It may be January, but the School of Food gardens are as busy as ever.
We welcomed our latest set of trainee chefs this past Monday and are delighted to have such a wonderful group of people staying and learning with us for the next 10+ weeks! With such bright personalities and friendly faces, we can’t wait to see how this Modern Skills for Modern Chefs will unfold – it is a little bit different every time, and that is largely thanks to our diverse groups of students.
This morning, we piled out into the gardens to dig new beds and plant new seeds. Our greenhouse is bursting with seedlings and a few plants nearly ready for a winter harvest. We still have plenty of kale, cabbage, potatoes and leek left over from our Autumn harvest, and we have been prepping and cooking our own garden vegetables as well as the veggies we source from our local Camphill Jerpoint – they specialize in biodynamic vegetable growing and you can really taste the difference, even if you’re a sceptic about that kind of thing.
This week is all about getting to know the school and each other. Modern Skills for Modern Chefs may only last eleven weeks, but those weeks are jam-packed with information, cooking and gardening. By the end of this course, the students will feel as though they’ve been living on-site. We love that they feel so comfortable here for the duration of our long courses.
This time around, we have students from as far away as South Africa. We have business owners and those looking to upskill. We have older students and those fresh out of university and secondary school. Our strength is in our diversity!
For our Fiver Friday lunch (as featured in the Irish Times last week), we are planning a three-course meal including fresh poached chicken with our own garden pesto in phyllo pastry, a winter-warming, locally-sourced vegetable soup and warm apple crumble. There are also takeaway options and a vegan-friendly option (this week will be coconut chana masala with wilted garden greens and basmati pilaf). Donuts, cinnamon rolls and cookies will be on offer for takeaway, and we will have our garden preserves for sale as well.