I am standing in a room bustling with chefs on the 6-month course at Edinburgh New Town Cookery School (ENTCS). One of the dishes they are creating is a delicious sounding spicy chickpea soup and a clafoutis is also on the menu. Fiona Burrell, Principal and owner is showing me around the school cookery school located in the heart of Edinburgh on Queen Street.
The Cookery School has recently one two awards: Best Scottish Cookery School at the British Cookery School Awards 2012, sponsored by Kenwood and Looking to Cook’s UK Cookery School of the Year 2012. Fiona admits that she’s still a little shell shocked. The School was set up just 3 years ago by Fiona who gained over 12 years experience working at Leith’s School of Food and Wine in London.
We visit the demo kitchen, equipped with a very impressive over head mirror and space for up to 50 students. It’s a lot less clinical than many demo kitchens and very welcoming. I happen to be chatting with Chef Mattia a few days later and he explained how rewarding it is to give demonstrations to the students and enjoyed the many questions they asked afterwards. It’s a hit with corporate clients as well as individuals.
Much as many of us would dream of doing one of the 3 or 6 month courses, learning new skills in an evening or day class is probably more realistic and there’s a wide range to suit all tastes.It’s that time of year and there is no escaping the fact that we’ll need to find presents that will impress. Or, even better it’s an ideal time to make some heavy hints as to what you’d like in your stocking!
The Cookery School runs evening demos such as the Carvery Class – the next one is on November 28. Participants start by learning the all important knife skills first. Then, carving techniques are shown for 4 different roasts. There’s a chance to come up to the front and try your hand at the carving.
“There is no need to have a special carving knife, a well sharpened kitchen knife is just as good” Fiona.
After all this hard work and your mouth watering from the smells you head off to the dining room to eat a delicious meal featuring the roasts that have been carved.
At this time of year, the idea of escaping the hustle and bustle of family life to learn new skills and having a jolly good time appeals to me immensely. There’s a Christmas Baking course on 1 December and Edible Christmas Gifts on 8 December.
Another option is to spend a Saturday at the School. Fiona explains that more and more of the attendees are making the class part of a holiday in Edinburgh. Sometimes whole families take part or just one person whilst others are well entertained in the city. The range of classes is wide – the bakery ones are proving particularly popular (the Great British Bake Off effect). Bakery is particularly dear to Fiona’s heart – she is the author of the Leith’s Baking cookery book.
Find out more
There are many more subjects to choose from starting at £59 for the carvery class and include food and wine evenings, and 6 week evening courses, masterclasses and more. The great thing is that you can get a voucher that can be used towards any class you fancy.
If you’re attending Foodies at Christmas event on 1 and 2 December, don’t miss the masterclasses ENTS are running each day and get that voucher on your Christmas list. If you book for the Carving class, you’ll get a free ticket to the event.
Edinburgh New Town Cookery School
7 Queen Street
0131 226 4314