Cookery Course News

UK seeks comfort In biscuits

Biscuit sales have increased by more than 20% in the last 5 years according to a new study by market analysis firm Mintel.

Annual sales in 2010 were £2.2billion, with over 50% of the population admitting to appreciating a biscuit with their coffee or tea.

Biscuits are traditionally viewed as a comfort food that people opt for as an inexpensive treat when the more expensive forms of unwinding, such as a night out at the cinema are considered unaffordable.

The study also estimates that the UK market will continue to expand with forecasts predicting a further increase in sales of 15% by 2015.

The figures reveal that almost 90% of the 45 to 54 age band enjoys a biscuit with their tea. This figure is slightly lower for the 16 to 24 age band at 80%.

A spokesperson for Mintel explained the biscuit industry in the UK has profited from consumers reaching for their biscuit tins during the recession, however the inability to appeal to a discerning and younger customer base coupled with higher commodity are threatening the market.

The study also revealed the nation’s top 5 biscuits. Individually wrapped biscuits and half-coated varieties – such as chocolate hob knobs share joint 1st position in the list of the UK’s favourite sweet biscuits – over half of the population has purchased one or other in the last year.

Cookies are the 2nd most popular whilst cream biscuits are ranked third. Wholemeal or Sweetmeal biscuits are 4th most popular while tea biscuits take 5th place.

With sector sales of £468million the market is dominated by “healthier biscuits” such as the lower sugar and diet varieties. These account for a quarter of all sales with sales rising by 16% in the last 2 years.

For those interested in encouraging their children to make biscuits, The Kids Cookery School offers a specialist one day cookery course.

Cookery Course News

Where do chefs go to learn to cook? To the pub, of course!

It’s absolutely true. Many is the time when one of my own do-it-yourself cookery courses, even if it’s just a barbecue showing the women how to grill outdoors like only men can, has turned into nothing more than a knees-up: the alcohol becoming the subject for consumption and the lid closed on the barbie until all that lies beneath are the cindered remains to be thrown away the next day. The fact that chefs are also going to the pub to improve upon their culinary prowess makes me feel quite professional, although they no doubt take it all a little more seriously than I.

Okay, so that’s not entirely accurate. But it is the Stonegate Pub Company who are putting together a twelve-week cookery school for the cream of its crop of chefs, alongside hand-picked kitchen managers, to learn the intricacies of the kitchen.

The day release cookery course, officially tagged Chef School (a lot of thought went into that, eh?), is designed to develop chefs skills beyond that of the fixed menu so often found in your local. Having worked behind many a bar in my time (and propped up a few, too, mind), the majority of food is counted in in frozen bags, stock-taken in frozen bags and prepared in a microwave. This three-month long course however, which will culminate in an official dinner and presentation by the very chefs and kitchen managers attending it for the Stonegate Pub management team, takes a look beyond the standard fare of most pub grub menus.

Lessons in food and the kitchen environment will take the chefs to a whole new level. Aspects such as how to identify and classify fish, butchery, blending stock, soup and sauce from natural ingredients, expert knife skills to prepare these meals from scratch and never buying a loaf or packet pasta again will all be covered on the food side of the course.

But equally important in this day and age, with health and safety regulations, workers rights as they are and cash-conscious customers (and bank managers), workflow through the kitchen to improve efficiency and time and man management as well as the cost of the food the chefs prepare will also be explained.

The Stonegate Pub Company is rightfully proud of its Chef School, having had forty chefs graduate to date with a tremendous reaction from both staff and customers following the award. But that’s not entirely surprising as the cookery course incorporates the intuition of Kingsway College Westminster and Manchester’s Trafford College in conjunction with some of the biggest names in hostelry branding, Yates’ and Slug & Lettuce to name just two.

In the drive for the hospitality trade as a whole to set out its stall as a genuine opportunity for careers, not just a stop-gap job, this has got to be one of the better courses on the market. The chance to learn whilst on the job and pass that experience down the chain afterwards are both education for the employee and business acumen for the employer that you can’t shake a stick at. It really is everyone a winner.

Cookery Course

Eating fresh needn’t cost the earth with M value range

As with last week’s Vegetarian theme, there seems to be a bit of a theme running through this week’s cookery courses blog, too. Yesterday, we perused sending your dad back to school for a Father’s Day gift, and, lo and behold, parents in Coventry have already had a pop at it. Going back to school to learn to cook, that is, not sending your dad to Coventry.

