In our latest profile of people at the beating heart of Britain’s cookery schools, Alex Connell, principal tutor at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School in Cheshire and a big fan of chips and chillies, shares some (not all) of his kitchen secrets with us.
First food memory?
My first food memory was eating cheese on toast sitting on the step next to the French doors at home. I still love cheese on toast!
First cookery skills?
Learning to make pastry. I can remember jam tarts when I was about five.
Interesting… chillies. A world without chillies does not bear thinking about.
Recipes or improvise?
Both. Follow a recipe at first then play around with it second time round.
Most underrated dish?
Chips. The perfect chip should be crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle.
Indispensable kitchen gadget or utensil?
Tell us a top cookery tip?
Be adventurous and try dishes you think are too complicated. Break them down and you will find they are much easier than you imagine.
Eat at home or eat out?
Hmmmm… neither. Eating at my friends’ houses would be my greatest pleasure. The sociability of food is amazing.
What’s Britain’s best kept food secret?
I can’t tell you that. It would not be a secret then, would it?
What are the key ingredients for a successful cookery class?
I would say planning. The recipes the students make are tested and retested. Over the course of the day students get to sample and make a wide range of dishes. Also its good to challenge the students to go beyond their comfort zone.
What do students enjoy most about learning to cook?
The sense of satisfaction that they achieved something at the start of the class they could not make. As well as eating all the nice food.
Click on the link for more information about the Vegetarian Society Cookery School