Today was my first day at The Ashburton Chefs academy in Halifax!
I first came across The Ashbuton cookery school last summer (2015) when I was browsing the internet for cooking courses. This came after a lazy Saturday morning of watching an abundance of cookery TV programmes and once again coming to the conclusion that I wasn’t happy in my job and would just love to spend my days in the kitchen. I’ve always loved eating – that’s definitely no secret! But I also love to cook, especially if I have a full afternoon to go crazy with whatever ingredients take my fancy.
However, when I first stumbled upon the Ashburton website the school was only operating out of Ashburton itself (way down in the south of England and probably the furthest distance I could travel from home without leaving the country). So what did I want to achieve from the course and was it worth the distance? Firstly I wanted some kind of “official” grounding in professional cookery. Something that would provide with the essentials to cooking and also give me some kind of qualification that would help build my confidence. Secondly, my aim or dream is to one day own my own cafe or deli and cook to my hearts content for anyone that cares to walk through the door.
So I wanted a course that would be thorough enough to show me the professional ropes but also give me the inspiration and the techniques to start a small deli business. After comparing a few different courses I knew Ashburton was for me. But as it was so far away I knew in my head and heart that it was an impossible dream.
Skip forward a few months and I find myself back on the internet and back on the Ashburton website. Why? I don’t know? But there at the top of the page was a news story announcing the opening of a second school for Ashburton but this time in the North! My heart leapt and I immediately clicked the link. The school was due to open in 2016 in Halifax. I quickly got up google maps and in a split second decided it was definitely commutable. And that is how I came to be on a 4 week chef course with Ashburton.
So negotiating 4 weeks off with work took a little time but once I’d convinced my line manager and worked around HR it wasn’t really a problem. I also contacted the school and arranged to go on one of their open days in Halifax before making a full on commitment.
So the school itself is based in Dean Clough Mill, which is just a 5 minute walk from the centre of Halifax or a ten minute walk from the train station. The open day was in November, so Ben and I both took the afternoon off work and drove over the Pennines to see what Dean Clough Mill had to offer.
So first off the kitchen is super impressive, it’s very clean and modern and made up my mind about the course before we’d even spoken to anyone – I wanted to cook in that kitchen and that was that. We spent the afternoon chatting to the academy chef teachers; mainly Darrin and Dominic. Darrin is based in Ashburton and Dominic was due to start the running of all the courses out of Halifax. We were extremely impressed by their knowledge and the enthusiasm they had for the school itself. It reassured me that this course would be of high quality and definitely worth the money. Dominic also took the time to give us a quick cooking demo and cooked off the most amazing duck breast and served it up with a beetroot salsa salad and herb butter. It was really very tasty and the presentation was spectacular – this was definitely without doubt just what I wanted to do.
Despite being super certain and over the top excited I still hesitated over making the final decision whether to sign up to the 4 week course or not. I suppose it’s the unknown and the fact that it’s not a cheap course. Plus, I had no idea if I would be able to fit it around work. However, once I’d made the decision I was pretty sure it was the right one. So far I have no regrets.
So back to today – I GOT TO TRY ON MY WHITES! That’s right I got to dress like a real honest to god chef. So it was only for 2 minutes to check the size – but still it was pretty good. I’m sure I’ll be sick of the uniform by the end of the 4 weeks but for the moment I’m still enjoying the novelty of it all. The main purpose of today was to meet everyone and to attend and complete a 1 day food safety course. Relatively straight forward…..but not too interesting, so other than my chefs whites there’s not too much more to say. But – I am so excited about tomorrow, can’t wait to get in that kitchen and get cooking!!!
To find out more about how my first week at Ashburton went click here.
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