As part of Morrisons M Saver Recipe Challenge program, where you get your recipe card and learn to cook from fresh ingredients from their value for money brand, parents of Coventry’s Park Hill Primary School were invited along to Tile Hill Wood School for not one but two feeding purposes.

First and foremost, the thirty parents who attended the special cookery course were ably abetted by the professional chefs who work with Morrisons to design and implement the range of meals and ingredients on offer as part of the scheme. With their whites on, the parents were given a reminder of the importance of getting as much nutrition from fresh ingredients into their children and, by opting for the M Saver range, it need not stretch the budget.

The other reasoning behind hosting the cookery class at the Tile Hill Wood venue is because the primary school from whence the parents came acts as the feeder school for the secondary school and language college, in turn, working in partnership with Coventry University. By opening up their kitchens, staff believed it was an unmissable opportunity to show the parents the facilities that will be availed to their offspring when the time comes to graduate up the educational ladder.

With professional and celebrity chefs getting more and more involved with what children eat whilst they’re at school, opportunities like this are essential to ensure that the work that goes on behind the scenes at education level are not wasted by the kids being fed an unhealthy diet once they get home.

By emphasising that cooking fresh needn’t cost the earth, in more ways than one, it is hoped that by ingraining the message into the parents, their children will pick up good habits to help bring down disease and obesity rife in the modernised world, today. If this is important to you, check out our cookery courses page and simply choose the class from our hand-picked selection of cookery schools that suits your needs best.

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Yorkshire cookery school wins tourism award

A Yorkshire farm that opened a new cookery school just 12 months ago has been awarded the Most Remarkable Newcomer at the East Yorkshire Tourism Awards.

The Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School in Southburn focuses on local produce and was established as part of farming diversification scheme.

The principal tutor at the cookery school, Ali Bilton, initially thought of establishing a school in York. However, this plan was changed following a series of conversations with JSR Farms; the country’s largest family owned farming business.

“JSR mentioned that they had premises that they thought would be a perfect site for a cookery school,” explained Ali.

“It means that there is a constant supply of quality local food for us to use in the kitchen.

“A recent course, Yorkshire Born & Bred, focused on demonstrating to students how you are able to make meals entirely with produce from the county. It proved so effective that we are planning to continue to run it again.”

Ali feels that the trend for television cookery shows has been motivating more and more people to cook, but that sometimes they give the appearance that cooking is much more difficult than it needs to be.

“I think that sometimes people are put off because they believe that almost everything has to be cooked to a michelin-star standard.

“Our focus is geared much more towards creating quick and easy meals, particularly for students.

The manager of the cookery school, Alison Johnson has worked with several farming businesses all over the county. She feels that the  accolade will provide the encouragement that will help the school move forward.

The school has installed brand new kitchen equipment and can accommodate ten cookery students at any one time.

All who attend a cookery course at Yorkshire Wolds are welcome to take home the food that they have cooked.

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 Course News

Cooking Courses Help Young People Reduce Waste

A new initiative featuring cookery courses has been launched in Loughborough to teach young people to cook great dishes using leftover food.

Sausage risotto, spaghetti bolognaise and pizzas are just a few of the meals that have been prepared by members of DC’s Youth Club as part of the project.

The project has been established by the Leicestershire Waste Partnership to help members of the local community establish cooking courses and promote the key messages of saving money and preventing food waste.

Barbara Walker, a local youth worker explained that the four week cookery course has been a really positive experience and everyone has really enjoyed making new dishes and sampling new foods. She commented that the training pack provided as part of the project was really easy to use.

A spokesman for the Leicestershire Waste Partnership explained that by participating in the sessionsthese youngsters have not just learnt important skills and produced tasty dishes, they are also now more aware of the way in which reducing waste can help to save money. Most people will be surprised how much money is wasted every year as a result of throwing away leftover food which could be eaten.

The project follows a number of successful cookery courses that were held last year by the partnership and the County Council as part of the Love Food Hate Waste promotion.

During these courses, over one hundred people learnt how to cook using leftover food. As a result they were able to save up to fifty pounds per month.

Anybody who is interested in delivering a cookery course in their community should contact [email protected] to receive training pack. Participants can receive assistance from the partnership in the form of cookery equipment, giveaways and general support.

