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Shropshire farm joins forces with cookery school

Maynards Farm in Shrewsbury has teamed up with the Seasoned Cookery School to offer a range of different cookery courses.

The team at Seasoned already run courses throughout Staffordshire and Derbyshire, and are proud of their reputation for teaching students of all abilities.

The courses at Maynards will utilise the farm’s fantastic produce and will be delivered by a team of expert chefs. Topics will range from Best of British Meat to Indian Entertaining.

Seasoned’s founder, Clare Tetley, explained that all of their cooking courses are delivered by professionals in a fun and relaxed environment. The aim is to give people a fun day out at the same time as helping people to improve their cookery skills.

The cookery school was launched during 2010, and since then has taught more than a thousand people, from youngsters who have never cooked before to aspiring chefs that are aiming to perfect their dishes. The school primarily focuses on daily courses for keen amateurs and uses eight different chefs each with different passions and skills. The team consists of experts on subjects such as Indian cuisine, restaurant food, food smoking, baking and cake decorating.

In addition to the courses at Maynards Farm, Seasoned are also offering food education to schools and community groups in Shropshire. Recent activities have included,

  • Student survival courses for school leavers preparing for University,
  • Workshops with CLIC Sargent for cancer patients,
  • Respite courses for carers and
  • Fundraising and other fast food projects in schools.

The Seasoned team are passionate about food education and believe that teaching people the fundamentals of cookery can give them a skill that will last a lifetime.

A number of cookery courses are scheduled to take place over the coming months. These include Indian Entertaining, Food Smoking, One-Pot Wonders and Easy Entertaining. All will take place at Maynards Farm in the recently converted barn.

For further information please visit the cookery school’s website.

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Cook Books News

Why we should all take a Leith out of Prue’s book

Wow, Prue Leith is 72. I’m shocked.

For the last few years I’ve been a huge fan of The Great British Menu and, whilst not always agreeing with the judges (not that they often agree with each other), one thing I certainly would have argued the toss of a pancake over was that the rose between the two thorns was of pensionable age. Must be something about the South African sun in her native homeland, although she’s seen precious little of that whilst forging a career in cookery at all levels here in Europe for the last five decades.

Earlier this year, we honoured Oliver Peyton‘s achievements in the UK catering industry, although like Prue, he’s not a native of these shores; rather, he came here from Ireland before whipping up a storm making him qualificant for both his honour in the Queen’s birthday list and to leave his judgement beyond question on The Great British Menu panel.

If the gaunt Irishman’s assessment is felt to be not entirely accurate, there are few more qualified than Prue to call it into judgement – what a career in our industry she has had, seriously mismatched against many far less qualified who seem to have shot to fame on the small screen in recent times.

Okay, she may have started at the lower end of the corporate ladder, picking up her inaugural freelance catering gig whilst still a student at cookery school in the sixties. But the fact that she needed that one tiny opportunity to springboard her to success upon success thereafter is no surprise, in hindsight.

Relish: My Life On A Plate
Relish: My Life On A Plate
(Kindle Edition, Amazon)

She’s no one’s fool, as both Matthew and Oliver have found out on the show; but you only have to look beyond the cameras to appreciate the extent. Her association with food at educational level, as the head of School Fund Trust and the charitable campaigns she helps maintain on many fronts hosting children’s cookery classes around our septic isle and a non-profit eatery to name just two, are perhaps as accurate a reflection of her character as you’re likely to need. In her own words, the financial beneficiaries are unimportant in her activities – if she believes in a given project, she’s in, both feet first up to her waist and giving it her all.

The business woman materialises in her board memberships on both Slow Food UK and Orient Express hotels, not to mention past posts pioneering a catering business, cookery school (Leith’s School of Food & Wine), Michelin rated restaurant and having time to scribe the derived recipes into cookbooks. Oh, and those collections of haute cuisine are not her only dalliances into the world of publishing. Her autobiography has just been released in her native South Africa after being released here earlier this year, entitled Relish: My Life On A Plate, a publication sandwiched between five novels already on the bookshelves and prior to a trilogy she’s working on at present.

