This was a complimentary experience, so big thanks to TBEX and Dingle Cookery School!
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Recipes passed down for generations are usually the best you can get. They are filled with pure flavor, a dash of love, and a sprinkle of time put in–that’s an heirloom dish. Dingle Cookery School teaches the great recipes of the Irish, and many from the local area.
Our first cooking school
Surprisingly, this was the first time we have ever attended a cooking school. I feel way behind in the food world! Sean and I love food tours, so naturally, we would love to learn about the culture and the food while being hands-on. After all, we are putting more focus on experiences to share with you. Seemed like the perfect fit and I can see more in our future! So finding a cooking school in Dingle, Ireland is a great place to start.
A few things to set the stage: Sean knows his way around a kitchen so I wasn’t too worried about him being able to follow directions. I was a bit worried about myself, though. I can cook…but not that well. I was hoping that between him and the instructors that I would at least create something edible!
Introduction into local Irish food
We were warmly welcomed to the Dingle Cookery School with tea or coffee with scones. It was one of those things where you just get that feeling that this is going to be good. Then after biting into the scones…it was going to be really good.
First part feels like school, because, well, it’s a cookery school. So, duh.
You all sit in chairs that face forward while watching Muireann demonstrate how to make Irish brown bread. It was her colleague’s family recipe that has been in the family for generations. *cue the stomach growling*
Next up, she made dessert. It was a beautiful and drool-inducing apple cake that was traditional for the area. The cool thing was that all her ingredients were already pre-measured and pre-cut, so the demo didn’t take too long. Once that cake went into the oven, then the real fun started.
A hands-on cooking experience in Dingle
Armed with a recipe, mis-en-place, and two people to help the group, we got started making the Brown Irish Bread. They are super organized, this was super easy. Mix dry ingredients, then add wet until you get the right consistency. Don’t overmix! Then scoop into a pan then sprinkle with oats. Done and done.
Next was cooking the main dish–freshly caught Hake (white fish) with fresh veggies from the garden. The salad and the beet purée were already done for us, but the real test was getting the fish seasoned and cooked just right.
Sean was making fun of me because I don’t like to touch raw meat and fish. Trying to flip a fish without touching it is awkward and doesn’t always work. In the end, I did end up touching the fish to flip it and it was just perfect! Just slightly browned and firm but not dry. NAILED It!
While I had my own personal tutor, the other teachers were helping the others to make sure their pans aren’t too hot with the oil and that the fish is done nicely. Everyone seemed to appreciate the friendliness of the teachers and how their dishes came out. After lots of great food smells lofting about…
A beautiful and tasty plate of food.
Enjoying your freshly made Irish creation
Once all the fish is done and you plate it as they instruct, it’s a one-of-a-kind piece of art! But don’t spend too much time taking photos of it because you’ll want to eat it while the fish is a perfect temperature.
Joining with the rest of the cooking group, it’s the perfect time to talk about your experience and see who cooked better! Though it’s not like it is a competition…but really, we all know it is 🙂
That’s it! Grab a tea to sip with your dessert and relax. That was a successful cooking experience! Hopefully, you had a great group of people with you because that added to the ambiance of the whole thing.
Other experiences with the Dingle Cookery School
Aside from the dish we made, there are many others you can try. They do so many different things that I can’t even list them all here. But from a traditional cooking class to catching your own fish and cooking that, to learning butchery, there is something for everyone.
I’m hoping to go back to do more classes and learn secret (not-so-secret) family recipes. We got to keep the recipes to take home in hopes of re-creating the delicious dishes. I look forward to making them at home…especially the bread. Sean scarfed that up fast! There’s a place in Amsterdam that does a version of Irish soda bread called Greenwoods but there’s NOTHING like homemade bread!
Have you done a cooking class before? If so, what kind of food was it?