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Culinary Crafts

Culinary Masterclass review by Anne Ford
September suppers were my introduction to these wonderful celebrations of food and cooking. Head Chef Justin Kett invests his master classes with practical knowledge, talent, enthusiasm and creative ideas. Sitting in the autumn sunshine amongst a group of 30 people in one of the lovely old rooms of the hotel, I learnt how to create a range of inspirational dishes, from soups, to pies, to unique salads, in almost no time.

The Swan cannot, of course, always count on a golden morning to enhance the proceedings, but the staff do everything they can to make the master classes truly effective, providing printed recipes of all the meals prepared, together with detailed instructions, really comfortable chairs and fresh drinks - and then, of course, there is the spontaneous charm and exuberance of Justin Kett!

As Justin displays his celebrated culinary skills, offering tips and fascinating facts, we all learn and appreciate so much more about cooking good food than seems possible in just two-and-a-half hours. The reason why ingredients are used, in a particular order and in specific quantities, together with amusing asides, provide a wonderful accompaniment to the smells and tastes of the morning’s event. Justin’s enthusiasm is infectious, and soon some of the participants are asking a variety of questions, and making notes on the recipe sheets supplied, as they are offered follow-up advice and guidance. Meanwhile, everyone enjoys sampling, tasting and watching, as the aromas of coriander, thyme and limes invade the room.

Prior to the master class we had been treated to fresh coffee and homemade biscuits in one of the pretty sitting rooms, and, just when the celebrations of the morning seem to be coming to a close, there is an excellent lunch for us all to enjoy in the galleried dining room. The Swan offers this package at £35.95 per person, and it is an amazing event. The culinary arts really are a transforming experience and I intend to use nutmeg, ginger and mint more subtly, but to greater effect, in the future, not to mention the delights of poached plums! The only downside is that I now realise I am in desperate need of a new liquidiser, but then I’m good to go!
For me this culinary master class was inspirational and I intend to go again; especially as other master classes this year promise to be equally magical. At Hallowe’en, Justin Kett is offering a course that will show you how to have stress-free dinner parties and, on 28th November, will put his culinary skills to work to demonstrate how to make Christmas entertaining easy. Now that is something I would really like to know.

Anne Ford
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