Looking to brush up your cookery skills? Lots of our courses might look like they’re a bit more expert, but the one course we’d recommend to absolutely anyone is our Beginners Cookery Day with professional chef Kieran Lenihan. We’re not fibbing when we say it’s for beginners – so even if you’re at a complete loss in the kitchen, you can be sure of a warm welcome and a course that’s geared to your level. Not to mention, of course, that Kieran is full of tips and tricks to make fine dining foolproof – so in just one day, you’ll acquire all the skills you need to bluff your way through fabulous dinner parties and cultivate a reputation as a wizard in the kitchen. We asked Kieran for three of his top tips, to give you a flavour of why this course is a must for any aspiring foodie…
1. Good ingredients are absolutely key. One of the reasons that food tastes so good in a top restaurant is that they have the best suppliers, and often take the time to source fresh produce, in season – which makes for fantastic flavour. Of course, if you’re on a less-than-Michelin-starred budget, you don’t have to splash out on all your ingredients – but anything fresh, like fruit, vegetables, meat and fish is worth spending a little extra on. Look out for great local suppliers to get good deals on great ingredients.
2. When it comes to dinner parties, plan and prepare ahead as much as you can. If you love to entertain but find the actual cooking makes it stressful, then planning your menu carefully to include dishes with lots of prep ahead of time can make a huge difference. One of Kieran’s favourite fine dining cheat recipes (which often comes up on our Beginners Cookery Day) is to stuff and poach chicken the day before, then simply slice and quickly fry on the day. Packed with flavour, with a few flourishes a dish like this looks rather fancy – but takes just minutes before serving.
3. If you’re baking, it’s all about timing and temperature. Cooking savoury dishes can often be a bit of an improvised affair, working out the flavours as you go along, but if you’re baking something sweet (and especially if you’re a novice) then you absolutely have to get the basics right. If you’ve got a recipe, that means following the instructions precisely – not treating things like timing and temperature as approximate guidelines! Something like a crème brûlée might seem like a dessert only for more advanced cooks, but with a bit of care and attention to detail, it can be really straightforward – Kieran’s crème brûlée with lemon shortbread is another fantastic dish to look out for on our Beginners Cookery Day.
Tempted? Our Beginners Cookery Day covers everything from the essential basics – knife skills, preparing your ingredients, getting the hang of seasoning – to a selection of utterly mouth-watering recipes. Although Kieran brings a fabulous fine-dining flair to everything he teaches from his professional background, you’ll also learn loads of great dishes to make every day. So whether you’re looking to become a dinner party legend or you simply want to eat better at home, you’ll come away from this course with everything you need. Our next Beginners Cookery Day is on the 19th May but it’s always a popular one, so book now if you fancy coming along.