I suppose, when you look at a snapshot of her achievements like this, it’s neither a surprise that she’s in her seventies to have fitted it all in nor that she looks so good on it, with all of that juggling to keep her active for the last fifty years since arriving in France in her early twenties. And, yeah, perhaps picking up just a little knowhow about food along the way may have something to do with it, too…

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Cookery Class News

Infants and parents keen on cookery classes at Norfolk school

If there’s going to be a school curriculum that incorporates cookery classes for year one and two pupils, it wouldn’t surprise you to hear that the school is based in Delia Smith’s neck of the woods in Norfolk.

In an age where many young families have literally no idea how to cook from fresh ingredients after a generation has been subjected to ‘healthy’ ready meals, this can only be good news for the future of the country. And that’s not being over dramatic; obesity in the young and ignorance of culinary and nutritional values is a a growing problem that, if not addressed now, will have serious implications for future generations.

So why has this school, namely Costessey Infant School, accepted the gauntlet of allowing youngsters into the kitchen, then additionally inviting the parents along afterwards to sample what their little darlings have learnt in the cookery classes?

Let’s Get Cooking Lottery funding kick-started the project

Wednesday mornings at the school have never been the same since, in 2008, the school accepted National Lottery funding as part of the “Let’s Get Cooking” project in an attempt to correct the well-publicised deviance from the straight and narrow of children’s diets. But it’s not only the youngsters at school who benefit from the cookery courses.

According to head teacher Rosemary Kett, the cooking lessons undertaken by the pupils have a knock-on effect upon the parents, who may or may not fall into the category as outlined above. And it seems to be having the desired effect. The school also runs cookery classes after school hours, which are equally as popular and places are filled very quickly. As no one likes remembering what they learn at school, Costessey has also got its own cook book featuring many of the recipes that make up the cookery classes.

Over the four years that the classes have been running, hundreds of pupils have benefited from the experience of Mrs Kett and volunteers like Jill Lamb who regularly help out, indeed, like a lamb to the slaughter one would think. But not so.

As well as learning the basics of cooking and table manners it would appear that the lessons learnt are carried forth into junior school, too. Last year, Costessey Juniors won the Norfolk Healthy Schools award before this year achieving the national standard of the same accolade. Indeed, even if parents are unsure of what constitutes a healthy packed lunch, there are links to such information on their website, namely www.eatwell.gov.uk and www.food.gov.uk.

As all the above parties involved from Colman’s country are eager to make healthy eating such a large part of growing up, I suppose you could say they’re as keen as mustard. Mmm, let’s hope my webmaster doesn’t send me a dijon letter after that little classic, eh?

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Cookery Courses News

Vegetarian meals out – it’s all a matter of scale

Vegetarian Week was always likely to throw up a few contentious issues. Eating out is just one of the many that those who have chosen the vegetarian or vegan are hoping to highlight and change as we approach the halfway point of the week.

Last year a survey was conducted across the whole vegetarian nation (well, those who took part, at least) called The Big Veggie Survey – within its many questions was a section that looked at dining out, given that the popular belief is that, if there is one vegetarian in a group the options open to the party diminish rapidly. And the survey did little to disprove this theory, putting a price tag on what the catering industry, particularly the pub and restaurant sector, are missing out on in the way of vegetarian dining: £1.8bn.

All in all, vegetarians total spend on eating out is estimated at £2.5bn – the figure of £1.8bn comes from the fact that almost three quarters of all of those surveyed are completely dissatisfied with the menu options available to them when they dine out. This really needn’t be the case – with most renowned cookery schools, they run cookery courses designed by vegetarians for vegetarians. But something is getting lost in translation.

The hang up on fish is the key issue

The survey found that, within menus that highlight a vegetarian option, 85% of those offerings promote fish as being the main choice aside from your red or white meat dishes. The problem herein lies in the fact that only 3% of people who have chosen the veggie way of life actually eat our finned friends.

And this is not just a case of pubs and restaurants getting it wrong, either. Cafés and workplace canteens were likewise included in the survey and Liz O’Neill of the Vegetarian Society is worried that the people creating the menus and tagging them as an option for herbivores are so out of touch with the market they purport to serve that “vegetarian customers are right to be concerned.” You have to see her point – there is a big, no, huge marketplace out there for anyone who is interested in testing the water and can take the time out to really understand what the niche needs and can learn to cook vegetarian, irrespective of their own dietary tendencies.

