Cooking School Students in the Kitchen
The Ballymaloe 12 Week Certificate is run three times a year - beginning January, April and September. This intensive immersion programme is designed for anybody with a passion for food, from those who wish to pursue a professional culinary career to enthusiasts who would like to cook with confidence in their own homes.
The course embraces all aspects of cookery, from basic principles to advanced professional techniques and covers a broad range of international cuisines and styles. In its setting of a 100-acre organic farm, Ballymaloe Cookery School is ideally equipped to provide its students with a true farm-to-fork education and food experience.  Additionally, our high teacher/pupil ratio ensures the maximum level of personal tuition.

The course covers:

  • French classic, regional and modern innovatory styles
  • menu planning
  • food costing
  • food hygiene
  • preserving
  • an opportunity to see the Ballymaloe House restaurant kitchen in operation
  • copies of all recipes taught during the course
  • excursion to food producers including a cheese-maker, a fish-smoker and other specialists
  • picking and using fresh herbs and vegetables from the enormous variety grown in the school's organic gardens
  • chance to make your very own cheese with the milk from our Jersey cows.
  • Every aspect of The Ballymaloe Style of cooking

Structure of the week:

The course is built around an intensive 5 day week.  
Mon | Tues | Thurs | Fri
  • AM: Practical cooking sessions - students work together to produce a 3-4 course meal. Focus is on time management and task prioritisation, utilizing a daily Order of Work. 
  • Lunch: Students are involved in preparation for lunch service, replicating a busy restaurant setting. Focus is on table-setting, food presentation, service, and hosting guests.
  • PM: Afternoon demonstrations led by Darina, Rory or Rachel, or on occasion specialist guest chefs
  • AM: Specialist demonstrations, cheese-tasting or wine lectures and tastings.
  • Lunch: The pressure is off as students take a break from food preparation on this day
  • PM: Lectures on food-related subjects. Guest lecturers - experts in their fields - speak to the students on such diverse subjects as outside catering, managing a business and specialist butchery   


Student Duties

Students are also kept busy with a rota of duties, evenly distributed among the student body, for the duration of the 12 weeks. Student are rostered for duties in the morning, at lunchtime, or in the afternoons after demonstrations end. These basic duties include such things as hosting guests, picking salad leaves from our glasshouses, setting tables, making stock, helping our teaching staff to set up and clear down our dining room, wash-up duties, supervising a team, and so forth. The purpose of this is to prepare students for the realities of working in a busy commerical kitchen or restaurant environment, to teach them the concept of working as part of a team, and also to contribute to the efficient running of the school while they are here. 

Week 6: Practical technique exam- students must demonstrate a number of practical cooking techniques they have learned in addition to completing a salad/herb recognition test. 
Week 12: Final practical and written examinations, including a wine examination. Certificates are awarded to students who have produced satisfactory work throughout and have passed the examinations. (Grades include Distinction, Highly Commended and Pass)
Ballymaloe Cookery School graduates are much in demand, and often there are more jobs on offer than there are graduates to fill them. The course provides the basis for a wide variety of culinary careers and an illustrious roll-call of former students includes many chefs in top restaurant kitchens, caterers for dinner parties or boardroom lunches, food journalists, cooks on yachts in summer and in ski resorts in winter.
The school also operates a job information service for both students and prospective employers on www.jobsforcooks.com