Philleigh Way Cookery School - A taste of Italy in the heart of Cornwall

Boutique Retreats very own Jaz is invited to Philleigh Way Cookery School by head chef Rupert Cooper to take part in one of his in-depth and fun Italian Cooking courses. A day out of the office in one of the most beautiful locations Cornwall to learn how to make delicious food with a top chef? Yes please, Jaz exclaimed!

The fog of a February morning couldn’t stop me grinning from ear to ear as I drove from my home in Penryn to the King Harry Ferry. I was on my way over to the Philleigh Way Cookery School to start my day-long Italian cooking course; though I knew Philleigh Way by name, I hadn’t yet had the joy of going there since living in Cornwall and now was my big chance!

Just a few minutes after leaving the ferry, I found myself in front of the pretty establishment with head chef Rupert waving at me through the window with a pot of coffee in hand ready. The kitchen was modern, intimate and set up perfectly for a small group of people to get up and personal with the food and the chefs. I felt as though I was walking into someone’s home, and even more so when greeted by Rupert who chatted to me and the other four students, telling us about himself and his background as well as enquiring about our everyday lives, as if we were old friends.

Rupert had kindly prepared us hot cross buns, fresh juice, plenty of tea and coffee which we munched down on as he laid out the lessons of the day which involved a variety of different recipes from bread to pasta to sauces – I have to say, it was everything I would have ordered at an Italian restaurant! Each lesson involved a step by step demonstration which was then given to us on a recipe sheet to try ourselves with Rupert’s aid and guidance.

One of the first things we tried was baking Focaccia, from creating the dough to proving it to finally baking it throughout the day – I fell utterly in love with breadmaking. My father is a French trained baker with over 30 years under his belt and I had to admit that I was more the taster than the baker in the family! It was wonderful to finally have a go at it myself and create something even my dad would be envious of!

Rupert then cooked us up Minestrone soup for lunch made from simple left-over seasonal ingredients, following in suit of the Italian ideology of simple but delicious dishes. Everything was so easy to follow and when taking a sip I was utterly stunned by how it faultless it was; it looked so simply but had so many different notes and flavours to it. It was a lovely feeling to eat something so delicious that I knew I could create in my own kitchen back at home. 

After finishing lunch with a glass of complimentary fizz, we then got to the part I’d been the most excited about – pasta! I am head over heels for pasta and have attempted many times at home to create it, but I’ve never been quite happy with the results… now I got the chance to learn from the master how it is done! Rupert was so patient with all of us, helping us when we needed it, guiding us gently but letting us be our own chefs and creative minds. We made tagliatelle and ravioli parcels which we could then sample, and I am ashamed to admit I made both… and finished both plates!

The time whizzed by and by the time 4pm came around we had created several different pasta dishes, got the Focaccia out the oven, cooled our sauces and had many dishes sitting happily in our bellies – as well as tiramisu to take home for desert later! I had learnt many new skills and homed in on others that needed refreshing and all in a lovely and friendly atmosphere. I took my leave with many boxes of leftovers (highly recommend you bring some Tupperware with you!) and waved Rupert and the other students goodbye. On the ferry home, I tucked into the fresh focaccia, munching away whilst I watched the dolphins on the river – the perfect end to the perfect day.

Feeling inspired? Have a look through our luxury self-catering cottages in South Cornwall here.

Philleigh Way Cookery School, Court Farm, Philleigh, Truro, Cornwall, TR2 5NB | 01872 580893 |


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