Every once in a while you just need to do something different. Do you ever feel that? You are a bit stuck in a rut and want to try something knew? This is definitely the case with my baking. I love to bake but I am fed up baking the same things over and over again. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result, so I think we can safely assume my baking wasn’t going to taste any different unless I changed it up!
Thankfully mum felt the same, so for part of her birthday present I booked us in to the Forestside Cookery School. Situated upstairs in Forestside shopping centre, it is a culinary heaven, created and developed by Chef Stephen Jeffers. The luxurious custom built space has everything you could think of to create your culinary masterpiece and for a moment I felt like I was transported to the Masterchef kitchen.
From Asian cuisine to pasta making made simple, an Irish bread masterclass to takeaway classics, Stephen has developed a calendar of events to suit all tastes and skills.
Stephen’s passion for educating the public as well as transforming ingredients into delicious delights beams through his kitchen. His years of experience in the N.I. cooking scene is evident through his abundance of knowledge, tips and tricks and in the team of experts that he brings in to assist him. During our Saturday Bakery Class, we were treated to help from Stephen in conjunction with Irish Bake Off Winner Stephen Chisholm!
We started our baking class off in the cookery schools own dining room, sipping on homemade lemonade – a sure fire way to forget the horrific blizzard outside. Right on time, the man himself Chef Stephen Jeffers & his beaming personality, introduced us to the team and invited us to join him at our stations in his bespoke kitchen. You can’t help but get excited when you meet Stephen and see his kitchen, the equipment and the produce Stephen has for you. His enthusiasm is contagious!
I cannot stress enough how stress free this class is! Everyone knows how chaotic baking can be so baking three new creations in four hours is enough to create a pressure cooker catastrophe but Stephen and his team have their teaching down to a fine art. You won’t have to measure an ingredient, wash a dish or worry about messing up your timings – the team are on hand to help everything run smoothly.
The class runs in a clear and easy to grasp format. Firstly, the chefs demonstrated how to make the dough for our doughnuts. Not only do they show you and talk you through the process but they allow you to quiz them during the demo, making it the perfect opportunity to ask any of those burning questions you have. After the first demonstration, you head back to your station with your partner to recreate what you just watched, but you aren’t alone. The chefs are on hand the entire time watching and helping you if (and when, in my case!) something goes wrong.
During our Saturday Bakery Class we were also treated to a light lunch which consisted of Fennel soup that Chef Jeffers rustled up beside us! Our lunch was incredible and everyone was quizzing him for the recipe afterwards which he happily obliged!
The brilliant bit about these classes is the laid back nature. There is no pretentiousness. People are there to learn but most importantly to have fun and the chefs encourage that.
Days like yesterday make me happy for so many reasons. Not only did we get to work alongside two professional chefs but we got to have a bit of craic doing it! We can often become so consumed by the monotonous nature of our lives and fear stepping outside of the box but I challenge you to jump out of it. Book one of Chef Stephen Jeffers class and enjoy something new.
You can check out the range of classes available here.