Nearly seven weeks into our winter session of Modern Skills for Modern Chefs and the school has become an absolute hive of activity. Our busy Fiver Friday lunches are becoming much easier for the students to manage and, yesterday, the students completed practical assessment three (they made the most beautiful Mezze platters with hummous, baba ganouj, chunky Greek Salad, yoghurt flatbreads, falafel and whipped feta) out of four.
This says a lot – it says the students are becoming confident in their abilities, they are comfortable here at the school and – on a slightly more bittersweet note – it means that we need to start planning for our end-of-term events.
The students have started their work placements and are gaining plenty of industry experience. Now, it’s time to focus on large-scale catering, fine dining and other things chefs find themselves having to know about.
Next week, we will take a class trip to visit Pat and Miriam at Ballinwillin Farm. Pat farms wild boar, venison, goat and also practises mindfulness. We love bringing students to visit him to hear his stories and explain how he has made mindfulness work for his business.
We will also be planning an artisanal cheesemaking day at Knockdrinna, just down the road from the school in Stoneyford, Co. Kilkenny.
All chefs need to know about drinks pairing and we will take a tour of the 8˚ Brewing brewery in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, where craft beer expert Caroline Hennessey will talk the student through food and beer pairing. A few weeks after, Morgan from Barrow’s Keep Restaurant will visit us to talk about wine and wine pairings.
One of the biggest projects our students will complete is the farmer’s market day here at the school. Each student is in the process of developing a product to sell at the market, which will take place on the 24th of March (Sunday). From spicy curries to Vietnamese bun cha, the class is putting a lot of thought and effort into this market.
They will develop their own recipes, then cost them. Finally, they will decide how they are going to package and market their product. Members of the public are very welcome to this family-friendly event; we promise lots of great food and drink and fun activities for the kids.