And so a few days later, clutching my tickets like a lost tourist I boarded the early train out of Exeter with birdsong around me and made the pleasant but slow commute to Chippenham, somewhere deep in the wilds of Wiltshire. Those who know me will probably be wondering why I was getting the train at Exeter, rather than my usual haunt of Surrey/ Middlesex borders – I was actually on holiday in Devon but due to come back that day, so decided to extend my trip by a day and stay another night in Devon – no real hardship really – one day….sigh…! This was despite moving house that week and having a fair few bits to do inbetween – I’m never one to sit still long or make it easy on myself!
Upon arrival at Whatley Manor, the setting for the All-clad demo, it set my jaw slightly gaping and feelings of looking slightly like a raggy Anne doll set in. My oh my do I need to find myself a rich husband, and fast. I really could get used to living a life of luxury! The place was elegance in itself, everything was just perfect, from the warmth of the staff to the artwork in the toilets!
Also very welcome was a cup of fresh coffee with a delicious little biscuit – far nicer than the one I had purchased on the train!
First up, we got to see the All-clad pans in use under the guidance of Martin Burge, the head chef of their 2 star Michelin restaurant, and his team as they demonstrated a stunning looking Pear and Blackberry gratin.
After building up an appetite, we then had a lovely lunch of braised veal cheeks on a bed of spinach. Those bad boys ain’t the prettiest thing I’ve sat down to eat but the meat just melted in your mouth.
Unfortunately the day wasn’t all about eating lovely food - we had to earn our keep and so trudged back into the very shiny kitchen, and then got set to recreating the earlier demonstrated pear and blackberry gratin, using the All-clad range of pans and bowls. I paired up with the rather charming Hugues, one of All-clad’s managers who was great to work with – we managed the dish in perfect harmony, with no problems encountered and my dish was first to finish! The dish was constructed of caramelised blackberries, pear sorbet, shortbreads, sabayon and poached pears. The pears were my personal favourite – I would happily eat them all, so perfectly flavoured and delicate!
Spot the difference - One of these dishes was mine, one was chef’s: (scroll down for the answer!)
My favourite pan was the saucier, it just felt so right to use! The curved inner made the spatula dance with happy abandon around the pan and despite being slightly scared to make caramel, and then add liquid to it, in a shiny pan, it magically worked. No burned pan to scrub! No sticking either! It also was a great size, not too big, not to small, not too heavy, just right. This is a picture of my caramelised blackberries:
Many thanks to Live, Chloe, Hugues and everyone at All Clad for both the invite and experience, and also to everyone at Whatley Manor.
P.s. Did you guess right? Picture B was mine, A was chefs!