EVENT REVIEW: Ashburton Cookery School – Charity Dining Event #ad

One thing I have come to value in my adventures with food is the technical skills chefs must possess. They are naturally driven hard workers, creative and innovative, passionate about ingredients and provenance, and nearly all of them can do things with food that I could only dream of.

But you have to start somewhere. For many chefs, they attend college or do apprenticeships or work on the job (like the great Marco Pierre White). For others, they attend places like Ashburton Chefs Academy and hone their art under the guidance of expert tutors like Chef Darrin Hosegrove.

One of the culminations of their time at Ashburton is the Charity Dining Club which happens at points throughout the year, in the final term of the Diploma of Culinary Arts course. Each cohort gets a chance to do different roles throughout the evenings and gain experience of creating food with actual paying humans at the end of the process.

All of the proceeds goes to support a local charity which changes regularly whilst also providing a dining experience of excellent value and quality. On this occasion, money was going towards helping the Dartmoor Community Hub

Ashburton Cookery School was founded in 1992 and has grown in popularity and prestige over the years. Darrin Hosegrove was appointed in 2004 and is responsible for course teaching and development; in 2012 the Chefs Academy was founded and has been producing chefs who have gone off to do many great and wonderful things – read their graduates page for more about their successful alumni

So I was very excited when we got an invitation to pop along to see for ourselves what one of these evenings were like.

Canapés and drinks were served as we mingled and met some of the waiting staff that would be joining us that evening. Their current building is purpose built for the school and was opened in 2009 with world-class facilities on Old Exeter Road in Ashburton. Sitting right near the A38, it is easy to get to even though I did my classic thing and missed the very obvious turning.

Our menu tonight looked like this:


Maple glazed Pork Belly with Apple Puree and Sage
Ginger Beignets with Pink Grapefrut & Dill Mayonnaise
Goats Cheese Cured Courgettes
Pine Nut Cannelloni


Sundried Tomato and Olive Bread
Sour Dough Leaves
Fig, Rosemary and Walnut Bread

Amuse Bouche

Poached Salmon
Pickled Baby Carrots, Sweet & Sour Celeriac and Citrus Gel


Pressed Ham Hock
Scotch Quails Egg, Piccaalilli, Smoked Egg, Yolk Puree

Fish Course

with Cauliflower Puree, Coconut Foam and Lime Emulsion

Main Course

Truffled Free-Range Chicken & Ballotine of Leg
with Celeriac, Asparagus, Fondant Potato, Onion Soubise,
Summer Cabbage and a Chicken Jus


Daily Dessert from the Pastry Kitchen

Petit Fours

Coffee & Petit Fours from the Pastry Kitchen

Breads were gorgeous home-made and freshly made
Smoked salmon is one of my absolute favourite fish. This was a well presented and expertly crafted dish that really complimented the complex taste of the salmon.
Ham Hock is a classic starter that is often done badly, I can report that this was flaky and meaty. Exactly how it should be!
The Scotch Egg was a really special touch which was complimented with the tartness of the Piccalilli.
After a sad experience with gritty scallops at a recent meal, we were happy to see these on the menu.
They were fluffy and well cooked. They are so easy to get wrong, but these were spot on.
A chef friend of mine always said he never ate Chicken he hadn’t cooked himself. It is easily dried if left a bit too long, but this was a moist celebration of one of my favourite meats. Pouring the Chicken Jus over it just made it pop with flavour.
This dessert had the ‘wow’ factor. A delicate soft sponge with impressive sugar work and a white chocolate cylinder with some exquisite decoration. This was a perfect end to a really exciting evening.
Coffee and Petit Fours kept the wow factor coming, they looked like little edible jewels!

The fact that these evenings raise money for charity is one thing, but the value that diners get is incredible. The standard, is incredibly high and the staff clearly pass their passion and love of hospitality and cooking, on to their students.

I love what Ashburton Cookery School do and the welcoming environment makes these events a perfect experience gift for a foodie, or an opportunity to show someone you love how awesome food can really be.

We were impressed with the quality and the flow of the evening, and couldn’t fault any of it. If you live in Exeter, it’s worth a trip down to Ashburton to really experience an excellent event.

Ashburton Cookery School & Chef’s Academy
Old Exeter Road,
TQ13 7LG


Book here for for the next Charity Dining Event and more info


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.