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My friends Louise and Julia and I have been to two of Penny's cookery days (so far): Entertaining Made Easy and, just last weekend, Temptingly Thai. We were fortunate enough to have Penny all to ourselves on both occasions, and what a great time we had. Penny is extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and imparts that knowledge and enthusiasm with a smile and great patience! The Thai dishes we prepared were so flavoursome and fresh, and we left not only full of delicious food but also full of ideas and good intentions to buy lots of gorgeous Thai ingredients and have a go ourselves - though how we will fare without Penny's expert guidance remains to be seen ...

Kay Millward - 13 May 14

A Tasting Time - Morrocan and Thai.  A fantastic cookery course run by Penny at the Culinary Cottage and I have come away with lots recipes that I will be trying again at home.  My favorite dishes included Spiced Tuna Steaks, Saffron & Cardamon Creme Caramel and Asian Chicken Soup.  Penny's cookery courses offer excellent value for money,  always enjoyable and suitable for all levels of cooking experience.  I look forward to returning again and again.........

Thank you Penny for another wonderful day at the Culinary Cottage.

Claire George - 16 March 14

I would like to nominate Penny Lewis of the Culinary Cottage in Abergavenny South Wales for the best cookery school award. I have attended several courses with her in her delightful school and have been encouraged by Penny to try skills which I thought way beyond my capability.

Her teaching and guidance is excellent in that she is friendly but very constructive and encouraging! Penny has not only succeeded in making me a better and more enthusiastic cook but she has changed the way I feel about feeding my family and my approach to food.
I was a somewhat timid cook and now can look at a few lack lustre ingredients in my fridge and concoct a meal! Goodbye ready meals! I have Penny to thank for this,her Cookery School is simply the best!

Kind Regards

Cheryl Davies

Cheryl Davies - 07 February 14

Having attended a few famous name Cookery schools, I was intrigued to sample The Culinary Cottage which was just a few miles away from my holiday home in Abergavenny.

Well, to my delight, I learnt more in that day than I did at all the others put together!!!

Penelope's cottage cookery school is as divine as she is delightful, I can see why she is in hot demand to the rich & famous - her repertoire could not fail to impress, one that she freely shares along with all the 'tricks of the trade'. She is not too 'chefy' either, I left the class with genuinely useful recipes and skills. 

The culinary cottage is beautiful all round - literally! Beautiful place,host,surroundings & of course food! Well done Penelope for pursuing your dream and sharing your secrets!

Tania Fossey

Tania Fossey - 06 February 14

Having come from a non-cooking orientated family, we took the unusual step of opening a restaurant. After working with some chefs, I realised that I needed to learn how to cook. After speaking to family and friends in the trade, I knew there was only one place to go, "The Culinary Cottage" in Pandy.

So I spoke to a lovely lady Penny on the phone and booked a 3 day course and a 5 day course to learn different things. What I learnt was amazing, I went from someone who couldn't really boil an egg confidently to a master cook. I was able to cook with confidence, and should the volatile chefs decide to "walk out", I could quite confidently take charge and knew exactly what I was doing. The course came complete with the recipes we had cooked so I could make these in the restaurant, one of the particular favourites is the Cheese Sauce, also the Almond Tart goes down a treat with our restaurant guests (when there is any left, I do have to force myself to stop eating and lock it away from staff).

I cannot thank and recommend the Culinary Cottage enough, we cooked, tasted, cooked, tasted and so on! It is a must for anyone who is a beginner and I would even recommend it to a master chef. Thanks Penny!!!

Regards

Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith - 03 February 14

Penny delivered her high professional standards to a newcomer to cooking like me,with patience,professionalism and person-ability.
She made preparing and delivery of high quality cuisine a seamless exercise transforming the rank amateur into a cook that can and does deliver very acceptable dishes to all tastes.

It is difficult to recommend her to highly as  given her role as chef to the aristocracy, she is still able to summon the humility and patience to teach those who hitherto have had little clue as how to cook semi-professionally.

