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Let’s Cook Local

Let’s Cook Local with Andrew Mackenzie, Chef at The Restaurant at Drakes.

On Wednesday 20th January, some Year 8 and Year 9 students were treated to an after school spectacular cooking demonstration by Andrew Mackenzie, chef from The Restaurant at Drakes. Ahead of entering the regional Create & Cook competition, students from Varndean are taking part in our own competition to decide who gets to be our school entry. 

The students watched Andrew rustle up a lobster risotto with pan fried Dover sole. As the competition is based on local ingredients, all the ingredients used were locally sourced, even the oil!

The students asked him various questions about his job. He told them that he loves his work, he could not fathom doing a desk job! His career has taken him all over the world – he was even offered a job in Antarctica!

The students were interested in learning more about truffles and questioned Andrew about them. He explained that there are five main types of truffle, all extremely expensive and that they are found by female pigs sniffing them out as they grow beneath the ground. However, the pigs have a tendency to eat them! So, recently dogs have been trained to find them.

While he was talking he was constantly cooking, frying the Dover sole and making the risotto. He explained how after cooking certain fish and meat, it should always be left to relax a little afterwards. That way it relaxes the muscles and makes sure the moisture is not lost.

Andrew told the students how lucky they are to live in Sussex, as here we have the best beef in the country, the best fish and the best vegetables!

Once the risotto was cooked and the Dover sole had rested, he dished them up with a nasturtium garnish.

Suffice to say, when the students got their hands on the cutlery, the food was gone within seconds!