Terry M head chef Tim McDougall led an enlightening cookery demonstration
SEASONAL COOKERY DEMONSTRATION
Review by Rosie Casburn
Method: Take 3 chefs and grill lightly.
Well, that’s how the brilliant Seasonal Cookery Demonstration ‘panned out’ at the Celtic Manor Resort recently. No sooner had we finished our coffee, than the mouth-watering sound of sizzling filled our ears. This was soon followed by the delicious aroma of duck being gently pan-fried, as award-winning head chef Tim McDougall showed us his method of cooking Aylesbury and Mandarin duck, then some poached rhubarb - explaining that the rhubarb gives a nice, sharp contrast to the richness of the duck.
He then made a wonderfully vibrant ‘Dressed Blood-Orange Salad’ explaining that this dish, along with some seasonal vegetables, is a recent addition to the exciting new menu at the Terry M Restaurant at Celtic Manor. Tim answered our many questions as sous chef Ross Marshall brought out a whole turbot, and after some clever filleting, soon had it gently bubbling in his pan while he triple-blanched strips of lemon rind as a garnish. Ross was a semi-finalist in MasterChef Professionals recently, and we could see why. Ross then prepared a fillet of brill with panache.
Back to head chef Tim, who then skilfully demonstrated just how he cooks his perfect, tender venison, giving away lots of his ‘chef secrets’ along the way. Later, rhubarb once again made an appearance, this time for dessert, when junior sous chef Aiden Fisher, showed us an unusual, yet delightful way of making a ‘posh’ rhubarb crumble, using forced rhubarb - chosen for its sweetness, along with a melt-in-the-mouth milk mousse.
The keen audience kept asking questions as they watched entranced. We learnt loads more secrets as the morning went on, but sorry, my lips are sealed! After a round of applause, we were invited to the front to sample the various dishes. I have to admit, there was more than a little elbowing going on, as we plunged our forks into the tasty morsels before us.
Next we were served a sparkling glass of Prosecco along with some appetisers in the lounge, as our ‘classroom’ was transformed back into the understated elegance of the Terry M Restaurant. We were served an exquisite three-course lunch, with three complementing wines. Maitre’d Catalin Bivolaru was completely charming, the waiting staff efficient and friendly, and the Sommelier had the ladies swooning with his French accent as he expertly explained the grape and vintage of each wine.
We were seated with two lovely couples from Cardiff, who are regular diners at the Celtic Manor, as they can find nowhere to compare with it in the Cardiff area. We all agreed that the ‘Parfait of Game and Chicken Livers’ was sublime, followed by heavenly Welsh beef. As our waistbands stretched, we wondered whether to decline the sweet course, but we eventually decided ‘it would be rude not to’, and devoured the crisp, buttery pastry of the Quince Tart, served with ‘Nutmeg and Thyme Ice Cream’ - both to die for. By the time our third wine was poured and our appetites sated, we were so relaxed that we began discussing finding a nice spot for a lie down and wished we’d added an overnight stay to our lesson!
After another grilling of the chefs over coffee and petit fours, we reluctantly made our leave, clutching our ‘secret recipes’ and promising to meet up at the next event.
Rosie Casburn is a freelance travel writer and photographer.
More information can be found on her own blog and website: