COOKING SCHOOLS - learn to cook . . . train to be a chef
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BELLE ISLE SCHOOL OF COOKERY
. . . in one of the most beautiful settings in Ireland

Belle Isle School of CookeryAt the Belle Isle School of Cookery in Northern Ireland you will discover the delights of cooking in a relaxed atmosphere, with expert tuition, using top quality seasonal Irish produce. Our hands-on cookery courses and demonstrations will introduce you to some of Ireland’s most exciting and innovative culinary ideas in a cookery school in one of the most beautiful settings in Ireland.

What Gisela Williams of Town and Country had to say . . .

For a destination that feels as if it’s off the map and back in time, escape to the aptly named Belle Isle School of Cookery, on a small island in Upper Lough (Gaelic for “lake”) Erne, in Northern Ireland. The school, which offers a range of culinary and wine courses, opened in 2004 on a sprawling, bucolic Seventeenth century estate owned by the Duke of Abercorn, who purchased it in 1991 and began to refurbish it the same year.

Fresh local ingredients headline the repertoire of the school’s young chef, Liz Moore, who has worked as a private chef and caterer to Ireland’s aristocratic families. Guided by her motto “Be surprising, but keep it simple,” she teaches up to ten students at a time in lively sessions held in the cosy but state-of-the-art kitchen.

The property’s old stone stables have been converted into self-catering, simply furnished apartments for students. But to live like royalty between lessons about puddings and wild game, book a room in Belle Isle Castle, an elegant vine-covered manor with rooms designed by the late David Hicks.

What the Customers say . . .

'Our efforts in the kitchen were rewarded each day, first with a very welcome glass of wine before an excellent light lunch which we all enjoyed with some pride, tinged with amazement that we could have produced it . . .'
Kate from Enniskillen

'The main thing I will remember is Liz’s enthusiasm and love of food'
David from London

'Absolutely wonderful! Very informative and informal. Liz is a terrific tutor making everything look positively simple!'
Lucy from Belfast

'Irish food has come alive and in such beautiful surroundings too!'
Carl from New York

COURSES

At Belle Isle we run 1 day non-residential courses as well as residential weekends and intensive 4-week diploma courses. The Belle Isle courses are designed for any level of cooking ability, from beginner through to experienced cooks. Each course takes a maximum of 12 people allowing for a very 'hands-on' approach in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.

In the evening, after a wine tasting, guests will be invited back into the kitchen again. Here they can watch the finishing touches being put to a truly gourmet dinner, which they will then enjoy in the dining room overlooking the Florence Court mountains.

It is quite amazing the amount of culinary delights that can be produced in any one day. Liz teaches with such enthusiasm and passion that all guests are guaranteed to return home armed with new recipes, tips and advice and most of all an eagerness to become more adventurous in the kitchen!

School Facilities

The purpose built Cookery School is located close to the estate's main courtyard. The kitchen itself is warm and inviting with wood being used as the primary building material. An oil-fired 'Aga' will feature strongly in the school as will conventional gas & electric cookers.

As good light is essential in any kitchen, the Belle Isle School of Cookery has been designed to take advantage of natural daylight and in doing so affords stunning views of the Florence Court Mountains. The clarity of light and space creates a kitchen which is a pleasure to work in and an optimum environment to discover the delights of Irish Cuisine.

The work stations are designed for guests to work comfortably in pairs and are adjustable in height so are suitable for children over 8 years and of course, wheelchair friendly.

4 Week Diploma Course - Essential Cooking

"Essential Cooking" is an intensive 4 week course designed for people who are interested in learning the key skills to start a job in cooking. It is aimed at those who want to work as holiday cooks, either at sea and on land e.g. chalet cooks. It offers the students a chance to create their own style and enhance their repertoire, as well as gaining confidence. This is a well rounded intensive course covering 4 modules - specific techniques including:

  • bread making
  • knife work
  • pastry and sugar work
  • cheese making
  • preserving
  • menu planning and budgeting

This course is accredited by Omagh & Enniskillen colleges. Successful students that receive the diploma will be introduced to companies that are looking to recruit - early booking is advised.

