Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Ashburton Cookery School

March 2010 I recently attended a 2 day course entitled 'Gastro Plus' which was amazing! Anyone wanting to improve their skills, and pick up tips, then this is just for you. A very professional and well organised school, it is one of the best in the country (so I'm told). My teacher was Chef James Knight-Pacheco who came runner-up with friend Alasdair on the BBC television show ‘The Restaurant’ and was subsequently offered a year long position at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir and has also worked at Gordon Ramsay at Claridges & The Square in Mayfair. This experience really showed through as he gave us lots of 'Michelin' style hints and tips along the way.
The course content included making 2 fish courses for lunch; we made Sea bream fillets with cherry tomato and basil salsa and the other dish was Seabass fillets with poached quails eggs, crispy parma ham and white truffle oil. Not only do you learn to prep and cook the fish, but also how to fillet it! Other fun dishes we made included Gin & Tonic sorbet and Lavender creme brulee. We also made a pork dish on the first day and duck on the second. The courses are designed so that you make the dishes for yourself and then eat them at lunch, and dinner in the late afternoon. This way you get to enjoy the fruits of your labour!

It is quite tiring on your feet for 2 days but the effort is well worth it. I returned home with many recipes under my belt and the confidence to 'experiment' with the dishes and to try different infusions and ingredients. There was knowledge to be gained for all levels of experience and the school offers lots of different courses. The schoold is based in Ashburton, Devon and they also offer accomodation.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like fun!

    I loved James and Alasdair on The Restaurant, though the last series was diabolical!