River Cottage launches professional cookery school

River Cottage is launching a new business in the form of a cookery school for professional cooks and aspiring chefs from 1 April.

he organisation, founded by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, produces ethical ingredients and champions the cause of sustainability.

There are several different types of courses, ranging from one-day workshops to 12-month qualifications.

Head of education Chris Griffin and River Cottage ambassador Steve Lamb explained that by enabling to educate aspiring chefs or working chefs, a focus on “ethical food procurement” is important.

“This includes the selection, purchasing and handling of meat. Here at Park Farm we raise, care for and slaughter our own beef, lamb, goat and chickens. When our stocking densities are low, we also have the ability to tap into our vibrant, local meat-producing companies in the south west,” said Griffin and Lamb.

“We always champion our amazing local suppliers and ensure our learners can understand, see and taste the benefits of purchasing ethically. We believe that educating our learners about the importance of procuring meat in such a manner will help them make increasingly informed decisions when they are running their own restaurants or kitchens.”

The team has taught groups from Gordon Ramsay Holdings, Mitchells & Butlers, Angela Hartnett and Jamie Oliver’s 15.

Fearnley-Whittingstall said: “There has been a renaissance in British restaurant cookery in recent years – not just in terms of the style of cooking and techniques now being employed, but also, more crucially in my view, in the approach of chefs to sourcing their food, embracing good provenance, and choosing their recipes.

“Far more of them are now celebrating local ingredients and traditional dishes and running their businesses in a more sustainable way. With the River Cottage Professional Cookery School, we aim to strike while the iron is hot, helping to bring even more change and innovation in this area.”

Fearnley-Whittingstall claimed the trainees would be guided in seasonality, ethical and local sourcing, regional ingredients and traditional, hands-on techniques.

“It’s a new step for us that I’m very excited about: after all, if we can inspire and inform the up-and-coming chefs of the UK, and beyond, they in turn can delight thousands, maybe even millions, of diners, all over the world,” he added.

Teaching will be held at River Cottage HQ on the Dorset/Devon border in a new purpose-built kitchen. The opening of the school will be a City & Guilds-accredited one-day workshop on meat cookery.


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