For more information see below.

or available dates and / or to book

Weekend courses

The highly successful Weekend or Long Weekend courses have been created with the same emphasis on Seasonal Cooking and are held over a 3 day period. Accommodation and full board is included.

for available dates and / or to book

1 Day courses & Demonstration days

These courses are ideal for the busy cook with all courses being of only one day's duration. There is a wide variety of courses to whet the appetite and the Belle Isle School of Cookery is sure you will want to try more than one! Lunch is included but accommodation is not included.

for available dates and / or to book

Evening Courses

Starting at 7:00 pm on evenings during the week, Liz Moore will give demonstrations lasting two hours with a glass of wine and plenty of tasting! Accommodation not included

for available dates and / or to book

FOUR WEEK DIPLOMA COURSE

This is an essential cookery course for anyone with strong culinary ambitions and who wishes to go on to cook professionally. The course offers more than 4 weeks of menus using recipes that are easily adaptable. The students start each morning in pairs, making bread, followed by preparation for lunch and dinner. Each week the skills that have been learned will be broadened and built upon.

Every Thursday evening, the students will dine together in the dining room, taking turns in groups of three to cook for the others in a different environment under the watchful eye of their tutor. There will be tasks assigned at the end of every week in order to monitor the progress of the students.

Students are given accommodation in the courtyard of the estate, just 100 yards from the cookery school. The apartments are self-catering and a welcome package will be provided. Each day, bread baked in the school will be taken back to the apartments by the students (who are residential) along with a dish that they have made for supper. Lunch will be provided at the school.

The course runs from Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 4:00 pm. On the second to last day of the course, spouses / parents of the students are invited to join everyone for dinner in the castle.

The course will explore many styles of food, with the emphasis on fresh and simple ingredients. The students will be guided in European and Asian food, drawing on these styles to make them flexible as well as knowledgeable. The food will generally reflect the trend for healthier, lighter food with real taste.

Each week an afternoon will be devoted to wine tasting and matching certain foods to certain wines.

Objective:

  • To gain a good knowledge of cookery using master recipes, applicable in all situations.
  • To learn to be organised and efficient in the kitchen.
  • To become familiar with safety in the kitchen.
  • To budget successfully.

The course is broken up into 4 modules:

Week one:
Starts with basic techniques, hygiene, bread making and knife work. Each day will consist of preparation for lunch and dinner (Dinner will be taken back with the students at the end of each day to the apartments).

Bases for master recipes will be covered and then enhanced over the next three weeks, such as emulsion sauces, roux bases and oil infusions. Sample recipes for this week may include Tomato & fennel bread, Roast tomato & charred pepper soup, Grilled butterflied leg of lamb with saffron potatoes, Autumn fruit jelly with lemon syrup. The first part of the wine course will take place during the week.

Week two:
Adding more master recipes and building on the existing ones from the previous week, during this second week we turn our attention to sourcing ingredients and storage. New techniques such as pastry and sugar work are introduced and incorporated into the menus for the week. Recipes for this week may include, Traditional soda bread, Home-made ravioli with squash and sage butter, Chicken and black pudding terrine en croute, crepe suzette. There will be an outing to our Butcher one evening and a hands on sausage making session.

Week three:
Continues to broaden techniques including basic cheese making and preserving fruits and vegetables. Nutrition will be covered and the importance of balanced diets even whilst entertaining. Low fat menus will be covered this week as well as versatile vegetarian options. Sample menus may include, Yeast bread with seaweed, Pear & winter root soup, Roast pheasant with parsnip crisps, Mixed berries with yoghurt cheese.

Week four:
During this last week, students are encouraged as far as possible to be creative and to budget accordingly. We will focus on menu planning and budgeting for different events, Recipes may include, Bread with caramelised leeks and pepper, Game terrine with juniper berries, Pan fried fillets of Turbot with vanilla, valrhona chocolate mousse with whiskey infused amaretti biscuits. The final part of the wine course will take place this week, culminating in a “family banquet” in the castle, where certificates will be presented.

More details

Each day will consist of demonstrations followed by a “hands on” practical session for the recipe previously demonstrated. It is important for the students to cook as much as possible in order to understand the techniques involved. There will also be some short lectures to attend given by our butchers, cheese makers, tea importers etc.

Students will also be taught to clean as they go! Cleanliness in any kitchen is very important and is second only to being well organised!

Each week, students will learn the skills necessary for the preparation of meat, fish and vegetable dishes. As every dish is started from scratch, stocks, infusions, sauces and the use of gelatine and yeast will also be covered. All ingredients will be presented to the students before each recipe but no previous preparations will have taken place by the staff members except for the demonstrations.

