Taking a cooking class in a foreign country is one of our favorite ways to learn something of the country’s culture and cuisine. Taking a cooking class in Wales from an Italian chef may seem an odd exercise, but how often can you get instruction from a legendary chef! For 37 years Franco Taruschio and his wife Ann ran the Walnut Tree restaurant in Abergavenny, Wales, earning the chef a Michelin star and an OBE. Chef Taruschio received his very early training in Italy. He has spent 45 years in Wales working with fresh local ingredients, putting an Italian spin on such Welsh mainstays as laverbread.
Now retired from the restaurant business, Taruschio has partnered with food writer and cooking instructor Lindy Wildsmith to direct The Chef’s Room, Fish & Cookery School, in the test kitchens of Vin Sullivan. Vin Sullivan in Blaenavon, south Wales, supplies gourmet food (particularly fish), to restaurants and caterers around Britain and Europe.
We spent an entertaining morning learning to cook some simple and delicious dishes that illustrate Welsh-Italian fusion cuisine. All classes end with a tasting lunch. We enjoyed crescente with tomato; figs and mascarpone; Glamorgan sausages; laverbread-cockle fritters; melon and rocket (i.e. arugula) salad; tagliatelli with squash and walnut sauce; and a gratin of oysters with laverbread.
Other classes revolve around fish (how to gut, filet and prepare various fish), a natural choice with the freshest fish available on premise; seasonal food; food for the perfect party; and food for special occasions like Easter and Christmas. Throughout the year classes are taught by Chef Taruschio and Lindy Wildsmith, as well as by guest chefs, such as Giuseppe Silvestri from Harrods, Welsh Chef and cookbook author Nerys Howell, and Chef Shaun Hill who today maintains the quality of the kitchen at The Walnut Tree.
To learn more, or to book a date, contact:
Thomas Gilchrist Estate
Blaenavon Torfaen NP4 9RL Wales
To explore yet another Welsh Cookery School, click here.
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