason cookery courses are so important – you may think you have a dish licked, but without advise of experience, how do you know if you’ve been successful?  Well, apart from licked dishes, of course.

Someone else who has enjoyed success thanks to Knorr is Peter Joyner, Elior UK’s food development director. He recently came first from five in the UK division of Knorr’s recipe competition, Blue Dragon. His experience in the Far East will be altogether different as, rather than host the cookery courses, he will be a student in Bangkok and Phuket (hard life these chefs have got) as he travels to Thailand next month to indulge of masterclasses of the highest order to help develop his own culinary prowess.

Pierre White will return to Australia after his jaunt to MasterChef last year, but this time his sole intention is to continue to promote the Knorr stock cubes and not, this time, to see what the best chefs from down under can do for one of his cooking lesson challenges.

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Cooking Courses News

Specialist cooking courses: bread making courses

Bread is amongst the oldest of our prepared foods with evidence to suggest that Europeans were baking it around 30,000 years ago.

It is eaten throughout the world and is probably one of the most satisfying foods to prepare and cook – there are few things that beat the smell and taste of freshly baked bread.

With its enduring popularity it is easy to understand why so many people want to make their own. For those looking for improve their bread baking skills there are numerous cooking courses throughout the United Kingdom.

There are a variety of different providers but, in our view, the following are amongst the best.

Nottingham, The Manor School of Fine Cuisine

The Manor School of Fine Cuisine was founded in 1987 and offers visitors a wide range of cookery courses. It is based in the Nottingham School of Cookery and is proud of its friendly, informal and relaxed learning environment.

The cookery school places a strong emphasis on food provenance and makes excellent use of the fantastic produce available locally.

The one-day bread making course aims to demonstrate how simple and rewarding it can be to make your own bread. It will provide students with the skills to enable them to make fantastic breads such as Irish soda bread, organic granary loaves and focaccia.

The day will begin with some fundamental bread techniques before progressing onto bread shaping and more advanced doughs later in the day.

Bath, The Bertinet Kitchen Cookery School

The award-winning cookery school was opened in 2005 by French baker and chef, Richard Bertinet. It offers specialist bread-making and baking courses for professionals and amateurs alike as well as a wide range of cooking courses for food enthusiasts of all abilities.

If you’re really serious about bread then the five day bread-making course may be for you. The week long course will be taught by Richard Bertinet and will begin with an introduction to bread making on day one. This will be followed by Italian breads, French breads, sweet & dark and slowdoughs, and sourdoughs on day’s two to five.

The course will include lunch on each day, all ingredients and materials and a copy of Richard’s acclaimed book – ‘Crust’.


Study reveals many people start a new diet every month

According a recent study of two thousand consumers, twenty two per cent of the adult population in the UK begin a new diet every month with more than a third choosing low calorie items during their weekly shop.

The study by Seven Seas, also found that forty three per cent of women regularly buy low calorie items despite the fact that two thirds believe that the pressure to lose weight is too much.

Fifty per cent of mothers questioned confirmed that their food purchases are often influenced by the wishes of their children whilst thirty per cent admitted to using unhealthy food to reward their children for good behaviour.

Around sixty per cent of those questioned claimed to eat the recommended number of five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, suggesting that forty per cent miss out.

These proportions vary significantly for the consumer age groups. Around seventy five per cent of people aged over sixty five consume the recommended number of portions whilst this figure drops to twenty five per cent for those between sixteen and twenty four.

Overall seventy per cent of people confirmed that they would really like to improve their diet but many claimed that they don’t have the time.

The study also found that many people believe that there are too many conflicting messages concerning which types of food are healthy. Experts are concerned that whilst people are be dieting they may not be eating healthily.

A nutritionist who worked on the report explained that whilst television schedules and magazines are full of food, recipes and celebrity chefs, our diets are losing balance and this is a real concern.

Whilst it’s important to understand the intake of calories, this mustn’t interfere with eating a varied and balanced diet, which is rich in minerals, vitamins and key fatty acids.

Cookery schools thoughout the UK  offer a range healthy cookery courses aimed at helping students improve their diet.

Cookery School News

Have you got what it takes to teach cookery courses?

Never let it be said that we here at don’t bring you a bit of everything from around the kitchens of the UK. Today, we venture into something new – not that we’re going to make a habit of this, but it may appeal to some of our readership – and that is a cookery school job in the offing!

