Thyme Cookery School
Southrop Manor, Southrop, Gloucestershire , GL7 3NX
01367 850 174 | www.thyme.co.uk
- Advanced Chef Skills
- Bread Making
- Canapés & Dinner Parties
- Global Cuisines
- Pastry, Cakes and Puddings
Food and Travel Review
Note: Thyme at Southrop has since been renamed as Thyme Cookery School.
The best parts of some cookery courses are often the bits in between the actual cooking. It could be when you get to chew the fat with the tutor and ask questions about how to do this dish, or how to master that technique. Or asking if you can have a go at skinning a rabbit… For while Thyme at Southrop’s Thyme for Game course (see what they did there?) is a thoroughly professional course with set recipes to be made over the day, you can get as hands-on with your ingredients as you like. So if you want to start prepping Thumper while he’s ‘fully dressed’ and, for that matter, still has a head, then you can. Alternatively, you can remain blissfully unaware of the butchery that’s going on by taking in the beautiful location in which the cookery school is set. And beautiful it really is.
The owners have done quite an incredible job in turning an estate that had fallen into disrepair into a modern cookery school that still retains a charm befitting of its Cotswolds location. The school itself is in a converted barn, with a kitchen looking out on their own kitchen gardens and the 140 acres of farmland that make up the estate.
If you’re going to do a game course, you’d want it to be in a setting such as this, using produce that’s been sourced from the countryside that surrounds you. Not that it’s all location, location, location – there’s definitely substance to the courses and the food is as tasty as the backdrop is enchanting. House chef Daryll Taylor is an amiable and knowledgeable tutor, and the collection of dishes you create are certainly diverse, taking in the Middle East, southeast Asia and, of course, Europe for its influences. As such, we make everything from rabbit ragu and pheasant leg confit to Thai venison salad and game rillettes. Even when there’s a lot going on (a point at which many beginners start to panic), Daryll and his team keep things calm, giving the students plenty of confidence.
Time is taken also to teach every element of a dish, so you learn how to do things such as making pasta from scratch, or toasting and mixing the ingredients to create ras-al-hanout. At the end of it all, you have a thoroughly good grounding in creating a modern game menu, that mixes the heartiness of the meats with some wonderfully delicate flavours. That you’ll go back and make virtually every dish you learn is pretty much guaranteed – always a good sign.
It has to be said, Thyme at Southrop is more than a cookery school. It’s almost foolhardy to book on a one-day course and not stay the night in one of the cute little cottages that share the estate. Indeed you’ll regret it the minute you set eyes on the place. And when you discover the posh gastropub that is The Swan is a mere stumble away, you’ll kick yourself. They’re trying to create a quality Cotswolds culinary experience and it’s hard not to admit they’ve done exactly that. Courses cost £185. AM.