Located in a beautifully converted well house within the grounds of Lainston House near Winchester, Season cookery school features the very latest Miele appliances along with a modern dining space and kitchen garden complete with pizza oven and outdoor seating. It provides the perfect opportunity for novice cooks and budding chefs alike to learn from Lainston and Exclusive Collection’s award-winning and Michelin-starred chefs, while trying out a range of state-of-the-art Miele appliances at the same time. There are six workstations in total with 12 Miele appliances.
We asked Phil Yeomans, Executive Chef at Lainston House and Andy Mackenzie, Executive Chef for Exclusive Collections Chefs’ Academy, why they chose Miele appliances and what inspires them as chefs…
Why did you become a chef?
Phil: My mother and auntie were always baking back in the 80s and 90s. There were lots of classic quiches and choux buns from scratch and I always took an interest. I worked in a bakery in Overton, Hampshire, from the age of 14 so it was all about food back then. Everything was done by hand and I learned lots of baking skills.
Andy: My inspiration goes back to when I was a child. My mother was a great cook. I helped her a lot and I never thought about doing anything else. I was one of the only boys who really loved cooking. My love of cooking makes me feel happy and I love making other people happy.
Who are your kitchen heroes?
Phil: Gordon Ramsay. It’s amazing how long he has retained his three Michelin stars. I also love Phil Howard from The Square.
Andy: I see myself as an old cook. I worked at the Four Seasons Hotel on Park Lane with Paul Bocuse and loved his ethos. Another hero is Joel Robuchon, as he works in high octane kitchens creating classic dishes.
How would you describe your cooking style?
Phil: Mine has classical roots; modern with some French influence. For me it’s all about the flavours such as a classic pig cheek cooked on an indoor barbecue to enhance the flavour and bring a story to the dish. We have a massive focus on outdoor cooking both in the Season cookery school and in the Lainston House restaurant with a wood fired oven, barbecue, fire pits and indoor barbecues too.
Andy: I have had to adapt with the times and the trends, creating twists on modern classics. I cook good, wholesome food. I am not into nouvelle cuisine, more great ingredients, presented beautifully on the plate.
How does the location influence the cookery school?
Phil: As we are based near Winchester in Hampshire, we use local suppliers, we visit the Hampshire Fare for local produce and we always look for food’s provenance. Our classes cover everything from Indian, Thai and Mediterranean cuisines, to plant-based, cookery skills, and game and trout - three ways, which is linked to our proximity to the River Test. We are all about sustainability and we also provide classes on creating a three-course meal from scratch, making cupcakes with the kids and a whole range of inspiringoutdoor cooking with wood fired ovens - not just for pizzas!
Andy: Hampshire is ideally located for the cookery school. I have won Hampshire Chef of the Year a few times and round here it’s all about supporting local producers who have since become great friends. We always strive to reduce our food miles and Hampshire has served us well, being in the countryside. We also started our kitchen garden 15 to 20 years ago and we now regard it as an extra kitchen gadget. We cook food that is in season and grown in our own garden for both the hotel’s restaurant and the cookery school.
Do you have a favourite class to teach and if so, why?
Phil: For me it’s game cooking, as it’s been lost over the years. Turning game into a delicious restaurant meal is very satisfying. We are lucky that we have wild game on our doorstep with plenty of pheasants and partridges. We host shooting parties and offer a class on learning how to cook trout three ways. We work with Chalk Stream Trout a lot. I also enjoy the Chef’s Table, as it’s so important to explain where trout comes from and how it is farmed.
Andy: I enjoy teaching how to cook a steak. I love good meat and the story of great meat – different breeds, different methods, the best cuts, comparisons between prime cuts and hidden secondary steak cuts, comparing tasting and cooking from a chateaubriand and flat cooked steak. I also like teaching about cooking temperatures and times.
Any quick top tips?
Phil: Never cook meat straight from the fridge! Resting is so important and you should rest it for as long as you have cooked it. If you leave it, the juice will stay in the meat.
Why did you choose Miele for the cookery school?
Phil: Miele is a brand which is well known for its craftmanship and performance. The appliances are also easy to use and we’ve had great feedback from our customers with consistency in results. The ovens are accurate to one degree - perfect for soufflés. It really is precision cooking – all our clients go home with perfect bakes. Miele also equals efficiency. We use the warming drawers for drying meringues for example.
I was very old school when it came to hob cooking and I always believed in gas as a chef but now I am totally converted to induction. It combines speed with precision control and everyone who uses it changes their view. It’s also better for the environment and more efficient.
We have now moved to induction in the main hotel restaurant too. This greener energy saves more than 50% in energy. We’ll never go back to gas. It also makes the classes run so much more smoothly as we’re not having to wait for a pan to boil. Also, Miele looks really smart as well as being easy to clean. The design is very nice, easy to use and super sleek. The equipment tells you what to do!
Andy: Miele has such a great reputation. The appliances look beautiful and Miele provides the highest level of service as well as top specifications. Our training has been brilliant.
Has anything surprised you about the appliances?
Phil: I have been impressed by the build quality and the design. The touch screen is intuitive, telling you what to do. And I like the self-cleaning function too. Using Miele’s combination steam oven means we can show how to achieve restaurant quality food at home. It’s been a big surprise! The variety of features and settings is hugely impressive and all the recipes are hugely surprising. Miele is so versatile.
Andy: I’m still learning. My favourite appliance is the DSG7000 coffee machine. The machine that keeps on giving. I love that you can have three compartments for all the different types of coffee.
Which Miele appliance would you choose over all others?
Phil: I would choose the Miele steam combi as it covers all bases. I totally want one in my own home!
Andy: Definitely the coffee machine. I’m still learning and am aiming to be an expert by end of year!
What is the one dish that everyone should be able to cook?
Phil: A roast dinner. In these times a Sunday roast feels so important to connect families and bring people together. You need perfect Yorkshire puddings and moist meat – there’s nothing better than a roast on a rainy Sunday. We run a course on how to cook the perfect roast dinner and also Christmas dinner including how to perfect the turkey. The key is low and slow - keep basting. Don’t overcook and give it time to rest. Use the Miele probe to ensure turkey is cooked perfectly.
Andy: Everyone should know how to cook meat and fish properly and we can help with that.
What is your favourite go-to quick supper?
Phil: Risotto – a chicken and butternut squash risotto. A hearty, flavoursome meal in 20 minutes!
Andy: Everyone should learn how to make a good risotto. The secret ingredient is love and attention. Stand over it – keep stirring. I love how you can add different flavours and change the seasons with a risotto.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to a home cook?
Phil: Cook what you like. Practise. And train your palate. Everyone is different. Add the seasoning until you get it how you like it. Don’t just take recipes at face value – everyone’s tolerance of spice and heat is different so practice makes perfect. It’s OK to make mistakes.
Andy: Learn from your mistakes – you can always have another go! Don’t give up and next time it will be even better.
Tell us about the Exclusive Collections Chefs’ Academy
Andy: It’s a career development programme created to increase opportunities for chefs within the Exclusive Collection. Basically 12 candidates are chosen to go on a two-year journey. This ranges from visiting the source of our ingredients and learning about farming methods. It’s so important to give them the chance to get out of the kitchen and speak to our customers. We call it farm gate to plate.
The cookery school makes an ideal day out for yourself, visiting with family or friends or as great gift for someone special. Visit the website at exclusive.co.uk/season to view classes, take a 3D tour, book a space or buy gift vouchers, which are valid for two years.