Edinburgh New Town Cookery School is a serious place, for people who seriously want to up their game in the kitchen. But don’t think that means it isn’t fun – attending a class here is enormously enjoyable. The location in the heart of town means a visit to the school also fits perfectly into a short break to this beautiful city.
Opened just 6 years ago, ENTCS has 30 years of experience behind it – founder Fiona Burrell started her career at Edinburgh’s Woman and Home Cook School and went on to work as a tutor, food writer and eventually principal of the renowned Leiths School of Food and Wine in London. Like Leiths, ENTCS caters to three kinds of students – those looking for professional training and qualifications for a career in food, keen cooks who simply want to improve their home cooking, expand their range of techniques or learn a new cuisine and corporate groups looking for an educational but fun team activity.
Professional courses run from one to six months and cover all the practical skills you’d expect – kitchen hygiene and safety, knife skills, all the key methods of cooking and familiarity with different types of cookers too, choosing and prepping ingredients, developing and writing recipes, planning a menu, costing and business planning and of course, learning how to cook a huge breadth of recipes. Courses for enthusiasts are still well-structured and in-depth, but less formal and with more focus on cooking at home and enjoying the day. An array of classes cover everything from learning knife skills and cooking techniques to bread making, baking, cooking game, fish and seafood, learning to make curries from around the world and different cuisines such as French, Japanese or Thai.
We attended a half day Desserts course during which we made Chocolate Fondants with a perfect oozing centre that would be the envy of any MasterChef contestant, soft and gooey French Almond Financiers and the classic French dessert, Floating Islands. The next full day Delicious Desserts class covers the same wonderful Chocolate Fondants plus Lemon Meringue Roulade, Raspberry Frangipane Tart and Prosecco and Elderflower Jellies with Fruit Compote, an equally tempting menu.
The class took place in a vast, bright and airy kitchen, with other classes going on around us. Tutor Colette lead us through each recipe, giving pointers and tips at every stage – how to tell when our eggs are whipped just enough, the secret to great financiers being extremely well buttered tins and using cocoa powder rather than the flour called for in the recipe to dust inside the dariole moulds makes for a prettier finish. Every student received the help they needed and every recipe was a success, giving us huge confidence that we could recreate these delicious desserts at home.
Kavey Eats were guests of Edinburgh New Town Cookery School, courtesy of Visit Scotland.