By popular demand, culinary arts recently returned to St George’s with the introduction of the Leiths School of Food & Wine ‘Let’s Cook’ programme for First and Second Year students. The cookery school kitchen buzzes with excitement and purpose, with girls learning the fundamental skills of professional cookery and loving every minute of it!
The weekly recipe agenda is a deliberate effort to teach and consolidate a range of 'fundamental' cookery skills through a range of contemporary and relevant recipes/cuisines. The objective is also to expose the girls to different ingredients and cuisines.
"The programme is neither a traditional food tech course nor a brownie baking club" stresses Culinary Arts teacher and Leiths graduate Mrs Magee. "It is bespoke to St George’s and is specifically designed to develop cookery skillsets whilst broadening the girls knowledge and appreciation of food, ingredients, culinary trends and nutrition.”
By following the Leiths curriculum, girls develop a foundational knowledge of key cookery techniques and a real understanding of some of the corresponding theory. It is about establishing a core competency in the kitchen and, of course, fuelling the corresponding enthusiasm and confidence.
The girls can happily talk about what makes the cake light and airy and even the different types of ‘rising agents’ used in cake baking. Likewise, girls know how to season dishes and thicken soups and can tell you about the transformational qualities of the humble egg!
In true professional style, Mrs Magee also teaches the importance of kitchen efficiency, safety and food hygiene, and a visit to the classroom speaks volumes. Donning starched chef’s whites, the concept of ‘mis en place’ and ‘working clean’ will become second nature to the girls. Even the task of wielding an 8” chef’s knife becomes a breeze.
What’s the payoff of this type of programme? Most of the girls (and their parents, who are lucky enough to get some of the leftovers) will rave about the bounties of their labours – dishes ranging from French classics including Crème Anglaise and Crêpes Suzette to the all-time contemporary favourites of Thai chicken curry, carrot and coriander soup and salmon fillet with a lime crust. But the real benefits of confidence, competence, creativity, and a real appreciation for an essential life skill will last well beyond that last bite of cake.
For more information about Leiths, please visit the website here
For more details about the course, please email Mrs Hilary Jones here