The Ballymaloe Cookery School
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I started opening the taxi door before it had even come to a full stop. Did the sign really say what I thought it said? Welcome to Ballymaloe Cookery School – Closed Mondays. It was Monday. I couldn’t believe my eyes – I had just spent an entire day traveling – beginning that morning on a plane in France. Landing in Ireland, I had hopped a train, grabbed a bus, and found this taxi, all to discover that this moment I’d dreamt about – the moment I’d visit the most inspiring culinary school I’d ever heard of – had a “closed” sign on it. I hurridley asked the cab driver to wait, and ran inside breathless. Near tears, I choked out something like I’m from California and I came all this way and it’s been my dream … the woman behind the desk just shrugged and said I was welcome to walk around the school and gardens, that she wouldn’t even charge me the entrance fee. “Oh,” I said, feeling sheepish about my dramatic display. “Thanks!”

A dear friend told me about Ballymaloe several years ago and during my travels in 2008, I had the tremendous opportunity to spend a day there. It’s situated on 100 organic acres in Country Cork and run by reknown chef, Darina Allen. Allen firmly believes that good cooking begins with good ingredients, which is unseparable from how those ingredients are grown or raised. Most of what the culinary (or “cookery”) students prepare comes from Ballymaloe’s 100 acres or from neighboring farms. Their 12-week intensive courses are suited for everyone from the home cook to the aspiring professional.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just bought one of Allen’s latest “cookery books,” entitled Forgotten Skills of Cooking: The Time-Honoured Ways Are the Best – Over 700 Recipes Show You Why. It includes chapters on disappearing arts such as yogurt making, meat curing, bee keeping, and foraging. I can’t wait to dive into it!

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About Brie Aronson

Brie Aronson came to Polyface from southern California. During college, she was diagnosed with food allergies and had to begin asking about the source of every single thing she put in her mouth. This led to an interest in all things food and she sought out a way to learn how it can be produced ethically and sustainably. Her desire is to help people shift their focus from counting calories, being intimidated by their kitchens, and being disconnected from the land to one that experiences the life-giving enjoyment of food. Having completed the internship in summer 2010, she now assists with the buying clubs and sales building, leads school tours of the farm, and will be the summer 2012 farm cook.
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6 Responses to The Ballymaloe Cookery School

  1. Love this story. Made me laugh 🙂

  2. Vanessa says:

    Couldn’t believe it when I read the title of your post, I have been to ballymaloe several times on my visits to my best friend in cork. Beautiful place!

  3. Wow! I would have been crying, too! What a beautiful place. I’ll have to check out the book.

  4. Sherri Miller says:

    Love it!! I would love to get into cooking more and this sounds very interesting. I lived in Ireland for a couple of years when I was a child and just recently visited some friends over there. Love the country!

  5. Grace Hernandez says:

    Beautiful story. I want to read that book! Can’t say enough about homemade yogurt. My body acclimates to it much easier than store bought. Ah! We eat like kings and queens!