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Simpsons Michelin Cookery School, Birmingham

simpsons Michelin Cookery School Birmingham

simpsons Michelin Cookery School Birmingham

Our group arrived in good time, ascending the steps to the Michelin-starred Simpsons Restaurant, in Edgbaston, at around 9.30am on a balmy winter’s Sunday morning.

The day ahead held much in store. We were to learn how to cook Michelin-style cuisine before enjoying a three course lunch. It promised to be a great day.
After enjoying teas and coffees in the Simpson Restaurant lounge, our instructor, the exceptional Helen Evans, took us through to the kitchen. “This is the beating heart of Simpsons,” she said. Our group marvelled at the industry on display.
Despite it being several hours before the restaurant opened for service, the kitchen was operating at full tilt. Chefs were preparing vegetables, making pasta, tasting sauces and working hard to get breads, pastries, desserts and other dishes ready for lunchtime.
Sous chef Matt Cheal was at the pass. He was standing in for Luke Tipping and Adam Bennett, Simpsons head chefs, who were away that day. “We work very methodically,” he said. “Everything is prepared well in advance so that there’s the least amount of fuss or pressure during service – and so that the food is as good as it can be.”
Cheal’s comments struck a chord. The kitchen flowed with streamlined efficiency. There was no shouting, no rushing around, no worrying – just a group of highly skilled chefs each working at their stations to make sure dishes were being cooked to perfection. After a 20-minute question and answer session with Helen and Matt, we were taken to Simpsons first floor cookery school where Helen and her assistant for the day, the award-winning chef Kristian Curtis, were waiting for us.
The menu that they planned to talk us through comprised a salmon starter, roast turkey main course (it was December!) and delicious chocolate and orange dessert, with a glass of fizz.
Each of us was handed a recipe book and apron and then asked to gather around an expansive front bench, where Helen was cooking. Her patter was exceptional, she talked us through methods and offered numerous handy tips, all of which could be put to good use at home.
“Cooking for a restaurant and cooking for a dinner party at home are two completely different disciplines,” she told us. “But there is one key skill that applies to both – be prepared.” And so she showed us how to prepare. A salmon roulade featuring a delicious herb and cream filling was prepared on clingfilm, followed into a sausage shape and then chilled in the fridge, so that it could later be cut into small cigar-shaped rounds.
A turkey was cooked numerous different ways: the legs being confited (poached in fat) for five hours, so that the meat fell away from the bone, before being mixed with an apricot and nut stuff and then rolled in filo pastry into cracker shapes. The crackers were deep fried – making for a savoury bite with plenty of crunch. The turkey itself was slow cooked for two hours at 85 degrees, before being removed the oven and rested. Before being served, it was returned to the oven for a quick 20-minute blast at 200 degrees C, so as to crisp the skin. When we tried slices later, it was deliciously moist.


Assorted vegetable accompaniments were made, all with a festive theme, including roasted parsnips in a delicious grain mustard and maple syrup glaze. Finally, it was time to turn our attention to desserts and Helen showed us how to make a memorable chocolate and orange ganache, which was poured into pre-baked mini flan cases and decorated with chocolate work.
After the morning’s instruction, which lasted for around two-and-a-half hours and included plenty of hands-on demonstrations and tastings, we were taken back into the restaurant to eat some of the fruits of our labours. The salmon starter was divine, the turkey roast sublime and the chocolate a perfect end to a delicious lunch.

The Simpsons Cookery School had proved itself remarkable value, a snip at just £125. Including a very informative visit by their Sommelier ‘Fannie’ who talked us through the best wines to match with each dish – which worked perfectly, and added another level to the dishes, and of course the wines. We’d made new friends, learned from the experts, enjoyed a fantastically filling lunch and left brimful of ideas to try out at home. It was a faultless experience.
Simpsons has long had the recipe for success – those of us who attended its cookery school were fortunate to learn all about it.

•         The Simpsons Cookery School starts at 9.45am arrival with tea, coffee and biscuits
•         There is an introduction from the chef and a look behind the scenes
•         An peritif of champagne precedes the cookery session.
•         Guests can enjoy wine tasting with the experienced sommelier
•         The experience ends with a three-course lunch with wine.

Simpsons Cook Book - Also available with lots of incredible photos, and tips with each recipe – if you ask nicely, they will get one signed for you!

Search for more on Simpsons Restaurant, its chefs, interviews, news and reviews Here

Visit their website  more details of the Simpsons Cookery School

By Gourmet Diner Words copyright ETM 2011/12 and pictures by www.leisuremarketingltd.co.uk

Welcome to Simpsons Le Ecole De Cusine

Welcome to Simpsons Le Ecole De Cusine

Simpsons cookery School celebration

Simpsons cookery School celebration

Simpson Hands on Cooking

Simpson Hands on Cooking

Simpsons Cookery School Kristian and Helen prepping

Simpsons Cookery School Kristian and Helen prepping

James Day of ETM, Wine Tasting

James Day of ETM, Wine Tasting

Krisitan Showing off the prepped dish

Krisitan Showing off the prepped dish

Cookery School Guests Enjoy our 3 course lunch & post prep chat

Cookery School Guests Enjoy our 3 course lunch & post prep chat

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