A Year of Kent Gourmet with Andy McLeish
Follow Chapter One’s chef patron, Andy McLeish, on a year long journey to discover the fabulous food Kent has to offer.
Last year when I decided to launch cookery classes at Chapter One, I wanted to create exciting courses where I could pass on my experience, share tips, teach people essential cooking skills and generally help them become better home cooks.
Because of my profession, I frequently get asked questions about food and how to prepare specific dishes. In the past, there have been a few occasions where I’ve attended a friend’s dinner party and somehow have been persuaded to ‘help out’ in the kitchen. A few years ago, it really dawned on me, especially with the rise in the number of TV cooking shows that there is a huge demand for people wanting to learn how to become better cooks.
I’m very much a field-to-fork chef and even hunt for the game that’s served in my restaurant. In addition, I love nose-to-tail dining, and at Chapter One I incorporate this philosophy – nothing from an animal is wasted. I even use the bones to create my stocks. The style of my classes reflect these practices. For example we hold a ‘Field-to-Fork’ class, where I teach basic butchery skills and demonstrate whole carcase butchery of a roe deer. Attendees will also learn the different cuts of meat and its uses.
This year, I have added three new classes including a pasta making class, a canapé preparation course and on 23rd December I have created a turkey preparation class where guests will prep their bird and stuffing and take it home with them for their Christmas lunch or dinner.
I’ve designed the classes to be small with no more than 10 people. They are extremely informal, as I like to teach in a laid back atmosphere and it’s important to me to make them as interactive as possible, to ensure the class are getting as much out of it as possible. Of course, I couldn’t run our cookery school without encouraging my students to buy local ingredients and celebrating Kentish produce. This county without a doubt has an abundance of quality food.
The aim of my classes are not only to help you cook and eat better but to also support our local producers.
This month’s recipe is taken from one of my courses; it’s a French classic and absolutely delicious – my take on the Apple Tarte Tartin. Enjoy!
Apple Tarte Tatin
5 Jazz apples (or Pink Ladies)
100g caster sugar
Mixed spices (vanilla, star anise, cinnamon)
75g unsalted butter
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 sheet of rolled puff pastry, slightly bigger than the pan
Peel the apples and cut each into quarters. Remove the core and round the edges of the apples with a potato peeler. Caramelise the sugar and spices together in the pan to achieve a dark caramel colour, then immediately remove from the heat and add the butter and lemon juice. Leave to cool for five minutes and arrange the apples as neatly and tightly as possible, then cover with the puff pastry and trim the edges. Tuck the pastry in and around the apples and cut a cross on top in the centre. Return to the heat and caramelise until the sugar starts boiling around the sides of the pan. Bake at 185°C for around 45 minutes. Remove the pastry as soon as the Tatin comes out of the oven and leave aside to cool for a few minutes. Then replace the pastry on top and place a plate on top of the pan and quickly turn the plate and the pan over serve immediately with either vanilla ice cream or crème fraiche.
Follow Andy on Twitter: @andy23471
Chapter One, Farnborough Common
Locksbottom, Kent BR6 8NF
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