Exeter Cookery School, 60a Haven Road, Quayside Exeter, Devon, EX2 8DP
Eating Exeter has been aware of Exeter Cookery School for around a year, and in fact you can read a 10 Q&A blog here to find out more about their founders, Jim and Lucy.
This pre-dates my involvement in EE, however I met Jim and Lucy around October time when they were doing a pop-up cookery course in Sapphire Spaces – I happen to pop in at the time to see what was going on. Since then I have stayed in contact and really championed their efforts to open a cookery school in Exeter. Since meeting them, their enthusiasm for what they do is quite clear; both can be found smiling almost constantly.
Pipers Farm, on the other hand, have been well established in Exeter for many years and I have been on their Beyond the Hedgerow Tour last year, which can be found here. Similarly, Peter Greig’s passion for his methods and animals can be read in his body language quite clearly.
So two passionate businesses joined forces for one of Exeter Cookery Schools first courses and I was so excited to have been invited along. I caught the park and ride bus into town as I normally would, and walked down to the Quay, being greeted by the sunshine reflecting off the water…what better way to start your day, it really is a lovely spot. There are car parks very nearby at approx £5 for the day. Of course, if you have your own boat, there seemed to be room to moor outside too!
So in a great mood I entered their renovated warehouse building; it was so light and airy with the sun shining through the patio doors, and the contrast of concrete, metal, bare brick walls and beautiful oak wood tops. I was greeted by filtered coffee in their lounge area, a table that set the tone for the day and of course their trademark smiles.
I met our other classmates, and after a short H&S chat from Jim, we got started. Peter told us about his animals and farm and then talked through the meats he had brought with him. He then proceeded to carve the shanks off his lamb, so Jim could sear it and then get it into the oven on a low and slow heat for us to enjoy later on. He talked us through various parts of the lamb and what we could do with it. We chopped up some vegetables to go in the stock pot.
We were then talked through Peter’s beautiful chickens and how to tell if it is a good bird. We were shown how to cut off the head and feet for stock later, we removed the giblets and then Jim talked us all through how best to use the whole chicken – so we removed the breasts, thighs, legs ourselves and learnt how to best prepare them for cooking. We cooked the chicken breast with their beautiful skins on, for us to eat for lunch. I’m not going to lie…there was alot of butter involved but the result was absolutely delicious and, in fact, the butter used was for basting and what was left can be saved for later and refrigerated to be used again…so we weren’t really eating all that butter.
We sat for lunch around a lovely table, chatting over the mornings skills and enjoying our chicken lunch with a macerated strawberry and basil ice cream for pudding the Jim had already prepared for us.
The afternoon was then filled with learning the skills of butchering the remainder of the lamb carcass. We worked in teams, all having a go, and Peter was open to allowing us to butcher as much as possible of his precious meat educating us on the various cuts and what to do with them. Jim taught us how to french trim the lamb racks, which were then cooked and we gathered round his chef’s domain to enjoy the cooked chops.
The day ended with us able to take a tub of melt in the mouth lamb home for our supper – I was actually so full from lunch that I saved mine for the next day and enjoyed it with toad in the hole!
It was a very enjoyable day with very patient yet enthusiastic teachers, in a spacious and beautiful building. We had a variety of skills between us students, and everyone got stuck in and felt comfortable enough to ask questions. Price-wise they are inline with cookery schools in the next counties, but this one is right on our beautiful doorstep and excellent value for 7 hour course including lunch.
They have plenty of courses running, from fish to sugar skills to puddings, running on different days and include full or half day courses too. Ideal for yourself, a gift for someone and even corporate events can be arranged – an excellent team building idea considering how well us strangers worked together. The students included people from Totnes, North Devon, Exeter and even Bristol. It’s great to know that their efforts are being heard far and wide.
The beautiful Gaggenau appliances and Bulthaup workspaces were installed by the local and talented Sapphire Spaces, and the fantastic logo’d knives we used are made by I.O.Shen, which can also be purchased from the school.
No matter what your skill level, there really is something for everyone and I hope my photos speak volumes for the fantastic Jim and Lucy and their Exeter Cookery School.