Therefore i should like to recommend Penny as the all-round master chef that can and will prepare and teach high class cuisine to one and all thus bringing down any barriers to those wishing to prepare and deliver high quality food without intimidation.

Learning under Penny has been a life-changing experience for me and I would recommend her qualities without reservation or hesitation.

with thanks,

Ben Maxted

Ben Maxted - 21 January 14

I first was introduced to Penny's school through a Christmas present voucher from my husband ( I am still not sure if he was sufficiently sensitive to understand that cooking has always been my unrequited passion or if it was a commentary on my efforts to date ...). I so enjoyed this day that I subsequently returned 10 times, and have introduced many of my friends to this wonderful experience.

Penny does not merely teach us cooking skills, she empowers us to be able to tackle what we previously would have thought to be beyond our capabilities and ensures that we enjoy ourselves along the way.  Her cooking days are very busy, informal and relaxed, and we all end up eating way too many calories! Penny's recipes are simply the best, offering new twists on traditional classics, which are fun, easy to make (when you know how!) and most importantly absolutely delicious - try her chilli jam. I cannot recommend this cookery school highly enough.


Gwyneth Steddy

Gwyneth Steddy - 15 January 14

I spent two and a half wonderful days at the Culinary Cottage. Penny welcomes you in to her beautiful home just outside picturesque Abergavenny. From the moment you arrive you feel that nothing is too much trouble and you are treated as a friend rather than a stranger.

The course itself is very hands on and intensive. Every dish is made from scratch and you cook lots of dishes from Penny's vast repertoire. Although intensive you find the time flies by and you learn so much. Everything you prepare is from a recipe sheet and these are in a binder that you take home with you. Penny has infinite patience and has the rare gift of making everyone feel at ease and also an excellent teacher.

If anyone had told me I could bone and stuff a poussin before going to Abergavenny I would have laughed them out of my kitchen! But bone and stuff it I did and even if I say so myself it looked pretty good.

All in all a great experience for anyone with an interest in cooking. There are plenty of other cooking schools out there but very few that offer the personal, caring tuition of Penny Lewis at her lovely cottage.

Gavin Steer, Saundersfoot - Pembrokeshire.

Gavin Steer - 10 January 14

I was lucky enough to attend one of Penny Lewis’ five day courses in March 2012, it has changed the way I will cook for the rest of my life. What an inspiring course it was. It was not just the cooking but the very helpful handy hints and recipes.

Being there for five days I covered the whole spectrum of dishes and methods, from bread making, dinner parties, healthy nourishing meals, great cakes and wonderful desserts. Penny was able to fit in particular things I wished to try but did not have the confidence to try at home such as souffles and sauces for fish dishes.

My family where amazed and delighted when I arrived home with a wonderful selection of my dishes, they particularly appreciated the Hot Cross buns, which I went on to make many more batches before and after Easter.

I cannot praise Penny enough, she is a wonderful patient teacher, truly inspirational. This course had to be the nearest thing to a religious experience I have ever had. I left the course feeling I could cook anything!

Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Kindest Regards,

Alyson Taylor

Alyson Taylor - 08 January 14

Of course, I’ll be delighted to offer something by way of a testimony but it’s a question of how to cram so much into a small space!
I guess what I’d like  to say is based upon my own much-valued measurement in business…

The only possible reason that you’d pay to go along twice is if you think you’ve had value-for-money. I’m looking forward to the 5th session!!
Simply put, 10 hours have never passed so quickly. Many things to learn every time in a really friendly and productive environment’.

Penny, I’m not suggesting you put up your prices (please don’t!) but if you consider a 90 minute football match - £50, a 3 hour music concert - £80, a I hour music lesson - £20, then it’s difficult to imagine why it’s not value for money. You buy all the ingredients, you feed me twice in the day (no mean feat!).

Oh, yes, and I’m a better cook! It’s a no-brainer.