At any given time, this website has five different cookery schools to choose from. Why not see if any of these here cookery courses we have on offer could kick-start your venture into this needy market place? If you don’t, someone else surely will.

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Cooking Courses News

Cookery courses now popular way of enteraining clients

Cooking courses are becoming an increasingly popular form of entertaining clients and staff with many businesses looking for an alternative to the more traditional activities such as golf, clay pigeon shooting and rugby.

The Cambridge Cookery School is one of many cookery schools that have seen a growth in demand. Accountants, Solicitors and Industrialists are all reaching for their chopping boards in an effort to improve business relationships.

Many in the industry accept that the growth in demand is due in no small part to the increasing popularity of cookery programmes on television.

Tine Roche, who is the founder of the Cambridge Cookery School, estimates that 60% of her revenue is now corporate. The sessions can be structured with either team building or entertainment in mind and level of competitiveness can be decided by the corporate host.

The cookery courses can be tailored to suit the needs of the corporate host.

The Edinburgh New Town Cookery School offers a team building class where the participants cook a three course dinner or lunch, which they then enjoy with a glass of wine in our the school’s dining room. The event usually takes around 3 ½ hours and can be booked in the evening or during the day.

The cookery school also organises sessions where wine is the central theme. This can take the form of Wine and Food Pairing Dinner or a Wine Tasting, with the expert knowledge of a wine tutor. The events follow a specific theme, for example, based on a grape type, time of year or specific country. Whisky Tasting can also be arranged with specialist tutors.

The Lavender House Cookery School in Norfolk has recently introduced Chocolate Workshops for corporate clients. These sessions include a chocolate demonstration followed by a hands-on workshop. Also included in the package are lunch, recipe sheets and chocolate truffles to take home.

For more information on corporate cooking courses please visit our website.

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Cookery Course Cookery School News

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.

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Cookery Courses London News

Cookery school team with Selfridges in un-shellfish display

With the odd exception, whereby cookery school’s come to you, to develop your culinary prowess you have to not only find the cookery courses you want but also make your own way there to develop the art. This weekend gone, Leiths changed all that by taking their cookery school on the road with a lesson in environmental issues as well as the kitchen.

Selfridges Food Halls are in the throws of promoting sustainable fisheries and have tagged their campaign ‘Project Ocean’, which pretty much leaves nothing to the imagination – fair play. And it was to the Oxford Street store that Leiths bundled up their cookery utensils and left the relative comfort of their Wendell Road home in London to set up stall on the famous outlet’s vast food floor.

Fishing from sustainable sources is becoming a key world environmental issue, with one report only last week suggesting that, by 2050, we will have depleted 90% of the ocean’s edible fish if we don’t start taking our responsibilities to our submarinal friends more seriously. With this in mind, Louisa and Helene, two renowned chefs from the cookery school, set about demonstrating fish and shellfish recipes to highlight just what can be achieved in the kitchen using ocean-going creatures from controlled areas.

There were plenty of shoppers willing to taste the recipes and the girls even managed to get around and inspect the offerings from other traders displaying their wares in the famous outlet’s food hall. The highlights for many interested parties were the recipes produced by the two chefs. And, let’s face it, to learn to cook fish – and their shell-encrusted cousins – is an art in itself. Two minutes too much and it’s burnt and tasteless; a little underdone or using slightly out-of-date produce and your meal-time guests are less likely to remember the hors d’oeuvres than the hors-spittle.

But the girls, drawing upon all of their cookery course experience, pulled it off a treat, using fish recipes that incorporated trout, vegetables and a drop of vino blanc ,for shellfish lovers, a potted dish using rice, prawns (and their stock) and herbs to prove that there’s more to our pink little friends than a plastic fork, polystyrene tray and drowning their taste with vinegar.

So please act now to help sustain and grow the oceans’ rapidly-depleting livestock; come 2050 and I’m in my eightieth year, I’m darned sure I’ll be needing all the cod-liver oil I can get. I just hope that there’s still a few cod left to keep me mobile. Thanks.

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Cookery School News

Cookery school lifts the lid on the restaurant trade

Many people dream of running their own restaurant, but with almost 70% of such businesses failing within the first 3 years, the reality can be somewhat different.

