Over the last year I have written two posts that have made reference to The Cook School Scotland in Kilmarnock. The first was a write up of the successful feastRen event last September where The Cook School were one of the main sponsors of the event, alongside Whole Foods Market Giffnock. The second was a post about the fantastic day that I had earlier this year under the tutelage of former Cook School head chef Phil Lewis and Jim Miller.
On the back of this, I was honoured to receive an invitation to the launch of The Cook School's new recipe book last week. The book, titled 'A Taste of The Cook School Scotland' brings a flavour of some of the delicious recipes by the in-house Chefs.
The book is packed full of their best loved recipes, from delicious classics to modern recipes from across the world, ensuring there's something for everyone.
Using their expert knowledge and experience, the Chefs have chosen 55 recipes which you can now use to produce delicious, fresh, home cooked food.
From every day meals for two to weekend feasts, the Cook School Scotland recipes will impress any guest.
Each starter and main course is packed full of flavours, from Cullen Skink and Hot Smoked Salmon Salad to Chicken Balmoral, Duck Wellington, Vegetable Tagine and Pesto Prawn Linguine. There are also spectacular desserts including Apple Tarte Tatin, Baked Alaska, Crème Brulée and melt in the mouth Dark Chocolate Fondant.
Each recipe comes with easy to follow instructions and is accompanied with a mouthwatering photograph to help you recreate each dish. Kilmarnock based photographer Guy Hinks is the man behind the stunning photographs that have the food almost jumping off of the pages.
As myself and Nicola mingled with the other guests, a mix of local Ayrshire business men & women and local politicians, highly skilled waiting staff were on hand to keep the champagne glasses topped up whilst serving up a wonderful array of freshly prepared canapés. Once gathered within the state of the art Miele kitchen, Operations Director of The Cook School - Aileen Stevenson, thanked us all for our attendance before explaining how the cook book project came about.
Earlier this year, with the support and guidance of their Patron, Duncan Bannatyne OBE, the Scottish Spina Bifida Association unleashed a new and creative fundraising platform where they invited organisations to accept The Dragon's Dare. Duncan Bannatyne had issued a challenge to an exclusive group of ten Scottish businesses to turn £500 of his own money into a minimum of £5000 in six months with all funds going towards Scottish Spina Bifida Association to help them continue to offer support and advice to those affected by Spina Bifida in Scotland, and their families.
At this point Aileen introduced Marylyn Boyle who is the Corporate Fundraising Manager for SSBA who gave a very informative talk about Spina Bifida and how it affects those who suffer from the condition. We were also informed of how much money (one million pounds per year) is needed in order to provide the support network in place just now and that all of the money raised from the sale of the new cook book would be used to continue to offer the important support network to their clients and their families.
After Marilyn's presentation, myself and the other guests were able to crowd around the front of the kitchen as we were given a demonstration in how to put together some of the delicious canapés that had been served over the evening. The night was also a great opportunity for The Cook School to introduce their new head chef, Bernie Plaisted. Australian chef Bernie brings a wealth of cooking experience from years down under as well as working at the famous River Cafe, Jamie's Fifteen and Pizza East in London, making sure that pupils at the cook school will be in safe hands over the coming months.
With the demonstration over, the chefs began to tidy up the kitchen while the guests got back polishing off the last of the canapés whilst doing a little bit of networking. With night drawing to a close it was time for people to start heading home, but not before passing the stand that had been set up to allow us all the opportunity to buy our own copy of the fantastic recipe book.
I really like the book, the dishes that have been chosen range from simple yet easy to prepare starters through to mains that might take a little more effort. I'm looking forward to getting back in the kitchen to give some of the recipes a go and will be sure to keep you up to date with the results. With a bit of luck my finished dishes will look as good as the stunning photos in the book! Of course the best thing about the cook book is that every penny of profit from every one sold will go towards a hugely worthy cause.
Help The Cook School Scotland win Duncan Bannatyne's challenge by getting your hands on your own copy of 'A Taste of the Cook School Scotland'. You can buy online or at the gift shop at the school in Kilmarnock and for £15, definitely great value for money.
Both myself and Nicola would like to thank everyone at The Cook School Scotland for their kind invitation to their book launch and wish them every success in winning this challenge.