Ashburton Cookery School Day 5

It’s the final day of my week-long Foundation Course in cookery at the Ashburton Cookery School.

Today we’re back with chef Alan. We’ve had three chefs in the week and that has added greatly to the experience. Alan is the most intelligent, Joe is the most talented and Ross is the most humorous. They’re all great at imparting their skills and well worth paying close attention to.

Many of our twelve-strong group booked on the course because they’re middle-aged or older men who have never cooked for themselves before. They’ve been kept out of a kitchen which was their wife’s domain. Widowed, separated or divorced, they’ve all booked with the hope of learning how to cope on their own. The younger people on the course need a guide to the difference between a Borlotti bean and a green bean and where to find them in the supermarket. The course isn’t really designed for them. It’s designed as an introduction to becoming a chef in your own kitchen, with the basic skills of using tools and techniques and ingredients to build up confidence in becoming a competent home cook or aspiring chef. It was just what I needed. I’m now tidier, well organised, cleaner and can use the knives I have with dexterity and confidence.

Here’s my attempt at filleting a Gilt Head Bream.

Bream - Ashburton Cookery School - Foundation Week
Bream – Ashburton Cookery School – Foundation Week

And here’s the fennel, cabbage and shallot coleslaw made with my home-made mayonnaise and a lemon vinaigrette I served it with:

Bream and Coleslaw - Ashburton Cookery School - Foundation Week
Bream and Coleslaw – Ashburton Cookery School – Foundation Week

The only disappointment for me was the final dish, chef Alan’s favourite, the braised shin of beef. I desperately wanted a nice gravy with this but it was dry and uninteresting. It’s one I’ll have to try again.

Shin of Beef - Ashburton Cookery School - Foundation Week
Shin of Beef – Ashburton Cookery School – Foundation Week

Every lunchtime meal is served with tea and coffee and every evening meal is served with wine. There’s plenty of parking, local accommodation is good and Ashburton has loads to offer – although if you come from London you may keep referring to it as “The Village” when it’s actually a town.

Would I do it again? Yes. Will I book on the Intermediate course? Very probably. Has it made a difference to my cooking? Most definitely.

It was a great week – thanks to everyone I met and all at the Ashburton Cookery School.

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