Turning up the Heat: A day at Daylesford Cookery School
Daylesford Cookery School
I was recently invited to attend a day at Daylesford Cookery School so that I could speak first-hand about it to all our wonderful guests. If you are coming to Kingham the chances are you have heard about Daylesford. Famous as a farm shop, spa and general life-style mecca for the health conscious. Over the years it has grown considerably and boasts a huge range of courses and classes such as floristry, photography, and painting. You can also tour the market garden on a regular basis and special pop up events such as dinners and silver work occur through the year. It is a highly creative venue with some amazing opportunities.
The thing you need to understand about any visit to Daylesford is that this is a spoiling treat. Showcasing their immaculate organic produce everything looks, smells and tastes as fabulous as fresh, local, organic produce should in the height of the summer. The cookery school itself is a warm and welcoming space centred around the demonstration area with work stations down one wall. The day was structured very gently starting with coffee or tea from 9.15am after which we donned a chef’s jacket and apron ready to tackle our beautiful presentation folder of information and receipes. We finished at 3pm with a certificate to round things off having learnt, laughed, cooked, eaten and drunk through the day.
I was there for a cookery course titled Journey Through Provence, a regular fixture due to its huge popularity. There were only 6 of us on the course and so there was plenty of attention given to our individual needs. All the work stations were laid out beautifully; a large part of the Daylesford ethos is aesthetics and so even the bay leaves artistically balanced at an angle across the bowl of peppercorns was beautiful, contrasting with the immaculate carrots and vibrant tomatoes fresh out of the market garden just behind the cookery school.
Jason made us feel very welcome and at ease and introduced us to Daylesford and its organic ethos. The Bamford’s have 3 major organic estates; Daylesford where the Friesian dairy herd and free range chickens roam, Staffordshire where they have deer and beef cattle and Leoube, their Vineyard in France where they make wine and olive oil. Joy of joys we were able to sample the Leoube offerings as much as those of the Daylesford market garden since rose goes so very well with….everything we cooked!
The enormous benefit of a day such as this is that the extra information gleaned from chatting with professional chefs that simply can’t be read in a book or picked up at home. We ran through knife skills, listened to an homage to lemons and discussed the finer points of listening to the sizzle of the onions and the non-stick nature of highly polished pans.
We watched, we cooked, we ate…and the smart ones were being collected so drank as well! I admired the structure of the day to include some cooking that was so easy we only watched the demo, we didn’t actually make them ourselves (Panisse with tapenade or polenta chips with olive pate for the uninitiated – yum!) Then there were elements where most of us were confident but fine-tuned our skills; sea bream with sauce vierge and poached peaches with vanilla ice cream. The clever addition, I thought, was Artichoke Barigoule with tagliatelle where we were all tested in the preparation of the artichokes, the making of the pasta and cooking a unanimously unknown dish. I loved the challenge of this element of the course.
A bit of fresh air before the fourth course as we trotted off to admire the market garden where all our produce came from and back to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over the kitchen fairy that had done all the washing and tidying for us.
It was an excellent day. I felt we were hosted beautifully, learnt lots and had a thoroughly enjoyable time with delicious food and wine. I would recommend this experience to everyone. Many of the people on the course had been given the day as a gift which considering the price is not surprising and so for our cottage guests I would commend this thought to you.
If you are gathering here for a special event, do consider sending your special person or special couple on a cookery course at Daylesford, it really was a very memorable day. We are also able to offer guests a discount on courses at Daylesford Cookery School so look out for the ‘Additional Information’ sheet when you book.