Where to begin? The first week is finally over and all the students are thrilled. Ballymaloe Cookery School is a 'full-on' (as they say) 8:30-5:30 day with a lunch break in the middle. That is, if you don't have any of the 'farm to table' duties which may include:
- picking salad greens, herbs and vegetables bright and early (actually when it's dark)
- washing up dishes after demo
- feeding the chickens kitchen scraps
- serving the students lunch that we all cooked together in the day
A typical day starts with kitchen work in pairs. We cook the food assigned to us that was demoed the day before. The night before we have to write out an 'order of work' before we start cooking. An 'order of work' is a schedule of what to cook so that you can serve up 3 fresh courses at the same time. Then, the kitchen teachers come around and grade your work based on cooking technique, presentation and taste. I have to say that I've been having to 'un-learn' many of the bad kitchen habits I got myself into being self-taught at cooking. I'm learning such basic skills that improve the flavour of the food immensely! I can't recommend this course enough to aspiring chefs or people just wanting a greater appreciation for food.
I say 'humble beginnings' because as much as I already know about the food industry and how unsustainable it is.. as much as I already how how good local food can taste.. I am completely blown away by the attention to detail and new skills I'm learning to make myself a better cook.
Below is a sample of photos from the trip so far!