Grant Barlow

Grant Barlow - 16 December 13

Penny Lewis of The Culinary Cottage cookery school is a wonderful inspiration to her students.  She uses only the best local ingredients, seasonal whenever possible.  I found that her sense of humour and calm manner enabled me to relax as I learnt how to tackle recipes that I would have considered too complex. 

Penny soon had us skinning & boning fish (my friend had a phobia about touching fish, Penny produced latex gloves, showing us that there is usually a way of coping with a problem.  She is able to think on her feet - a fellow student mentioned a garlic intolerance, Penny suggested alternative herbs & spices as a substitute.  I was so inspired by her knowledge, skills & enthusiasm that I now provide more complex & adventurous meals for family and friends.  Food has now become one of life's pleasures, thanks to time spent working with Penny.  She really is an inspirational teacher.

Jennifer Dennis

Jennifer Dennis - 11 December 13

I have never learnt to cook, as my husband is the cook in our family. Then, aged 70 I thought I should.. I knew of Penny Lewis through my daughter. She had cooked wonderful things for her at the New market sales. She has a wonderful reputation around Europe.

Penny started a Cookery School at her home, and I asked to go on her Beginners Course I was the only one on the course, as she could find nobody who knew as little as me!

We started at 9.0am and cooked through until 1pm. We ate a little of the many dishes we had made. I Slept until 4pm, Worked on until 8pm and the ate a little and thus bed.  Three wonderful days! Penny is a charismatic teacher, kind, patient, and I learnt so much and many delicious recipes.

My husband and I later did another Course with friends, and hugely enjoyed it, and all learnt many more marvelous recipes. Now, whenever I have a problem, I telephone Penny from around the world for advice, always kindly, and graciously given .

Regards

Lavinia Corbally Stourton

Lavinia Corbally Stourton - 03 December 13

Rachel Mc Carthy, is one of our many students that attained a whole day beginner course two weeks ago. She quotes 'I really enjoyed my experience at the Culinary Cottage. What I have learnt was invaluable and has inspired me to start cooking more often. I really liked the meringue recipe as I am a sweet lover. Penny is a fantastic teacher and made cooking fun. Her knowledge and enthusiasm were inspiring.
 

Catton Hall

 

Catton Hall - 14 November 13

My father and I attended the Temptingly Thai cookery course and were blown away by the day. Penny was fantastic throughout the day, we were told the schedule for the day, the dishes we would be cooking (13 in total) and what the aims of the course were. Having developed a taste for Thai food I was looking forward to the course and my fiancée was looking forward to my new cooking skills.

The course far exceeded my expectations and the dishes we cooked were amazing, the thai flavours danced on our tongues as the fine balance between sweet, spicy, salty and sour were struck perfectly. We did a range of ‘finger food’ as well as selection of main courses which included the best Pad Thai I have ever had, as well as what has become my family’s favourite desert, a ‘East meets West’ Mango Coconut Meringue pie which is heavenly.

On the day I attended the course there were 5 students in total (all male) and Penny ensured that each and every one of us was taken care of, shown what was needed to do for our dishes and when required all shown as a group. The fact that all the dishes came out perfectly, and I can testify to that as we got to eat them all, is a reflection of the excellent guidance and instruction given by Penny.

At the end of the day/course, Penny provided us with our own recipe books and a small selection of ingredients so we could cook for our friends and family. Since attending the course, I have entertained my family and every dish was a success, in fact I think they enjoyed the food so much they are considering sending me on another course!

I am unable to do justice to Penny and the Culinary Cottage, I would not hesitate in recommending it to anyone wanting to do a cookery course, whatever their level. Penny’s passion for cooking and for sharing the skills and knowledge to cook ensures that the day is fun from start to finish and your appetite is more than satisfied!

Geraint Rhys Jones
 

Geraint Rhys Jones - 26 September 12

The Culinary Cottage is a wonderful cookery school, located at the foot of the picturesque Sugar Loaf mountain in Wales.  Set up and run single handily by the very enthusiastic Penny Lewis.

