Muddy dices like a Don at Chewton Glen's cookery school.
The rolling chop, the claw hand and how to chop an onion — my personal bête noire that one. I spent last Friday slicing the bejesus out of a veritable grocery store. Thanks to Chef Tutor, Rob Cottam, I was performing a mean brunoise by the end, and my rolling chop? Pah, all you Michelin chefs reading this? Boots. Quake. (Pssst… and yes, all ten fingers still in place. Let’s not mention the thumbs).
Industrial meets kitchen-garden chic lots of natural light, gleaming brass light fittings, exposed beams and state-of-the-art gadgetry.
Headed by the irrepressible James Martin, yes he of Saturday Kitchen fame and a Hampshire resident to-boot, The Kitchen opened last year housing a cookery school and an open-plan eatery. Think posh brunch, artisan pizzas and an at home-in-my-Primani Cashmere-comfies vibe with a sprinkle of Scandi-dust and, erm, someone to do the washing-up for you.
ON THE MENU
As you might expect from a knife skills session, it was into the wok with piles of finely chopped veggies, chillis and garlic. Yum.
I was sad to miss that evening’s steak session: how to choose and cook your cut, not forgetting how to enjoy your cut over a glass of wine — the ultimate present for any self-respecting kitchen-chef-geek/carnivour.
Elsewhere expect sessions with the irrepressible Mr Martin; plus creating zee perfect Valentines Day meal; food & wine matching; cooking for (and with) kids and much more. Here’s a full list.
A friendly mix, most had been gifted the session by their loved-ones and at least one fellow pupil was on her second cookery session at The Kitchen which always bodes well.
WHAT TO EXPECT
As we were learning a skill, as opposed to watching a cookery demo, our workstations were set-up facing the teaching kitchen so that Rob could give hands-on on tips on our chopping technique. In most sessions, though, students watch the demo and then cook in their own, designated kitchen spaces. Rob’s teaching style is calm and professional with the occasional pun to lighten the mood.
- Always use the heel of your knife, hence the rolling chop.
- To protect your fingers, roll the hand holding the vegetable into a claw and ALWAYS keep an eye on your fingers and your knife.
- No need to take stems off coriander, chop it stalks and all.
The Kitchen, Chewton Glen, Walkford, Highcliffe, Christchurch, BH23 5QL. 01425 282212. chewtonglen.com
Words: Mary Malyon, Editor: Muddy Hants