Last Friday, 30th October, was a little different to our usual Friday. Instead of logging on at PF Towers we donned our aprons and chef hats for a team building experience at Vaughan’s Kitchen, a cookery school run by the chef Peter Vaughan and his excellent front of house team.
The day came about as a result of our shared passion / obsession for good food. We spend our lunch breaks talking about things like ‘how to determine the ripeness of an avocado’ and ‘which type of lentils has Elliot brought in today’. Together with our Friday Graze snack swap-shop. I know, we’re so damn cool. So when we took a team vote for our next offsite experience cooking was the obvious choice. We chose Vaughan’s Kitchen because of their unique offering, naturally balanced food and assistance in arranging a perfect team session for us. They even shut the downstairs of the Bistro to accommodate us as the cookery school was full of half term birthday parties.
So to the day itself. We arrived at 11 and were warmly welcomed by Peter and the team with coffee and homemade shortcake. The day was off to a cracking start. We then headed off to the downstairs section of the Bistro for our individual baking challenge *cue dramatic Bake Off inspired music*.
The challenge appeared simple: Make cheese scones. But in practice there were lots of decisions around how we would flavour and spice the mix to our liking and we all went for very different styles.
Peter even made us a tear and share scone sweetened with locally brewed ale. There are no pictures of this as we literally inhaled it straight out the oven. No shame. Whilst the scones were cooling we moved on to our second pre-lunch challenge: Knife skills. Learning how to not cut our fingers off by creating a thumb guard and mastering the art of chopping an onion without crying. Not naming any names but some of the teams “gung-ho” attitude may have resulted in a few tears before lunchtime.
Lunch was put on for us by Peter and was the ultimate spiced fish and potato mezze with home-made hummus. Exceptional.
After this we had to walk it off and took in the sights of the market town and it’s famous hat shop. In the afternoon things got taken up a notch. No post lunch slouching was allowed. It was time to put on our game faces. The Team Challenge was on.
Peter split us into two teams, one of 3 one of 4. Both Sara’s were chosen as Head Chefs and the task was to produce the following:
We were given all the ingredients and (in true Bake Off style) no demo was given. The recipe itself was quite simple but the execution was key.
These were our creations:
Yes, the bottom left is inspired by the M&S Colin the Caterpillar cake. Other caterpillar cakes are available.
Peter called it a draw and gave us all the leftovers together with our scone creations and a signed copy of his book.
We then went upstairs to match wine and fruit together. Which was excellent and really clever as well as being all of our 5 a day - winning.
The fruit is out of shot, but honestly there was some, we’re not just counting the grapes.
Takeaways from our excellent day:
With Peter’s cookbook in tow the team have even gone on to be inspired to make some of the recipes again at home since the session.
Thanks to Peter and the team for a truly exceptional offsite, we’ll definitely be back… and next time we’ll get the train!comments powered by Disqus