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.

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.

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.


Report suggests that British tastes are changing

A new study by Walkers has revealed that eighty per cent of people in Britain are increasingly looking to cuisines from around the world to add spice to their mealtimes.

Researchers questioned more than two thousand people and found that the nation’s tastes are changing with people becoming braver in their culinary choices and casting their net wider in their search for fantastic food.

People regularly enjoy food from Africa (18%), Latin America (21%) and Japan (35%) both at home and in restaurants.

Further figures reveal that over forty per cent of people add either chilli or spices to their meals at least once every week. In addition, ten per cent of people admitted to adding extra heat to their food at least once every day.

Around three in ten claimed that their enjoyment of spicy food increases as they get older. Whist fourteen per cent of people questioned claimed that they are addicted to adding chilli to spice to their meals and without it food tastes bland.

People in Northern Ireland were most likely to choose adventurous and spicy food with around thirty five per cent acknowledging their enjoyment. They were closely followed by spice lovers in the North West and East Anglia, with proportions of thirty three per cent and thirty two per cent, respectively.

In response to these figures Walkers have launched two new varieties of their Sensations range of crisps. The two new flavours of Mexican sweet chipotle and smoked Monterray chill with goats’ cheese have been inspired by Latin America and join classics such as roast chicken and thyme and Thai sweet chilli.

A spokeswoman for Walkers explained that the British have a great passion for food so it’s fantastic to see that they are embracing spicy and exotic flavours.

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.

Cookery Courses News

New Research Suggests That Consumers Are Returning To Good Value Pub Food

Whilst traditional restaurants continue to struggle to attract customers in today’s difficult economic climate, new figures suggest that pubs are bucking this trend and are experiencing in increase in the number of customers that eat out.

The study, by market research firm, The NPD Group, is based on year on year growth figures from the last six months. The figures suggest that the recovery has been led by leading branded operators such as Harvester and Weatherspoons.

The research established that pubs that serve food are able to capitalise on longer opening times by serving food throughout the day. Many now offer breakfast and morning coffee in addition to the more traditional lunch and dinner.

The study also found that value is a key factor in the popularity of food service in pubs. With early evening and breakfast offers pubs are generally perceived to offer a value for money service which is valued by customers.

Branded pubs have seen a 4% increase in customer numbers in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same point last year. Unbranded pubs have been unable to match such strong performance.

During the same period the pub industry has seen a 2.2% growth in numbers with a 1.4% increase in average spend, whist the restaurant industry has experienced a 4.4% fall in its customer numbers.

The average spend per person in a pub during the last year was almost £8, compared to £9.50 for a full restaurant.

The figures also suggest that eating out at pubs is particularly appealing to families on a middle income, with over 55% of their customers falling in the household income range £19,000 – £49,999.

A spokesman for NPD explained that when the latest recession hit, many people gave up eating out and choose instead to either visit a fast food outlet or concentrate on cooking their own food. This view is supported by a grow in the number of people attending cookery courses.

There is a perception that restaurants are still very expensive and that they are in danger of pricing themselves out of the market.

The good news for the pub industry is that it is attracting consumers back for occasions when they are likely to spend more money, such as weekends and at dinner, when they are able bring along their children with the meal becoming more of a social occasions.


New Survey Reveals That Diners Are Cutting Back

A new survey by food service consultancy firm Horizons which has revealed that British consumers are cutting back on the number of times that they eat out.

The survey reveals that the number of times that people eat out has fallen by 25 per cent in the last year. A year ago the average consumer was eating out around 1.4 times per week. This figure is now around once per week. The fall has coincided with a corresponding increase in the number of people attending cookery courses.

However despite the current economic climate 70 per cent of consumers said that they had dined out at least once in the last two weeks with almost 50 per cent doing so twice or more.

One third of the 1,400 people questioned thought that eating out was more convenient and a quarter claimed that they would prefer not to cook at home.

Of those that have eaten out recently almost 30 per cent said that they were being sociable, 23 per cent were celebrating a special occasion whilst 17 per cent claimed it represented better value.

A spokeswoman for Horizons explained that the results show that whilst consumers have reduced the number of times that they eat out, it continues to be a popular pastime due to sociability, value for money and convenience.

The survey also found that a third of consumers choose the venue based on habit whilst 22 per cent claimed that their choice was unplanned. Around 14 per cent chose the venue based on a recommendation with only 11 per cent being influenced by special offers or vouchers.

According to the survey the most popular place to eat out is pub restaurants with around 20 per cent of people questioned choosing to eat there. The next most popular choices were home delivery and takeaways with Chinese and Indian restaurants coming joint third.

The recent study also found that pubs were proving a popular choice for customers wishing to eat out.