REVIEW: Ashburton Cookery School – 1 Day Christmas Game – by Sue Stoneman Ad#

The meal provided in this review was gratis. Views expressed are independent of the business and is not seen or approved before publication.

If you are looking to try your hand at cooking something different to the traditional turkey over the festive season, then the 1-Day Game Course could be for you. You will be shown how to create three stunning game dishes, covering boning skills, different cooking methods, use unfamiliar vegetables, seasonal garnishes and learn the art of making great tasting sauces. Prepare to get your hands dirty, learn some new skills and with expert help, tips and advice, you will cook up some fantastic dishes which you will be able to recreate at home when entertaining family and friends over the festive period and for any dish, not only with game, any time you decide to cook in your kitchen.

The course begins at 9.30am and you are welcomed with tea/coffee and you meet your fellow students. Our Chef Tutor for the day was Stuart and he made us all feel welcome and gave us an overview of what the day entailed. Feeling hungry and keen to get cooking, we headed off into the sparkling clean well laid out kitchen.

You usually work in pairs which is good fun as you get to chat all things foodie with your fellow student. At your workstation, you have everything laid out for you. All the ingredients needed for each dish are all weighed out for you, which saves so much time and enables you to plough through the day’s activities. There’s no need to worry about the washing up as there is a very helpful member of the team to do the dishes too! Thanks Mike! Aprons tied, name badges pinned on, hands washed and you’re ready to get cooking.

Menu of the Day
Roasted breast and leg of partridge
with Jerusalem artichoke puree, green bean, shallot and truffle salad, golden raisins, hazelnuts and sauternes sauce.
Sous vide breast of wild duck (mallard)
with ‘feuille de brick’ wrapped leg with chestnuts, prunes and sage, creamed salsify, roast winter squash, kalettes, port and earl grey reduction,and braised leg “sausage roll”
Pan roasted loin of venison
with black pudding puree, radicchio, wild mushrooms, fondant potatoes, blackberries and Grand Veneur sauce

The day was very informative. We learned how to make the best of a game bird, the ‘nose to tail’ concept, using every part of the animal without wasting anything and using any leftovers to make the most incredible tasting sauces. Butchery skills played an important part in boning the carcases and Stuart demonstrated these expertly then left us to do it ourselves. He was always on hand to help if needed and answer any questions.

A diverse range of cooking methods were used including sous-vide, deep frying, braising, roasting, pan frying, blanching, blending, sauce making (and I mean proper sauces and reductions), and cooking a fondant potato. Having cooked the game, with prior preparation, we were given plating tips to enable us to serve up three wonderful looking, very tasty plates of food which I would be very happy to be served if dining in a top restaurant. You get to sit down together once you have served up each dish and are served a glass of wine too. We even had a Christmas Cracker to pull – well it is December!

You get to take home the food you didn’t get to cook or eat so that you can recreate your dishes when you get home, a certificate to show you have successfully completed the course plus the detailed recipes with your notes on that you have worked from during the day. You may wish to visit the well stocked cook shop on your way out too.


The next Game course is on Saturday 19th January 2019. Game is seasonal, and the menu for the Day’s course may change slightly depending on the time of year.

If you are unable to go on this course, there are many other Christmas Courses to choose from. Some are for a full day and there are a couple of half day courses as well. All courses, (over 40) for varying abilities and a diverse range are listed on the website. Vouchers are also available to purchase and would make an ideal present for your partner, family member or a foodie friend.

Where is it:

Ashburton Cookery School

Old Exeter Road, Ashburton, South Devon TQ13 7LG

Telephone: 01364 652784

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Christmas Courses available: (check website for dates and availability)
Christmas Chocolates – One Day
Christmas Baking – One Day
Christmas Canapes -ohalf day
Christmas Macarons – half day
Christmas Breadmaking – One Day
Christmas Game – One Day

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