As a bit of a foodie it was a great surprise to get a gourmet cookery course for a Christmas present. It would be a great opportunity to learn something new but also enjoy a new restaurant by a talented chef. The course was hosted at Heathcotes Brasserie in Preston. The restaurant is owned by Paul Heathcote a chef that prides himself on cooking traditional food that is locally sourced and seasonal. He has also made appearances across the normal tv cookery shows. http://www.heathcotesbrasserie.co.uk/
The Cookery course started at 10am with tea and homemade biscuits ( a nice touch!) in Heathcotes Brasserie, and the demonstrations started at 10.30. It was a little disappointing that the course is called a cookery course but no cooking is actually done by those paying. The demonstration was done by chef Carl Noller who was very entertaining and informative. However, the set up of the room meant that only those on the front row could see everything that he was doing, those on the middle row had limited views and those in the back row had to stand most of the time to see. The demonstration certainly wasn’t set up for such a large group of people. I think the set up of the room should certainly be reconsidered or do smaller groups. The group was encouraged to ask questions but little about technique was discussed and the demonstration felt a little rushed. The dishes that were created were simple to make but looked as if they were harder once complete ( which certainly what you want when having friends around for dinner!)
The demonstration of 4 dishes which lasted just under 1 hour, was followed by a wine tasting session for those who had chosen to do it. We didn’t choose this option as we have done wine tasting before. This meant that we went to sit in the bar for almost 1 hour ( the wine tasting was supposed to last 45 mins) with our complimentary prosecco. I felt as if this time was wasted, and that the wine tasting should have been done after the lunch as it meant those not doing the tasting were sitting around with nothing to do. Once the wine tasting was finished we were ushered back into the dining room and our three course lunch of the meals demonstrated earlier served.
The food itself was simply presented, flavoursome and lived up to expectation. The service however was a little lacking and it made me wonder whether it was what one should expect in the restaurant during evening service. The table cloths were made of paper, which on our table had spots of grease on them, which means new ones are not set after each sitting or each day. Also, my sister’s plate was left ( while the rest of us had our plate cleared) until her main course arrived. It was very odd to watch the waitress take the other plates at the table, leave one, and then return twice to fill water and still leave the empty plate. The service left much to be desired, and if the restaurant is looking to achieve awards and standing its something they will definitely need to work on it.
Overall it was an enjoyable day, with a lovely lunch, but the course description is miss leading as we expected to actually do some cooking. We also got to take home a copy of his book so that we could recreate the dishes at home! For anyone looking at doing one of these courses I would check to see what is actually involved, as for some people demonstrations are just what they are looking for. As a restaurant, the food was lovely, and definitely worth checking out.