The new Patisserie course is officially up and running as the students delve into week 6 at the Ashburton Chefs Academy.
Headed by our in house pastry chef Colin Bennett. Colin has worked in leading hotels, including The Grovesnor and Dorchester, Michelin starred restaurants such as Pied a Terre, The Orrery and Viajante and alongside many of todays celebrity chefs including Simon Hopkinson, Nuno Mendez and Tom Aitkin. He also helped Jamie Oliver set-up his Barbecoa restaurant near St Paul’s, but probably the highlight of his professional career was the 4 and a half years spent as Hilton’s specialist patisserie, created as part of a £30m refit.
The first term has seen the students produce a whole range of sweet and savoury delights that have ranged from Gruyere gougeres to gateaux frasier, chocolate centre pieces to Danish pastries.
I was fortunate enough to always be in the right place at the right time, generally just as Colin was presenting his dessert!. So not only did they look amazing but tasted even better.
Back in December the Ashburton Chefs Academy students were treated to an interactive charcuterie masterclass with the great Marc Frederic.
Marc’s expertise and passion for his trade were second to none. He has trained in the UK, Germany, France and is currently teaching his expertise and training in Asia! it was clear to see that Marc was willing to pass his knowledge and experience onto the next generation of chefs.
Firstly students were taught how to break down and butcher a whole pig, utilising every part. The legs were dry cured and left to salt for a month, belly cured into streaky bacon and the rest went through the mincer to make sausages and the great Spanish sausage, chorizo!
The students left with a fair amount of sausages, bacon to cure and a head full of knowledge and enthusiasm. The surface of the curing/charcuterie world was barely even scraped but Marc did his best to fill in. There is only so much you can squeeze into one day.
Marc was also extremely passionate about his pigs. He highly recommended rare breeds for charcuterie as they naturally have a good fat content. He spoke particularly highly of a Devon breed called the Lop, originating in Tavistock.
All in all a fantastic day was had and i look forward to the next one.
The master at work linking sausages
Students butchering the pig, ready for curing