In an effort to ensure that would-be restaurateurs have the full facts before taking the plunge, The Richard Hughes Cookery School has launched a course aimed at those planning to open their own restaurant.

The course, which began last in June, includes subjects such as marketing, menu planning, service, sourcing suppliers and staffing. There is also be the opportunity to meet with other successful business people. The cookery course should appeal to those that are thinking about a change of career as well as those who think that their current business could be improved.

With over 30 years of experience Richard Hughes, is well placed to help others make to a success of their venture. However he is keen to ensure that would-be restaurateurs understand that running restaurant has got very little to do with cookery – the time spent in the kitchen can be a low as 10%. The course focuses on the fundamentals of how to run a restaurant and the impact of that this has on the lifestyles of those that run them.

The course also looks to build confidence but it should be recognised that there is no magic formula. Many people are attracted to the industry each year but many are unsuccessful because they fail to grasp the concept of turning food into profit. The market is tough with a wide range of competition.

The course lasts three days and will cost prospective students £550 per person.

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Cookery School News

French cookery school explores Scotland

Continental diners may soon be enjoying the taste of Scotland after the French cookery school, Lycée Hôtelier in Dinard, sent nine cookery students to explore the country and learn more about its chefs, products and producers.

The joint project was developed in association with Frédéric Berkmiller and his two Edinburgh based restaurants, L’Escargot Bleu and L’Escargot Blanc.

During their stay, the students travelled the breadth of Scotland meeting wholesale fishmongers, vegetable producers and cattle farmers, and visiting their premises.

They also had the chance to learn about the rich variety of Scottish produce, from fish and meat to dairy and vegetables.

The students also visited the kitchens of L’Escargot Blanc and L’Escargot. There was also the opportunity to visit Michelin-Star chef Tom Kitchin and discuss his passion for fresh produce and his saying: “From nature to plate”.

Mr Berkmiller believes that both Scotland and France have rich larders that are very similar and as a result it is the duty of chefs and restaurant to share knowledge and experience with youngsters wherever they may come from.

During their visit some of the trainee chefs were left in charge of the kitchens at L’Escargot Blanc and L’Escargot Bleu. The remaining members of the French team visited the Institut Français d’Ecosse in Edinburgh, to participate in a special Tastes of Brittany and Meet the Chefs afternoon of sweet and savoury crepes tasting.

The exchange project was arranged as part of a year of cultural exchange between Scotland and Brittany that was conceived by the Institut Francais d’Ecosse.

The project is built on partnership with cultural organisations in both countries and aims to strengthen the existing links to support and develop artistic creation in addition to promoting it at an international and national level.

The Lycée Hotelier cookery school will be hosting the return leg in October. This will be an opportunity for a number of Scottish cookery students to explore the gastronomic joys of Brittany.

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Cookery School News

Cookery school CEO earns national recognition

The CEO and founder of Ashburton Cooking School, has been identified among the United Kingdom’s 100 most influential females in the tourism, travel, leisure and hospitality industries.

Stella West-Harling, a leading member of the organic produce movement in the South West, has been included in the Top 100 list that was revealed at a exclusive event in London.

The list also includes prominent women such as Nigella Lawson, Prue Leith, Delia Smith, Jill Stein and Ruth Rogers.

Ms West-Harling was chosen in recognition of the huge work she has done to galvanise the various parts of the food and drink sector across Dartmoor by endorsing excellent quality, locally sourced produce and the importance of a healthy approach to life. She also received praise for her involvement in developing imaginative cookery courses at the award winning Ashburton Cookery School that she set up in 1992.

Since 2008, the Cookery School has been delivering cooking courses to many of the school cooks from across Cornwall and Devon on behalf of the School Food Trust. The Cookery School has also developed strong links with the Princes’ Trust where it seeks to encourage disadvantaged youngsters to consider develop a catering career.

Stella believes that her nomination acknowledges the relevance of this type of work with youngsters. She also feels it is essential that tomorrow’s consumers appreciate the importance of local and good healthy food: “When I was first started out, the organic food market was considered as slightly alternative; however it is now highly regarded.

Our cookery school is always keen to promote the attitudes of high quality and sustainable, locally sourced produce along with raising the standard of training quality for the next generation in the food industry of tomorrow.”