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Cookery Courses News

Out with the lentils – vegetarian cookery schools go gourmet

There are some immense resources online for vegetarians, these days; hardly surprising when almost two million Brits consider themselves to be ‘strictly vegetarian‘. But the ideology behind going meat-free is so out-dated for us carnivorous dinosaurs that we really are in the dark ages when it comes to our own conception of what makes up a vegetarian diet. Personally, I blame Neil the Hippy and his constant badgering of Rik, Mike and Viv to eat lentils – I surmise that for anyone whose life has begun again, we’re in the same boat.

And that is really the crux of this week’s National Vegetarian Week – not only trying to change our appreciation of a meat-free diet but also teaching vegetarians that the carnivores are not the enemy. As such, we look today at the strides made by the myriad vegetarian enterprises, as well as those on our own cookery courses page, making a difference online today, starting with an offline event (hey-ho): VegFest running, Friday 25th-Sunday 27th May inclusive.

If you’re able to get along to Bristol this weekend, the culmination of this week’s proceedings concludes at the tenth annual VegFest in a program that not only exhibits live cookery classes and demonstrations but also has three comedians (Andrew O’Neill Friday, Sarah Pascoe Saturday and Chris Stokes on Sunday) to remind us that there is a lighter side to vegetarianism and it’s not all about hangovers from the Summer of Love and proclamations that if we don’t stop eating meat, the world will come to an end, despite what Einstein predicted that survival on Earth will be directly benefited by the evolution of vegetarianism. Another good reason to go is that it’s free to the general public, opening Friday at 2pm, then 11am on the weekend days, concluding in all cases at 11pm.

If that’s not enough for you, or you can’t get along, let’s get one thing totally clear: the vegetarian diet is no longer a bowl of lentil soup with a few herbs dashed in; it has gone Gourmet. The Cordon Vert Cookery School, for one, has taken the art of sourcing and preparing ingredients and even developing their own stock of vegetarian chefs through in-house cookery courses, to new levels. Indeed, as National Vegetarian Week builds up to its climax, they have announced the winner of their Chef of the Future award, which we’ll run through in more detail, tomorrow.

There are plenty of other fine dining experiences to be had sans la viande up and down the country, but the real jewel in the UK vegetarian crown is Edinburgh, at least according to Alex Bourke, author of such tomes as Vegetarian Scotland and other travel-related ventures for veggies.

Vegetarian dining is well catered for in the Scottish capital; it even has its own meat-free bed and breakfast, Claymore Vegetarian Guesthouse, based in the heart of the city, just a hop skip and a jump from Princes Street. You can also find up to thirteen bespoke vegetarian restaurants and cafés, all of which sit nicely in and around Edinburgh’s many historical attractions and plentiful pubs and bars (well, it is Scotland).

So join me tomorrow when we take a look at what really is en-vogue veggie as we review the three-course recipe that carried off Cordon Vert Cookery School’s Chef of the Future title and all of the trimmings and prestige that the award entitles the winning chef to.

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Cookery Courses Cookery School

Edinburgh’s hidden cookery school gem

There must be something in the air in Edinburgh as its two most prolific football teams took to Hampden Park at the weekend to do battle for the Scottish F.A. Cup. Following the Jambo’s victory parade in the sun yesterday afternoon on the open-top bus, the rest of Scotland’s capital gets back to work, today, with thingstodoinedinburghtoday.com offering a cracking cookery course deal through Groupon for the Coulston Cookery School.

The bigger the deal you take out, quite simply, the more you save from their set price list of fine dining cookery classes. A single place entitles you to a 58% discount, two people will benefit from 60% off and, if you book a private session for up to ten people, the group will save almost two thirds, snapping up a whopping 63%, the prices coming in at £50, £95 and £450 respectively.

But there is more to the cookery school than just learning how to cook haute cuisine.

The Haddington rural estate in which the cookery school is set not only provides a venue for the private functions it hosts and idyllic atmosphere for cookery lessons, but its vast land beside the retreat has plenty of room to grow the vegetables used in the cookery classes. These sit well beside the other locally-sourced ingredients that all go in to making this a real adventure into the world of fine dining.

And for the savings, you won’t simply be thrust in at the deep end or wondering whether you’ve managed to achieve the high expectations set by one of Edinburgh’s most sought after cookery courses.

Prior to you getting your hands dirty (not literally, obviously), there is a meet and greet session over tea where you get to know the other students taking the class with you and an informal drop in by one of the chefs.

You then move ion to the kitchens themselves, where an initial demonstration will prime you in order that you can take on the three course meal challenge that the teachers, all master chefs themselves, will set you. Once you’re done and your creations are taken through to the dining room other master chefs and chefs of the future will sample your delights, appraising your efforts with critical eyes, nose and taste buds.

So if you fancy learning to cook in an estate that boasts 700 years of fine dining history or are simply heading off to Edinburgh and are looking for something to do other than the usual tourist ventures associated with Scotland’s capital city, the Coulston Cookery School seems to have it all wrapped up.

If Scotland’s a jaunt too far, don’t forget we have our own choice of classes on cookerycourses.co.uk.

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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 www.locandadegusti.com.

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Cookery Class News

Forget out-door team-building – go cooking!

Okay, we’ve all been there – you’re sitting at your desk, Friday afternoon envisioning that first froth-topped Stella Artois – and it lands: the e-mail from on high, just in time to ruin your weekend.

Not, perhaps, the weekend you’re planning directly after that first Belgian brew, but coming soon to a team-leader near you: the team-building weekend.

These e-mails have an inevitability – there is always something in the air, someone’s had a sniff of what the bosses have got cooking and you just know what’s coming’s going to leave a nasty aftertaste.

And for what? The chance to get muddy with people you can hardly bear working with, let alone give up your free time for and the added bonus of earache at home because that particular person your better half can’t stand’s going to have to go, too?

The next time you catch wind of this type of activity wafting through the ivory towers, pre-empt them. Cooking classes are now available for just this type of corporate event, such as the one run at The Cook School by Martin Wishart in Leith, near Edinburgh.

These bespoke cookery classes come in a variety of guises for small to medium-sized parties, whether you just want to get together to execute a small dinner party or go for a larger group with a real hands-on team building extravaganza.

And the best of it is, you get to eat your efforts – much better than coming home after three nights in a Welsh valley with nothing but blisters and a black mark against your name because you spoke out of turn around the pool table playing ‘Killer’ for shots – oh, yes – been there!

You really can tailor your one-off cookery course to suit your business needs.

All of The Cook School’s facilities are for hire; if you want to impress friends, relatives and work associates in a more controlled atmosphere, you can hire the designer private room with a demonstration of a variety of set Michelin-rated courses before serving, yourself.

But the guys and girls have put some real effort into offering team-building sessions for would-be cooks’ classes of 15-25 or demonstrations catering for 20 people. But if you want to keep it small, there’s a hands-on cookery class with personal tuition for eight people also available.

À la carte or horse before the cart – I’ll leave that up to you; click through to cookerycourses.co.uk home for the link to The Cook School to start preparing your corporate team-building day out in Edinburgh.