Week 1 – Introductions

It’s real. I’m here. And it’s better than I could have imagined.

After many, many months of build up and countless retellings of what I intended to be doing at the end of September, I have finally begun classes at The School of Artisan Food. The weekend was spent settling into the student accommodation in somewhat dreary Creswell. Then the school year began with some entertaining getting-to-know-you games on Monday morning. There are only 21 students in the entire school so there is an expectation that we will become a rather close-knit group. What struck me was how similar we all are. Then I realised that it definitely takes a “special” kind of person to put aside 10 months of their life to live in outback rural England, learning how to make bread, cheese or meat.

The Welbeck Estate on which the school is located is astonishing. Having never seen an estate before, I was not prepared for how big this place would be or just what it would contain. The building the school is in was built in the 1870s as a fire station, yet seems perfectly well suited to the school. All of the buildings on the estate look incredibly well maintained. I’m told that this is due, in part, to the fact that the army inhabited the grounds up until 2005.

All of the teachers and staff seem friendly, knowledgeable and dedicated. This week we were introduced to butchery by Kate Hill and to bakery by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou. We were also introduced to the full timetable for the course. This is the first time I’ve been told exactly how much time I would be spending at the school and it’s rather full-on. Nine to five. Monday to Friday. Lots of road-trips including a visit to France in April. This is not like any other educational institution I’ve ever been to.

I’m now more excited than ever about being at this school. It’s pretty clear to me already that this place and these people are very special. I’m really looking forward to the next 10 months, which is why I have given it its own category on this blog. Stay tuned.

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