Ballymaloe: A Recipe for Perfection
Tucked away in rural Ireland, between Waterford and Cork is an historic farmhouse that is home to Ireland’s premier cooking school. It draws students from around the world and gives them the culinary skills and experience to work anywhere. Ballymaloe Cookery School and Organic Farm is the ultimate way to immerse yourself in the arts of fine cooking from farm to table. There are three expansive kitchens there and teams of students are feverishly learning everything from proper chopping and prep work to how to bake breads and deserts to the finer points of fine cooking all ‘round.
Darina Allan is is a known powerhouse in Ireland. Not only does she run this amazing school and farm, she has nine award-winning cook books, is a frequent guest on international television with her own cooking magic and is an amazing entrepreneur. She understands the advantage of slow cooking and of slow and steady growth with her school.
“We are firmly rooted in the process of farm to table, here,” she tells me over fresh coffee and scones the students had made just an hour before.
This is not about short cuts. It’s about proper cooking with proven recipes. The ingredients are fresh, and if they aren’t grown on the farm they are locally sourced. But here they have chickens for the eggs they need and cows for milk that becomes butter and cream and cheese. This 100 acre organic farm has orchards and gardens and hoop houses for year round growing.
There are three expansive kitchens filled with students in small groups perfecting their skills. There are lectures and demonstrations and everyone takes their turn milking cows, tending to the crops and washing up.
Debra Shoal is one of the instructors now, but she took the course herself and sings the praises of all students learn here.
Those skills will pay of as they work in kitchens or even start restaurants of their own.
Aside from the cooking school there is a restaurant and a market, famous Ballymaloe relishes and sauces are in grocery stores across the country and there is a famous Ballymaloe Country guest house not far from the school. So whether you visit as a student, a customer or a guest, you’re in for a visit to a place where they seriously have the recipe for success perfected.