Cookery Course News

New Italian restaurant and cookery course opens in Edinburgh

We bring you news of a one-off deal of a cookery course, today, in the capital of Scotland. That’s right, we’re heading off north of the border to a newly established Italian restaurant and cookery school situated on the East London Street/Broughton Street junction in the heart of Edinburgh.

The whole concept of the restaurant is to bring Neapolitan fare, via a menu that rotates on a weekly basis, to the ancient city of Edinburgh through the medium of double AA rosette winning Italian chef Rosario Satore. It his direct guidance and influence that you’ll be under if you opt for this very special two and a half hour cookery class and a very real peep into the world of traditional Italian cooking.

The class itself will teach you, step by step, how to cook a three course meal with the real flavour of Southern Italy bursting through locally sourced Scottish ingredients. The cookery course will comprise one starter, the main and a classic Italian dessert, which, once you’ve prepared, served and cooked, you will then take through into the restaurant proper to sit down and mull over your culinary prowess with the other budding chefs, of which there will be a maximum of twenty per individual cookery class.

This cookery school is not just about the food, with Rosario. Yes, the ingredients stay true to the original Italian recipes but it is the fire and the passion of Italy that the award-winning chef infuses into his classes and his dishes that will make this a cookery lesson to remember.

The restaurant itself, Locanda De Gusti, literally translated meaning ‘a place where you come to taste’, is already starting to grow a reputation, not just for its cookery courses but also for its every day fare. The rotational menu encourages variety as a key ingredient to its menu, alongside which there’s the opportunity to indulge in fine Italian wines.

There is a cellar bar to boot, Serendipity, which offers a sort of tapas menu alongside what we would call micro-brewery beers, but, being Italian, they are ‘crafted’ beers – always do things with that bit of extra style, don’t you think? If you’re passing through Edinburgh and looking for a reasonably priced place to eat, their two course meal offered as a lunchtime or early evening sitting Tuesday to Friday and lunchtime only on a Saturday will set you back a mere £9.95.

And equally reasonably-priced is the cookery course – for a limited time, it is only £26 for the two and a half hour lesson instead of the usual £60, bookable through itison. For full details of the restaurant schedule and a bit more of an insight into the chef, the menu and the restaurant’s theme and conception, visit

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Cookery Courses: The Perfect Boiled Egg

Welcome to the first in our series of basic cookery courses.

If you want to learn how to cook the perfect boiled egg then you’re going to want to read this article. Specifically we will discuss the tools you will need, the eggs themselves and the cooking method. After reading this article you should be able to impress your family and friends by cooking the perfect boiled egg.

Using the correct tools makes any job easier and boiling an egg is no exception. It’s really important that you ensure that the saucepan that you’re using isn’t too large. Your saucepan should be small enough to ensure that the egg doesn’t travel around too much whilst it’s cooking.

You will also need to make sure that the pan is deep enough to cover your egg with approximately one inch of water. This will help to make sure that the heat is equally distributed.

The most important component of the perfect boiled egg is the egg itself. The key is to use freshly laid eggs with the ideal age being between two and five days old.

If you are unsure of the exact age of an egg then there is a simple test that you can perform. Take the egg and place it in a bowl of cold water. If the egg sits on its side then it is fresh and good to use, if it stands on either one of its ends then its aged and probably shouldn’t be boiled, and if the egg floats then it’s old and should be thrown out.

Its also important to ensure that the egg is at room temperature. You should remove it from the fridge at least twenty minutes before you plan to cook it.

Once you have a suitable pan and a freshly laid egg then you can begin the cooking stage. The trick here is timing. You need to cover the egg with cold water and then bring it to the boil. At this stage you need to cover the pan and remove it from the heat.

Now comes the important part. You need to wait exactly three minutes before removing the egg from the pan and plunging it into a pan of cold water to stop the cooking process. You can then sit back and enjoy the fruits of you labour.

So there you a have it – a simple guide to cooking the perfect boiled egg. If you follow these simple steps then you really can’t go wrong.

Cookery Course News

Mõvenpick ice cream competition – chefs required

We’ve written about a couple of cookery courses for creating desserts on this blog over the last few months. Have any of you joined or participated in any of them? Or are you a natural born or already-educated masterchef when it comes to dreaming and serving up sweets after the main course? Specifically, ice cream?

