Autumnal Escapes

Cooking up Cornish Treats at Philleigh Way Cookery School

A gloomy autumnal morning finds me venturing to the Roseland in South Cornwall to Philleigh Way Cookery School, for a day of cooking up some Cornish treats. Today I get to meet inspiringly passionate Head Chef, Rupert, in the rustic and rural setting of his cookery school. I'll be learning how to recreate local delicacies, build my skills as an amateur baker and be inspired to fall back in love with the kitchen (not just as a foodie).

Venturing through the winding country roads of the Roseland on a gloomy October morning, a low level of mist clouded my pathway. The golden autumn light cast an ethereal glow on the twisting trees, adding an air of suspense to my journey. After a short trip across the King Harry Ferry, nestled deep in enchanting woodland, I drove down sleepy countryside lanes to reach the quaint hamlet of Philleigh Way. What better way to unplug from reality, than in a rural hideaway with no phone signal – an idyllic journey to simpler times. The renowned Philleigh Way Cookery School is just hidden from the roadside view, this simply rustic cobbled-stoned barn rests on a charming local farm.

Today I was let loose from the office to experience a day of Cornish cooking at this renowned culinary school. To describe myself as lacking in culinary flair would be more than a slight understatement, better acquainted with supervising (with wine in hand) than at the hob’s helm. Nonetheless, this deemed me the most ‘appropriate’ student for a day of cooking up Cornish delights at Philleigh Way. As you can imagine, this filled me with a mixture of dread and anticipation, soon overshadowed by my excitement as a famed foodie. All trepidations were immediately dismissed on arrival, stepping out of the car to meet serene silence! Nothing but the soft chirps of birdsong – just heavenly.

Entering the sweet, rural barn I was met by the welcoming aroma of freshly brewed coffee and warm home-baking. Chef Rupert runs the cookery school, an incredibly approachable and passionate cook, all reflected in his kind greeting – and the morning treats waiting for us on the dining table. An autumnal delight graced the cake stand; a pumpkin and whiskey cake, deliciously paired with an artisan coffee of our choosing. With a cosy atmosphere radiating throughout the kitchen space, my eagerness for the day ahead increased tenfold. Myself and the other seven participants took our seats around the table to indulge in the coffee and cake, get to know one another and discuss the contents of our day. As students of the ‘Cornwall in a Day’ course, we had an idea that our creations would include a variety of Cornish delicacies, however the exact schedule remained a mystery. Each of us received a folder complete with the recipe for each dish of the day, to keep after the course just in case we fancied recreating our culinary delights.

Our first dish of the day was the county’s sweetheart, the traditional Cornish pasty! Despite growing up in Cornwall, I’d never even attempted to recreate this local favourite – usually best left to the experts. Chef Rupert’s knowledge of Cornish cuisine clearly inspires his passion for food, as he informed the group of its history and origin alongside witty interjections. After a step-by-step demonstration from the chef himself, we were set free in the fully equipped kitchen. Each donned with a stylish Philleigh Way apron, we headed to our kitchen stations to get baking! Despite being an amateur in the pastry chef department, my new-found skills as a pâtissier were established by Rupert’s support and encouragement – who knew!

Next up was the beloved gem of Cornish seafood, locally sourced crab meat. With a savoury tart on the agenda, things were about to get technical! Following Rupert’s guidance alongside jovial encouragement from the rest of the group, we worked in pairs to create our decadent masterpiece.

Before we knew it, a spot of lunch was on the horizon; after filleting our own mackerel, frying it up and serving with a delicious beetroot salad, we were ready to tuck in. With a much-deserved glass of sparkle, we revelled in light chatter and relished our hand-crafted luncheon. Before returning to the last dish of the day, our stations were kindly re-laid with the necessary ingredients by Rupert’s kitchen assistant. What could be better than cooking up a storm, without having to wash up!

Cornish fairings were our final delicacy to whip up, sweet ginger biscuits with mixed spices; just perfect for the autumn season. Once again, my pastry skills were put to the test. Our creations were cooked in the rustic Aga for around 10 minutes to reveal delectably warm ginger cookies, with an even more mesmerizing aroma! We ‘taste-tested’ over a pot of tea, if only to ensure our fairings were edible. The verdict? Delicious.

Reconnect with nature, through fresh local produce and inspiring recipes along with the gentle guidance of a passionate mentor. Philleigh Way Cookery School offers an array of different day courses, from bread making and patisserie masterclasses to Middle Eastern and Japanese cookery days. There’s no excuse not to brush up on your novice skills for new-found confidence in the kitchen, or if you’re already a self-professed maestro why not delve into a realm of new and inspirational cuisines. Whether this experience is for yourself or a gift for a loved one, a day of fun and creativity awaits you at Philleigh Way.

Feeling curious? Visit Philleigh Way Cookery School to view the variety of inspiring cookery courses available online.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in South Cornwall here 

Philleigh Way Cookery School, Court Farm, Philleigh, Truro, Cornwall TR2 5NB | 01872 580893 | info@philleighway.co.uk

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