The four week Diploma course is not only about learning the art of good food preparation but it will also cover the sourcing of food, recycling both food packaging and food waste as well as the issues of animal rights and responsible consumerism.

for available dates and / or to book

WINE COURSE

Regular courses

Wine and good food go hand in hand - during the 4 week and weekend courses wine will feature as part of the learning and appreciation process. The School aims to guide you through the matching of wine with the food you create - this will help in building your understanding and knowledge of wine. Belle Isle works in partnership with the leading wine experts.

Belle Isle also offers specific courses where wine will be the main focus and attention, with winemakers and wine 'personalities' giving wine-specific talks at Belle Isle.

On those occasions the School will find an excuse to provide some interesting food to accompany the specialised wines that are being tasted. Further to this they will be planning gourmet wine and food weekends in the months to come - if you would like to attend and be part of their wine tasting club, let them know, so that they will be able to invite you to these special events as and when they occur, email winetasting@irishcookeryschool.com.

At Belle Isle they can also offer a personalised wine-specific programme for you and your friends / colleagues / clients. All you need is a minimum of eight like-minded people - the School will provide everything else, please email bespokewinecourse@irishcookeryschool.com

CHEFS

Liz Moore, Chef and Manager

The School's talented chef Liz Moore provides fun and practical instruction in the art of cooking and kitchen management. Liz Moore is a talented, experienced and passionate Chef from neighbouring Co. Monaghan who will instruct and guide guests in the art of cooking and kitchen management.

Liz has cooked for many prestigious events in Ireland and can include Her Majesty the Queen of England as one of the more notable dignitaries to have tasted her delicious culinary delights.

Liz is known throughout Ireland for her unique approach to the kitchen and through her philosophy of adopting a modern view, local ingredients will be transformed and mingled with traditional Irish recipes. Guided by her expert tuition, guests will gain the confidence to be creative and extend the boundaries of their culinary skills, in the state of the art kitchens overlooking Lough Erne.

Naseem Booth

Naseem Booth was born in Nairobi, Kenya and moved of England at the age of 17. Influenced by her Indian background, in particular her mother, she developed a love of cooking from the early age of 12. After studying and working in catering and management for 17 years Naseem moved to Ireland.

She has been a part-time lecturer for over 10 years at Fermanagh College and in 2006, inspired by her students recipes and with their help she raised funds to publish a cookery book 'Cooking Around the World.' Sales of the book have so far raised £32,000 for Charity. Naturally Naseem has a particular interest in authentic Indian Food but she is also passionate about baking and cake decoration.

Ethos

At the Belle Isle School of Cookery they aim to stir the imagination - to find natural flare where once lay only a fear of grams and ounces - to inspire in you a confidence to learn new techniques and a desire to perfect existing skills.

The School's ethos is to provide simple, flexible and practical instruction whether you enjoy gourmet cooking or simply wish to host a dinner party without fear and trepidation!

Up to twelve guests are taught at any one time allowing for expert tuition in a fun and relaxing atmosphere.

ACCOMMODATION

The Belle Isle School of Cookery offers a range of accommodation options. Experience the luxury and heritage of Belle Isle Castle, enjoy modern conveniences in the award winning Self-Catering Courtyard Apartments or relax in one of the Estate Cottages. Whatever your choice you can be assured of quality and comfort in a beautiful woodland setting amidst the Fermanagh Lakelands.

The Courtyard

Belle Isle's Courtyard has recently been converted into eight individual self-catering apartments. All have earned a four-star rating from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and each has been sympathetically designed to compliment the warmth and strength of the original building materials.

Each Courtyard Apartment has its own character and style. Some are suitable for use by disabled visitors, another has a children's loft while sleeping options range from singles to those large enough for six people.

Belle Isle Castle

The Castle has been sensitively restored to meet the demands of modern living, retaining its original layout and architectureal features so guests can still enjoy the romance of a bygone era. Experience an authentic Country House atmosphere without obtrusive modern restorations, where antique furniture and paintings by Victorian masters are offset beautifully by the dramatic colour scheme created by esteemed international interior designer David Hicks.

The eight bedrooms and seven bathrooms within the castle can cater for up to fourteen people in complete comfort and style.

CONTACT DETAILS
  Belle Isle School of Cookery
Lisbellaw
Enniskillen
County Fermanagh
Northern Ireland
BT94 5HG
 
Phone:
+44 (0)28 6638 7231
Fax:
+44 (0)28 6638 7261
Email:
info@irish-cookery-school.com
Web:
www.irish-cookery-school.com
 
 
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