I have been on three courses so far and always come away inspired and looking forward to the next.
Penny has built up the reputation of her school by regularly giving demonstrations at local food festivals.  Forging links with suppliers and manufacturers such as Waitrose and Aga ensuring that she is linked with companies that share her vision for excellence.  She has also had articles in publications.

Her organisational skills are as impressive as her cookery skills.  The administration of this small and intimate cookery school is impressive and effective,  it could be used by much larger concern.  She has developed a very professional website and produces personalised cloth bags (used for students to take samples home) and recipe binders full of the wonderful recipes followed on the course.  Her advertising flyers are also of a superb quality.  She maintains her very high standards throughout all aspects of the cookery school.

A testament to Penny's wonderful cookery school is that I am always excited when booking a course.  It feels like such a treat/indulgence.  I count down the days as if going on a holiday.  I have enjoyed the courses so much that I have booked them for friends as a present.
The day is packed full of cooking ideas and tips, Penny's wealth of experience in catering for some very important clients and functions are reflected in the dishes.  Your day starts with a binder so full of recipes that you hardly believe all can be achieved on one day, but indeed we do. Penny has the talent of making the most difficult recipe simple.  She always provides such superb clear and relaxed encouraging guidance that the cooking is completed seemingly effortlessly.

You leave with a binder full of recipes (many of which have become firm favourites, used over and over) and a goody bag bulging with tasters of the food prepared on the day.  Your day can then be shared with partners/loved ones who are always delighted to see one of Penny's cloth bags full of treats.

Lisa Dutton
 

Lisa Dutton - 10 September 12

I have known Penny Lewis for over 10 years. During this time Penny has cooked for parties of corporate guests here at Catton many times, and my family have attended her cookery courses at the Culinary Cottage.

Penny is a top-class chef in her own right. She has creative ideas and produces delicious and attractively presented dishes. Our discerning clients and guests never fail to remark on the delicious taste of Penny’s food. Penny is also efficient, well-organised and incredibly hard-working, always with that delightful smile!

Everybody enjoys and appreciates the courses at the Culinary Cottage. There is an interesting variety of choice and the welcome is always warm.    Penny is a highly practical person and, having gauged the standard of her students, teaches at an appropriate level so that everybody leaves with newly acquired knowledge and confidence. She is so organised that even the most nervous student finds themselves in a conducive environment for learning the joys of creative cookery.

The Culinary Cottage will continue to thrive under Penny’s guardianship. She never fails to look forward, and to be inventive and intuitive about her range of courses and dishes.

Katie Neilson

Katie Neilson - 15 August 12

I have attended two of Penny’s courses at The Culinary Cottage and have recommended them to friends and family. Penny’s style is informal and very hands on. Penny herself is very knowledgeable and you can ask her any question you like on all aspects of food preparation, cooking and what equipment is best. No time is wasted on the courses at The Culinary cottage and the big bonus is that you get to eat what you cook and you can bring home some delicious food and recipes to share with your family and friends.

Shelagh O’Loughlin

Shelagh O’Loughlin - 15 March 12

I did the Dinner Parties made Stressless course at the Culinary Cottage in September 2011.  The course contained lots of hands on cooking and was both fun and informative.  Penny is a great teacher who takes you through all the techniques calmly and clearly and is on hand to put you back on the right path if you do go wrong.  We cooked loads of delicious dishes and I came out with a raft of new recipes which I've been cooking for my appreciative friends and family since I got home.

I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Penny and the Culinary Cottage.

Tara Stimpson

Tara Stimpson - 09 January 12

Waitrose is delighted to be involved with The Culinary Cottage, particularly as we both share a real passion for quality food. Penny’s calm approach to preparing excellent meals is an inspiration to all who cook with her.

Waitrose looks forward to a long and happy relationship with Penny and The Culinary Cottage.

Waitrose ABERGAVENNY

Waitrose - 01 June 10
The Culinary Cottage
Rose Cottage, Pandy
Abergavenny, Monmouthshire NP7 8DL

(t) 01873 890125
(m) 07970 423709
(e) enquiries@theculinarycottage.co.uk

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