Wilmslow Kitchen Cookery School on Christmas cooking
PUBLISHED: 00:00 07 December 2016
Sarah and David Bridge share their expert tips.
A kitchen at Christmas is generally a place that, if you’re not cooking, you want to stay away from. It’s a room that’s often filled with stress, overflowing pans and charcoaled turkey as you frantically try and make sure your roast dinner is picture perfect as it’s placed in front of expectant friends and family.
However, it doesn’t have to be this hard, explain Sarah and David Bridge who own Wilmslow Kitchen Cookery School. The husband and wife duo opened their school in 2014 after 40 years combined experience in the international catering industry. They have worked with many accomplished chefs such as the Roux brothers and Gordon Ramsay.
Their many courses, which include introductions to breadmaking and the perfect steak to Thai takeaway and Mediterranean cookery, aim to simplify the Michelin cooking methods and recipes they have picked up throughout their careers and make them easy to create at home.
‘At Christmas, it’s all about tips and tricks, as well as time-saving elements,’ explained Sarah, originally from Liverpool. The couple moved to Wilmslow ten years ago after living in London, where David still works in the industry.
‘We love having classes at this time of year,’ explained David. His self-confessed Mrs Claus is in charge of the desserts on their Christmas Day, and he looks after the more savoury elements. ‘It’s a foodie season so people really get into it and it’s enjoyable to take a class. It’s all about translating the chef techniques into an accessible reality where people can feel confident to recreate things at home, and are able to pick up all the ingredients locally.’
So what’s it like at home on Christmas day with the Bridges? They admit they do enjoy going to town with their dinner, but they keep it traditional. ‘We do turkey or goose with stuffing, but for me it’s all about getting the vegetables right,’ said Sarah, who revealed that when she lived in London she used to transport a cooked turkey on the train back up to Liverpool, along with all her clothes and presents. Her cooking inspiration obviously didn’t come from her parents, as she playfully described how her dad used to refer to the smoke alarm as the dinner bell.
‘I also bake a tiramisu and pavlova, as I can make them at the same time and use both the egg white and yolk so there’s no waste. I also make a bonkers trifle!’
Sarah and David’s top tips:
1. Have all your serving dishes ready and know what goes into each dish beforehand. Also make sure they all fit onto the table.
2. Choose vegetables that hold their heat and can be kept warm without spoiling. Whole roasted carrots (excellent for portioning), braised cabbage and celeriac puree are great options.
3. Use foil takeaway containers that food can be prepared in advance and stored, but also can be heated up in the oven - saving you a giant pile of dishes. Also invest in parchment paper as it avoids scorching trays and washing up.
4. For roasted potatoes, parboil them and put them in semolina and oil the day before. Keep them in a cool place – not the fridge. This means you only have to roast them on the day and they are extra crispy. For mash potato, bake them in the oven and then halve before putting them through a ricer. The skin is left out and you avoid the fuss of peeling and boiling.
5. Make sure you have extra chairs, you never know who is going to turn up!