Cookery Courses News

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Do you know what we’re missing here on

It’s something so blindingly obvious but, in our urge to bring you the best news and trends from the world of food, fine dining and, more importantly where to go and learn to cook it, we’ve not brought a single recipe to you in all of that time.

Yes, we may have pontificated about the strides being made in the hospitality trade to overhaul the restaurant and pub trade menus to incorporate modern thinking about what’s healthy and their attempts to deliver just that.

We may have raved about the number of vegetarian cookery courses and the rise in the number of eateries where you can now go and be sure that the vegetables have not been prepared on the same kitchen work surface as a slab of meat.

In more recent times our focus on food recycling and the work that featured not-for-profit organisations like FoodCycle are doing to give young people experience of working in teams, learning to cook using fresh ingredients and fight food poverty in needy communities has received welcome comments from our readership.

And, of course, no decent site about food would overlook the struggle the Western World is fighting against obesity, derived from generations opting for a Big Mac, Kentucky or microwaved ‘healthy’ meal instead of preparing their own lunches from fresh ingredients.

What we’ve not done, in all this time, is offer recipes of our own – Lord knows, there are enough of them out there for us to adapt to our own special theme.

But what many recipes don’t do is give you the calorific and nutritional breakdown of what goes into each meal Yes, they give you the prep time, ingredients and method, but not a lot about what good the meal does you.

So don’t be surprised to find a few quick, easy recipes popping up between our news articles, starting tomorrow with an Aldo Zilli classic.

See you then.

oh – and a big p.s. – if there are any classics that you would like to see covered that you have cooked time and again or would like to try but you are not sure about what the meal constitutes in the way of calories, nutrition or how far they go towards your five-a-day, please feel free to drop a line in the comment box, below, and we will endeavour to bring you a recipe with the break-down of nutrition to go alongside.

Food and Ingredients News

Oliver Peyton OBE – restaurateur, entrepreneur, gentleman

To many of us, Oliver Peyton is the often overly-critical judge on the increasingly-popular TV show, The Great British Menu. But he’s much more to the hospitality industry than that, a fact that has been recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list for this year with the Irish-born entrepreneur being awarded an OBE for his services to an industry that, by his own admission, has served him well, too.

His UK career started not so much in cookery trade as the critic and restaurateur we know of today, but in a the far-removed vein of the same industry of running nightclubs. In the eighties, when he’d have not been so old himself, he ran both Brighton’s The Can nightclub and RAW in the capital.

It seemed a natural springboard then, once he’d dipped his entrepreneurial toe into the drinks supply consumer-end of the market, to step up a level and import beverages for resale onto others within the trade. His distribution and promotions network is accredited with bringing both Sapporo, the Japanese beer named after the city in which it originated and a spirit that needs no introduction, Absolut Vodka.

In the nineties, Peyton’s career emigrated from wet sales to dry as he opened the Atlantic Bar & Grill in London’s West End, his first restaurant (closed 2005). During his time there, he latched onto the notion that the world was about to begin being conscious of from where its food was sourced and the effect upon the planet that the food we ate had. The result was St James’ Park’s ‘Inn The Park’, a restaurant recognised for both its original architecture and its eco-friendly values.

Peyton and Byrne, the partnership of which Oliver is both Founder and Chairman of, are now the leading lights in providing open-air dining experiences, a trait all too familiar with anyone who watches The Great British Menu. After several regional heats, four chefs are chosen to invent, prepare and deliver in feast-sized quantities the dish of their creating to an open-air extravaganza for whichever cause is the beneficiary of that season’s show.

But the tall, gaunt Irishman with incisive wit does not stop at bringing the best out of the nation’s chefs. The Peyton & Byrne brand owns bakeries and cafes and Peyton Events is his own foray into providing exclusive dining facilities to some of London’s finest establishments. In typical fashion, when asked of his reaction to be awarded such a special accolade, he said it was ‘the icing on the cake’ to his wonderful career in an industry to which he is both indebted and that owes him a great debt of gratitude for his foresight and services to it, too.

Food and Ingredients News

Unilever to instigate UK healthy eating out campaign

Although the UK is still officially a fair way behind the U.S. in the obesity stakes, our rise in overweight children and adults alike is very much a cause for concern. As things stand, a quarter of our adult population are clinically obese – compare that with one report that suggests that by as soon as the year 2030 90% of Americans will top the scales over and above regulatory guidelines, and you see just how bad the problem is.

Although celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver have tried to instil healthy eating practise through school menus, little will change until one of the global conglomerates jump ship and decides it really is time to start educating the world that ‘we are what we eat’ by example. And as they don’t come much bigger than Unilever, we may well be at the dawn of a bright new day in nutrition for healthy living.

Lisa Faulkner, Celebrity Masterchef winner, has been chosen to spearhead the Unilever Food Solutions Ambu-lunch campaign. The initiative has been launched to cut half a billion calories from the UK’s eat-out menus. In theory, they have deduced that by slashing just 24 calories per meal will go a long way to resolving the obesity issue.

As such, Lisa Faulkner will be out and about in the Ambu-lunch itself, starting with the launch of its healthy eating campaign outside the Houses of Parliament (where it is rumoured the Secretary for Health has been invited to hop on board the pimped up ambulance) before setting off around the country driving home the campaign’s message to eateries, catering colleges and cookery courses.

Choosing Lisa Faulkner, a veritable champion of the healthy eating cause, was a stroke of genius by Unilever, a move instigated by their most up-to-date World Menu Report 3 that suggests over fifty percent of consumers crave healthier options on the pub and restaurant menus across the nation.

