Considering a change in career or wanting to improve your home cooking? We speak with Anna Barbieri (@apinchofbarbs), one of our Cook’s Certificate 2018 graduates, to ask about the benefits of enrolling in the Cook’s Certificate course at Cookery School at Little Portland Street. Read on!
What were you doing before the Cook’s Certificate?
I was working as a PA in a media company for two years. Before that, I was a front of house manager in my family’s restaurant in London’s Soho area. I thought a desk job would make a welcome change to being on my feet all day but realised that my passion lay in food and the catering industry!
Why did you want to take the course?
I wanted to learn the basics of cooking, to understand why certain ingredients were used and how to use them in the best way possible. I also thought that taking a course would improve my confidence with cooking. Everyone can cook certain dishes but understanding how to use specific ingredients and why gave me the push to take the course.
Why did you choose Cookery School at Little Portland Street?
I have always been passionate about sustainability and fresh, seasonal produce. Cookery School really stood out for these reasons, and after talking to Ros, I knew that it would be the best place for me
Looking back, what do you most value about what / how you learned?
Understanding the importance of seasonality and sustainability. It’s something I have taken forward with me in my journey. Also, the importance of seasoning!
Did you have a favourite part or personal highlight?
Being in a class with such a mixed group of people was a huge highlight. We were all from different countries, had different levels of knowledge, were all working together and all sharing a passion for food. Cooking food from all around the world and being taught by such knowledgeable chefs – goes to show that food really does bring people together!
What did you think about the staff and facilities?
The staff were all amazing and, of course, hugely knowledgeable about what they were doing. It was nice to be taught by different chefs for different cuisines as I really felt I was learning different ways of cooking.
What are you doing now? How are you using what you learned?
I’m currently working as second chef with Clerkenwell Kitchen. They are passionate about seasonality and sustainability, which is the main reason I contacted them for a job. I feel like my confidence has grown so much since doing the course that I can suggest ideas for recipes and ways to cut down on plastic and waste.
What advice would you give to others considering the Cook’s Certificate?
Do it! If you have a passion about food, learning from the beginning is a great way to build your confidence. Even if there are days on the course where you think you know something, you will always learn.
Careers in the food industry have grown so much over the years. You can choose which direction you want to go in. I now do private catering and have free reign of a menu, something I never thought I would have this time last year. I’ve done a couple of pop-ups and have made some great contacts in the industry. It’s an exciting journey to take and one I’m so glad I did!
Cookery School’s professional cook’s certificate course runs three times a year. Learn more and download the course brochure here.