Well if you do do ice cream well, and we’re talking state of the art creative flair with a deep understanding of natural ingredients, you may be interested in this little peach of a competition being hosted by Mõvenpick, the luxury ice cream makers from Switzerland, and The Graft Guild of Chefs. Not only are they on the lookout for a talented chef whose culinary prowess can bolster the launch of their new ice cream flavours, but they are positively urging contestants to enter the competition.

With the renowned dessert chefs from around the world expected to put their names forward, this may not be categorically classed as a cookery course per se, but even if you get through to the cook off yet don’t win, we’ll sure you’ll learn from the combined experience of competition and being in the company of professional chefs along the way. The first prize being an unforgettable weekend trip for two to the Swiss home of Mõvenpick.

The premise of the Mõvenpick Gourmet Dessert Chef of the Year cookery competition is to create something spectacular from Mõvenpick flavoured ice creams. The brand may not be so familiar on the average high street here in the UK, although they did win the Gold Award for their Grand Marnier flavour at the British Food Federation awards for Best New Dessert category in the frozen section, but that’s because this brand is pretty much exclusive as far as ice cream goes. A lot of their marketing and public awareness comes through travelling cooking demonstrations – you may think that a strange association with ice cream, but they do it in a Swiss style that I’ve seen no other ice cream creator exude.

The firm does have a retail side, but you’re more likely to find its recipes on sale in restaurants and boutiques in cities rather than your local supermarket. Created for sale in restaurants only, the brand has been around since 1948, with Nestlé buying the rights to its name almost ten years ago, in 2003; its philosophy of no artificial flavours or colouring remains to this day and everything about the brand, from its 2009 advertising campaign featuring a monochrome Rachel Clark contrasting against the vivid 1080HD colours of its ice creams to its smooth and elegant website, smacks of quality.

The two new flavours being promoted alongside the cookery competition are Fior di Latte and Apricot Sorbet, the latest Mõvenpick goût en vogue. A hint from Julia Jones, customer marketing head at Mõvenpick: the Swiss ice cream manufacturer continues its commitment to gastronomic excellence through creative innovation and natural resources; this competition is a chance for professional chefs to whip up an “irresistible gourmet dessert”. So, there you have it – is there an ice cream masterchef in you?

Oh, and there is the small matter of the runners up prize – a day at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons to partake in a patisserie and desserts full day cookery course.  What are you waiting for?

Cookery Course News

Don’t lose your head at this Paris cookery course

Today, we’re off around the world again with our cookery course offering; nowhere as exotic as the Blue Elephant in Thailand or as far off to discover our own heritage as Ontario. Instead, we look at a romantic cookery class for two, staged where passion beats strongest, in the heart of Paris.

And if booking a cookery course for two isn’t sweet enough a treat, then the sugar levels will genuinely rise when you tuck into your creations as this particular lesson in gourmet is all about desserts.

No nation quite does pastries like the French and what better place to learn this particular aspect of baking than at the Just Desserts cookery class under the expert tutelage of the company’s own gourmet chefs in their native home town. Drawing upon local recipes, traditional fare of every French menu since well before Marie Antoinette infamously advised the peasants to eat cake when the bread ran out prior to the French Revolution, the chefs will learn you to cook desserts like no one else, no matter what your existing level of culinary expertise.

The cookery course is designed to be fun, although the state of the art kitchens in which you’ll be taking the class will bring out the very best from that latent chef, lying dormant, just waiting to burst forth on such an impressive stage. Even the names of two of the desserts, Galettes des Rois et layered chocolat praline avec parfait cashew, will ignite the spark of culinary excellence that you are guaranteed to achieve under the gourmet’s watchful attendance.

And it doesn’t end there! Following your punt at pudding prowess, carrying on la chocolat theme, there is a hour and a half traverse across the French capital to take in visits to la chocolatier of your choosing or, if you’re mindful of too much cocoa finding its way to your hips, divert to la Boutique Macaron, instead.

The cookery classes cater for five year olds upwards and can hold up to a maximum of sixty budding chefs at a time, but the trip afterwards is all about the two of you and bookable for a maximum of two persons at a time. You will be picked up and returned to Metro Cadet (ligne 7) and there are choices of dates all through the year.

Full details are on the website, including prices, available timetables and a map of Paris so that you can plan your stay around this fabulous trip of a lifetime cookery course.