The report, tagged ‘Seductive Nutrition’, revealed exactly what improvements customers want to see. The answers were not only an eye-opener as to how clued up customers are, but also by how far the hospitality trade was second-guessing – and missing – its target audience’s tastes. In descending order, here’s what the UK public want to see more of on their menus (a must-see for all cookery schools who are looking for their next promotions):
• A wider choice and greater serving of vegetables
• Portion control adjusted down to recommended calorific sizes
• Less fat used in cooking and on served meat (now, that’s bad, see – everybody needs good fat – that’s where media have blinded the market it seeks to control)
• Fresh ingredients over frozen
• A reduction of calories (hence the launch of Ambu-lunch, one would suggest)
• And finally, grilled food over fried

In an attempt to bolster interest, chefs who sign up for the deal have access to all sorts of online information produced by Unilever, like healthier options for individual ingredients, calorific calculators and portion sizing to name a few, all designed so that taste isn’t impacted. No doubt, healthy eating in the UK just took one giant leap in the right direction.

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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 Courses News

Hosptality and Tourism Summit announces inaugural event

In recent times, there have been many attempts to bring the hospitality trade our of the dark. Innovative training schemes in management, front of house and cookery courses for budding chefs by breweries and hotel chains alike have adapted their learning portals to be accessible through a medium that today’s school leavers can communicate with.

In another huge step to bring the industry to the fore, The British Hospitality Association is preparing itself for the inaugural Tourism and Hospitality Summit in a couple of days time.

The estimated number of jobs in the sector is put at around two and a half million, contributing more than £30bn towards the UK’s GDP. However, many still see roles in hospitality as a ‘job’ rather than a career, especially within the licensing trade. One of the aspects of the summit will be to highlight the virtues of the sector and how it can be grown to an extent that it becomes an attractive proposition for job seekers.

There will be a whole host of public figures at the summit, which is being held at the Intercontinental on London’s Park Lane on Friday (June first). Stars from the field of sport Gavin Hastings, Matt Dawson and Dame Kelly Holmes have put their names down to attend. Ably assisting and perhaps mediating the discussions will be UN World Tourism Organisation’s Taleb Rifai.

The CEO of the The British Hospitality Association, Ufi Ibrahim, recognises the place in the economy of tourism, reporting it to be the country’s third largest export product.

The main theme, and to set a precedent for the future, will be to investigate the link between tourism and hospitality. Obviously, it’s pointless attracting people to the country only to offer them sub-standard service, hospitality and dining experiences.  Any business knows that growth comes through providing good service; if we can’t do that, the industry simply stagnates.

From there, it is hoped that a correlation between the two will have a platform to build upon, creating more jobs within the sector and growing expectations to a recognised and expected standard for the future of both industries.

If you’ve often fancied a crack at the hospitality trade with a view to perhaps setting out on your own, why not try one of the hand-picked cookery courses we have on our home page? Especially this summer, when tourism and celebration will be at a high as the UK hosts the Olympics and Jubilee, thousands from all across the world expected to flock to our shores. There will be plenty of mouths to feed, that’s for sure.
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Cookery Courses News

Greene King launches on-line courses for hospitality

Having worked behind many a pub bar in my time, or ‘front of house’ as the title goes these days instead of barman, as much as the social aspect of the job was second to none (and the free beer came in very handy on darts night, too) it has always been one of those jobs that learning to pull a pint was about as far as any tuition got.  And the pay was nothing to write home about, either, when you consider the unsociable hours front of house staff – and kitchen staff, nowadays – put in. If that doesn’t contradict the opening line.

This is obviously an area Greene King have recognised by launching their own eight module e-learning course, available for their staff, licensed managers and tenants. Although these courses are not free (show me a cookery course that is, with everyone wanting to learn to cook at home, these days) they are very reasonably priced at £15 a pop.

Are Greene King missing a trick?

Speaking about the e-learning courses launch, which covers everything from food safety level 2 to bar management, Simon Longbottom, MD for Greene King Pub Partners, although recognising the fact that all levels of staff working within their corporation will benefit from the online wet and dry sale tutelage, which encompasses drink, management, customer service and kitchen courses taught to nationally recognised qualification levels, it would seem that the medium of online training has been aimed at developing 17-30 year olds, who have grown up interactively learning in this manner.

What I can’t help feel, and have commented as such on the eatoutmagazine guide from whence the original article came to notice, is that Greene King has an opportunity to open up its doors to the hospitality sector as a whole; as the only entry to their food and drink courses are through their private portal,, they are not availing themselves of the latent talent that exists within the pub and hotel retail sector generally.

One of the problems pubs have traditionally had, as well as the pressure of actually keeping their businesses afloat with the ridiculous taxation levels on wet-sale product, is staff retention.

I recall (just about) when I first officially worked behind a bar back in the summer of ’88, even your tax code changed so that you were paying duty on your tips, whether you were allowed to keep them or not.  That’s just one example of why staff see bar work as a part-time gig, but there are many, many others.

Food and drink courses could be so much more

Greene King have the chance to attract staff who genuinely want to progress in the hospitality industry, not just earn a few extra quid a week for a bit of pocket money, as the majority of barstaff front of house staff do. In order to do that, it should consider opening up its doors to willing third parties, even if it does charge a little extra for this additional service.

Not only will the food and drink courses be a development tool for its own staff but also provide a catchment net for the whole industry to serve as a vehicle to really put them ahead of the rest of the field. As an employer, they could not only reward staff as they go through the list of e-courses but also give staff an incentive to remain under their employ, making Greene King’s outgoings work doubly hard. This will also attract the cream of the crop from other industry sectors, turning this project into a true masterclass, rather than modules that staff might opt to take if they can be bothered or afford it.

That’s it – glad I got that off my chest. Thank you for listening.

p.s. – if Greene King do adopt this and want to thank me for pointing out, they can send me my commission cheque via the web-master here at, thank you.