That’s right. The guys and gals down at Ashburton Cookery School are looking for a chef to work five days per week in their ‘teaching kitchen environment’. Wow, what an opportunity! For those of you who read our regular cookery course posts and have often thought in the past: “Huh, I can do better than that!”, well, here’s your chance to prove it.

Okay, the fact that I don’t even know how to make a Black Forest Ice Cream sort of puts me out of the running, but I’m darned sure some of you out there could make a go of it. I’ll not announce the details of the job, because we have nought to do wi’it, really, but I will provide a link to this fantastic cookery course chef opportunity at the bottom of the article.

The Ashburton Cookery School is located in Devon, TQ13 – if that wasn’t enough on its own to tempt an experienced chef from the Midlands, say, to pack up their condiments, certificates and implements and head of down towards the English Riviera, I don’t know what is – and, as well as teaching chefs how to teach others to cook in twelve-eighteen months time, there is an intense cookery course of your own to go through before you reach that lofty accolade.

The job sounds challenging, as well as exciting. Accepting that you have an inherent knowledge of the commercial kitchen, which is the first necessity of the job, you’d then be expected to organise your own timetable to assist the other chefs, all the while picking up your own tips and developing your own technique to enable you to devise cookery courses for up to sixteen pupils at a time, deliverable at some point between Spring and Autumn 2013.

With regards to suitability for the role, an ability to work under your own steam, utilising past experience to drive initiative is another ‘must have’, given the fast pace and challenging nature of the role and its environment, should you be successful. Ideally, coming from a strong catering background and with recognised Sous/Junior Sous experience/qualification, the candidate should be open minded and up for fresh challenges.

For more details about the job, including salary, hours and more specific cookery school location details, check out the ad at: Good luck, don’t hang around and do let us know how you get on!


New fast food outlets may be banned near Wrexham schools

Councillors in Wrexham are considering proposals to establish exclusion zones of 400m around local schools to prevent new fast food outlets from opening.

The planning constraint has been recommended to support efforts to tackle childhood obesity and improve eating habits.

Councillors are also advising schools to ensure that pupils are kept on site at lunchtime and encouraged to eat healthy schools dinners.

Under current rules the individual school is able to decide if pupils are allowed to leave site during lunchtime. However, with figures suggesting that 25% of the county’s school children are obese, the council is keen to encourage healthy eating habits.

A spokesman for the council explained that the proposed exclusion zone would only apply to new fast food outlets that are being proposed.

The council have acknowledged that they may need to exercise some degree of flexibility where fast food outlets are keen to secure town centre locations which may fall within the 400m exclusion zone.

The council believes that there has been a significant improvement in the food that is now provided in the county’s schools.

The council has worked with local health organisations to produce a new planning document which aims to guide new fast food outlets to the most appropriate sites.

These will be sites that balance the recognised need and benefits that these outlets can bring to shopping centres and communities, with the need to minimise the associated impacts such as public health issues, smells, parking and noise.

If the scheme is approved Councillors have said that they will refuse proposed new fast food outlets within the exclusion zone and will instead direct them towards the district and town centre shopping centres.

Cooking Courses News

Hostel residents receive cookery courses

Residents at the Salvation Army hostel in Newcastle have been receiving cookery courses as part of a community initiative backed by Jamie Oliver.

The ten week course has been provided by staff from East End Health and has focus edon teaching the residents the fundamentals of how to cook meals for themselves.

The staff from East End Health have all been on the training courses at the Ministry of Food to enable them to teach simple cookery skills to people who are looking to create meals on a tight budget.

One of the community food trainers explained that the team visit places such as schools, hostels and community centers to teach pensioners, single mums, youngsters and anybody else who is interested, the fundamental skills required to prepare meals for themselves.

East End Health are the only organisation that deliver the Ministry of Food cooking courses in the area and they’re the only orgaisation in the country that provides the training using an outreach model.

One resident, who has been living at the Salvation Army hostel since the spring, was quick to acknowledge the success of the initiative. He explained that as well as enjoying the cookery course, he has learned a great deal and will hopefully have the opportunity to put his knowledge into practice before too long. Another long term resident admitted to finding the course ‘quite relaxing’.

Residents who successfully complete the course will be presented with a certificate which should improve their chances of securing future employment.

A spokesman for the Salvation Army was also pleased with the impact that the cooking courses had made. He explained that they have been really popular with the residents who are learning life skills that they will find really useful when they leave the hostel.