The Cookery School at The Grand York Review
Find out what Jemima Parsons thought as she took part in ‘The Perfect Steak’ Class at The Cookery School at The Grand York
The Cookery School at The Grand York Review | The Perfect Steak Class
Picture this. You’ve got a hot date coming up. Or your mother’s visiting. In a moment of confidence, you said you’d cook. You had temporarily forgotten that in the last month you’ve only used the microwave. Now you’re fearing your date’s disappointment or your mother’s judgemental eye.
Or perhaps you rushed here, to this review, because you know your sauté from your bain-marie. You are absolutely ready to polish and refine those culinary skills you’ve been quietly harbouring, you’ve just been looking for the right place to do it.
Whichever camp you fall into, the brand-spanking new Cookery School at The Grand York is the place for you. Opening in March 2019, the Cookery School is part of the 5 Star hotel’s £15 million expansion and refurbishment scheme. It offers full or half day and evening classes from a selection of 43 different classes.
For this experience, I really have to start from the very beginning. Walking through the door, the first feast is for your eyes (is that cheesy)? They have decked the place out in the most stylish fittings – think patterned tiles, copper fixtures and large plants. We were greeted with a drinks reception and the opportunity to meet some of the other people taking the class whilst taking in the luxurious environment.
Once everyone had arrived, we pinny-ed up to hear from Head Tutor of the Cookery School at The Grand York, Andrew Dixon. Now, I won’t impart too much of his culinary wisdom, you have to take the class for that, but I will tell you his opening statement – “you are all going to cook restaurant quality food tonight”. Bold words to open with. A few little smirks went around the room, people clearly excited for the class but understandably doubtful as to Andrew’s words. He showed us around the high-end induction stove tops and bake-off-esque ovens, and we began the first lesson: triple cooked chips and vegetable garnishes. Andrew was easy to listen to, and we all sat attentively as he took us through the ins-and-outs of preparing simple but high-quality food. There is something very satisfying about watching a professional chef chopping potatoes into perfectly chunky-chip-sized pieces. And then away we went to our own workbenches, armed with all the knowledge we needed to begin cooking our very own perfect meal.
The wine we were holding was replaced with a potato peeler, and away we went with cooking the chips and veg. The atmosphere was buzzing, everyone having a great time as the room filled with tempting smells. The chefs and staff wandered around adjusting a pan here and fan there, offering friendly advice and making the evening relaxed and fun. One of the plus points of the layout of the Cookery School is that your kitchen area is open and close enough to the other benches to be able to chat to people taking the class, but not so close you’re fighting for space, making the class feel social and involved.
Onto the second half of the meal, and we gathered around Andrew once more, ready to get down to the real business – the steak. Again, everything was explained simply but informatively, and we returned to our kitchens with mouth-watering smells wafting from Andrew’s plate, feeling ready to attempt it on our own. Waiting on our benches were some very fine cuts of meat. They most certainly don’t scrimp on the quality of the ingredients, everything was the very best and what you would expect from the 5-star establishment. Now, I’m not saying that the Cookery School works miracles, but many people can testify to the fact that I cannot cook steak. After a couple of painfully dry, overcooked and chewy attempts at home I have avoided it. But low and behold, out of my griddle pan came a sizzling, juicy, medium-rare steak. Perhaps the school does work little miracles.
We plated up feeling like true professionals, put a final sprinkle of seasoning over the jenga tower of chips, and head through to the Cookery School’s dining area to indulge in our creations. Let me tell you, they were good. Like really good. Restaurant quality even, and we cooked the whole meal entirely ourselves.
So let me suggest, whatever your cooking ability, that if you’re looking for a relaxed experience that will truly give you the skills you need to make an excellent meal, try out the Cookery School at The Grand York. You won’t regret it.
The Cookery School at The Grand York – Station Rise, York YO1 6GD – www.thegrandyork.co.uk/cookery-school/
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