Ashburton Cookery School Macaron Course (A 5* Review)!
I was gifted a half day macaron course at Ashburton Cookery School as my birthday present and thought “Ok, this seems interesting, why not give it a go and see what I can learn”.
Not thinking I could learn much more as I had already made macarons.
How wrong I was.
And how pleased I was!
I always thought that unless it was a well-known name like Jamie Oliver, then it would probably be just an OK cookery school.
A Very Professional Greeting
Just off the A38 in Devon, I entered the purpose built Ashburton cookery school buildings and was pleasantly greeted by the receptionist.
She guided me through to the waiting area, just past the on-site baking shop, where I was offered tea and coffee.
There were a couple of people already there anxiously sizing up the other attendees to see where their particular skill sets lay in comparison.
I must admit, I was also quite apprehensive as you are never quite sure with these events as to whether you are going to fit in or made to look stupid based on your lack of baking skills.
Honestly though there was no reason to worry.
Everyone felt the same.
Once the class had all arrived – just 9 in total this time – we all got along extremely well and were all very excited to get on with the baking class.
Master Chef Bakers Ready To Go
When you are taken through to the cooking area it was like being led onto the television set of Master Chef or The Great British Bake Off.
I know, I’m “bigging” up my part here!
But it really was.
All the chef stations are fully equipped and laid out with everything we needed to create our macarons masterpieces.
At the front of the class our tutor stands and demonstrates with overhead projectors and a large TV screen.
Very impressive I thought.
On this occasion our tutor chef was Ross Tregidgo. He trained as a Commis Chef in his home town of Tavistock, before moving on to various hotels in France and London, eventually working his way up to Chef de Partie at the Michelin starred Horn of Plenty restaurant in Devon under Peter Gordon.
Ross is very easy going and makes you believe you can bake anything.
Which was quite handy, as some of the guests had never even cracked open an egg before.
So they, and I, were put at ease straight away.
Ross demonstrated the various methods used to make the meringue mixture which features heavily when making macarons. He also demonstrated which flavourings we should use and how they work together in the finished product.
Then it was our turn.
What maybe quite a daunting task for most people actually turned into an enjoyable morning of baking.
We all helped each other if there was a problem and generally there was a great feeling of camaraderie between us “Master Chefs” in waiting.
Following a coffee break and more chat with Ross and my other new found friends, it was time to check out our baking results.
And The Results From Our Baking Course?
The oven doors were opened and a gasp went round the room as we were all surprised to see our creations looking like shop bought perfections.
A little over the top I know, but it was exciting to reveal what we had baked.
All our macaron shells were baked and risen perfectly.
Now we had the very enjoyable task of filling each shell with pre-made fillings of lemon curd, Creme Patisserie or chocolate ganache.
On shell decoration demonstrations followed and we all started spraying and painting with our chocolate filled piping bags, covering nearly everything in sight.
Not quite the desired effect I was after but still great fun.
Finally boxes were supplied and we all left Ashburton Cookery School with our beautifully decorated and tasty macarons.
Heads held high we proudly we left the building for judgement by our families waiting at home.
I didn’t have long to wait!
Freeze Your Macarons For The Future – No Chance!
Chef Ross said “Don’t worry about making too many as they freeze really well and you’ll have a constant supply”.
Mine didn’t get anywhere near the freezer as the family had scoffed them all before the day was out.
Rare praise indeed – but also quite annoying as I now have to make them again for myself to taste.
I’m not really complaining though.
I had a really enjoyable time and learned so much in such a short period of time.
Next time I am looking for cookery courses near me I will definitely book in here.
The staff were all so helpful and genuinely excited to see us.
Also, the venue has been designed to help you learn in an enjoyable and encouraging way.
I highly recommend you check out their courses. They range from a few hours long to a whole week of intensive cooking training for all levels of skill.
A lovely and memorable birthday present.
But next time I want to have a go at the Italian 1 day course or the patisserie course.
Never enough hints!