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Gluten free goodies, grades and goodbyes - Culinary School Diaries, Week 16

Our final week of school only had 3 days in the kitchen, with the first two spent focusing on "free from" cooking - in this case, gluten free and vegan. An emotional week for sure, with goodbyes to coursemates, tutors and other friends, but a fitting end.

Monday Monday began with a demonstration on making seitan vegan "bacon". Very interesting, but also very time consuming, and I'm not sure that the end product was worth the effort! I was vegan for a few years as a young adult, and made a whole lot of food! But personally I don't feel the need to make meat substitutes, I prefer getting the flavour out of the raw ingredients themselves. I have to say I felt much the same way about the vegan "eggs" we made for lunch, made of a coconutty "white" and a yolk flavoured with black salt for the sulphurous flavour. These were served in a vegan ramen, which I actually quite enjoyed with the exception of the "egg" and the baked, rather flavourless tofu. After lunch, we made some very tasty vegan brownies and some gyoza with a yuzu dipping sauce, as well as gluten free baguettes.


Tuesday was another day of free-from cooking, with a lunch of vegan tagliatelle carbonara, with green, spinach based pasta. We also made vegan samosas with a coconut sambal, gluten free white chocolate tarts with a cocoa sorbet, and my favourite vegan food of all time - bao buns, filled with char siu tofu.


Our final day in the kitchen, and with a new tutor, Wednesday was a one day chocolate masterclass. We spent the entire day tempering and making chocolates, some smaller ones filled with salted caramel or lemon and earl grey, and a big stand piece of a Christmas tree to present them on. Lunch was a BLT with our gluten free baguettes and vegan bacon, and then it was on to our final tidy-down of the course!


Today we got our final results and sat for 30 minute individual tutorial sessions. I'm very pleased to say that I ended up with 6 merits and 6 distinctions overall, with an additional distinction in my hygiene qualification and 90% in my wine and spirits qualification.


Friday was the presentation of certificates, photos and graduation lunch. The lunch was very pleasant, actually at a restaurant I used to work at! We were sat with coursemates and the tutors from the course, and it was a very fitting end to the last (and some of the best) 16 weeks of my life!

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