(Nicola’s Story) Stress and giddy nerves for the 4 week practical cookery exam

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We thought, given that we are heading into the final week of our first 4 Week Certificate in Practical Cookery of 2017, we would revisit one of our previous Student Stories. Enjoy and stay tuned for more student stories this coming week!

Each week we’ve been posting during the current 4 Week Certificate in Practical Course.

This is the 4th and final post in this “Student Story” series where we have been following the progress of Nicola, a blogger with a particular interest in Paleo food (see her blog The Wonky Spatula).

The students spend 4 hours producing a starter, main course and dessert under exam conditions.

Similar to the format of Masterchef, it’s pretty pressurised but it’s also a great challenge for the students.

We’ve seen it all before of course. The stress, the nerves, the giddy anxiety, but we’ve spent the last 4 weeks preparing our students to perform on this day and it’s a very rewarding day for myself and the entire team.

 Not only have the students taken their cooking to the next level, many have also made lifelong friends.

Here is Nicola’s story which she wrote the night before her practical cookery exam (last night 7th May ’15!):


Nicola Says:

It’s Thursday evening of our final week. It’s hard to believe that the month is over, however, on flicking through my folder, I cannot believe how many recipes we have done in such a short period of time!

My knowledge and appreciation for food has gone from strength to strength, I have done things I never would have thought possible in the kitchen!

As a cook I have evolved and have changed the way I think about a plate of food entirely.

My original expectations of where I would be by the end of the course are completely different to the reality, I have become more visual than I would have ever imagined, stopping during the cooking process to think about how I would like the plate to look and what garnishes to add in order to achieve this. Whereas, before I would have left plating up to the end, I now have a clear image in my head beforehand that is not just a rough idea, rather exactly what it should look like and where each piece should sit on the plate.

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This week has been phenomenal food wise from lamb, lobster and langoustine to yesterday’s incredible demo from Master Butcher extraordinaire Syl! It was absolutely incredible to see full circle how meat goes from the animal to the plate, and to learn about it from someone with the level of passion that he has.

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Facing into the practical exam, yes I am nervous, but I am also excited to challenge myself and present 3 beautiful plates of food that I can be proud of. I have a clear plan laid out for myself and I’m looking forward to seeing how the day turns out. If all else fails, I heard mention of a few drinks afterwards!!

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On our fast track Certificate in Practical Cookery students learn all the fundamentals of cooking within a concise four week timeframe. It combines daily, practical work and guest lecturers together with theoretical sessions enabling students to become confident and accomplished cooks. It’s perfect for anyone looking for a professional culinary career, to start their own business or to cook with confidence for friends and family.  At the end of the course students will be thoroughly familiar with classical and contemporary cooking techniques.

We’ll be continuing next week with lots more updates from the cookery school following students on our 8 Week Certificate in Professional Cookery.  Here are just some of the additional guest talks and features of the course which are in addition to those on the Certificate in Practical Cookery:

  • Chocolate tempering, Petit Fours, Macaroons
  • Cheese Making with Silke Croppe, owner of Corleggy Cheeses
  • Sausage Making with Jane Russell owner of Jane Russell’s Sausages
  • Farm to fork visits with trips to farms and food producers
  • Artisan Bread Baking
  • French Patisseries
  • Game and Offal
  • Smoking and probably a bit of Barbecuing with our new Weber BBQs!
  • Vegetarian and Gluten Free
  • Slow Cooking

Stay Tuned!

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