The Essential Cookery Course is designed
for those with professional culinary ambitions, or for those
who wish to bring professional style and confidence into
their own kitchen. The intensive four week course will take
you step by step through all the methods and principles of
cooking which are more frequently covered in a much longer
course. This is due to the length of our teaching day (including
dinner) and the high proportion of practical work, as well
as the structure of the course. Students also study menu
planning and budgeting, and there is emphasis on a thorough
knowledge of ingredients, including a weekly wine tasting
and nightly cheese tasting.
There is a high teacher:student ratio allowing
plenty of personal attention. Throughout the month there are
assessments to ensure that everyone is understanding and assimilating
the course. The month begins by teaching fundamental cooking
skills, or adding depth to those that already exist. Understanding
the main cooking techniques for meats, vegetables, fish and
fruit - and the methods of preparation for them. Filleting
and jointing are followed later by boning. As the course progresses
more complex techniques for pastries and breads are added to
the important basic principles. Throughout the course we build
on the knowledge gained, progressing naturally to more sophisticated
menus and composite dishes.
With 24 students on the course, we are usually
cooking for about 30 people, and so are teaching to cook in
quantity. Students are taught kitchen management, and the importance
of organisation, planning and hygiene in their work. Through
understanding the methods, techniques and ingredients used
in the kitchen, recipes can be adapted to availability of ingredients
and personal interpretation. We use some economical recipes
and some extravagant, so that a thorough knowledge is gained
of all levels of cooking and eating; although the best quality
ingredients are always used in order to achieve consistently
The focus of each days work is the preparation
of lunch and dinner, students usually work in pairs to do this.
Lunch is less formal with the chance to make and taste some
varied dishes, often vegetable based, flexible enough to suit
many different occasions. All students work towards a part
of the menu for dinner, and in the evening a small group take
it in turn to be responsible for running the kitchen and putting
the meal together - directed by our staff. This gives invaluable
experience in presentation, timing and serving a menu from
drinks beforehand to coffee afterwards.
From a base of everyday French and Italian,
the course explores the ingredients and techniques used in
other Mediterranean and Asian dishes. As confidence and competence
grow through the course, there is scope to use new skills.
Firstly in a meal where each student plans and cooks a menu
of their own choice for 4-5 people, and secondly in a buffet
lunch for about 80 people, which is prepared by all the students
as a team.
The Essential Cookery Course provides a thorough
grounding for those wanting to work in chalets or galleys,
for families at home or abroad and in many other contexts,
or for those who would like to entertain with style and ease.
It encourages inspiration in cooking and presentation. Students
have ranged in ability from an Australian graduate, who had
never spent more than five minutes in a kitchen before the
course, to a restaurant owner and his chef from Ohio who catered
for 700 covers a night. Ages have ranged from 17-year old school
leavers to a 79-year old priest from Virginia. Many students
travel from around the world to be part of the course. The
course is particularly popular with those in their gap year,
both men and women. The Grange enjoys an excellent reputation
with agencies and ski companies, enabling the majority of students
to find work around the world with little difficulty if they
want to; we help with this whenever possible.
At The Grange, we have
strong links with YSE – the fantastic chalet company in
Val d’Isère. If you are planning a skiing
holiday, why not check out their site?