Rosemary Shrager


Before I begin this month’s article, everybody knows that I have struggled to get apprentices for the last two years but now its official…I would like to announce the partnership of the Rosemary Shrager Cookery School, part of Hadlow Group.

I must say I am very proud and excited about this merger. Hadlow now gives us the door to achieve what I set out to do four years ago, to realise my vision. I would like to take this opportunity to say that Christopher Abergavenny has done nothing but support us through this transition, and we will see the Corn Exchange grow into a thriving educational environment.

The school will deliver a unique opportunity to the young budding chefs; we have incredible facilities and staff. Also from another level my TV work; I have had students doing work on the live TV shows, working with highly skilled chefs, and we have had the makeup and media students working on the new shows. And, I am able to take students abroad to Dubai. I could go on – this is my passion – enthusing the young.

I can honestly say I wish I had had an opportunity like this; I would have grabbed it with both hands. I had to learn the hard way, putting myself through my own apprenticeship. I did this by seeking out specialists within the trade.
For example, I would go to a butchers and learn to string and butcher. Then I would seek out another butcher to learn to make the best sausages, then a fishmonger and learn to prepare fish… I even went to learn to make pasties at the Lizard in Cornwall.

Then, if I was cooking something really different and the process went wrong, that’s when I used to phone Coleridge’s or the Dorchester. I worked in kitchens and learned as I went along. So you can understand where my passion comes from.
I enjoy doing the corporate and private teaching and team building within the school – it’s a lot of fun and I do as much as I can. I have some very skilled chefs working for me who are as passionate as myself. For our chef ’s table it gives the apprentices the opportunity to deliver to the public, and in the Patisserie.

I have just been given the most wonderful old cookery book – it’s a treasure. It inspired me to look at some of my other old books; it’s like reading about the food of today, just a different way of saying it.
Some of my favourite seasonal fruit and vegetables are available in April, such as rhubarb and asparagus. I looked up some recipes here are a couple that look fantastic, give them a go and let me know:

I love Mrs. Beaton’s rhubarb jam, you take 1lb of forced rhubarb, 1lb preserving sugar, ½ teaspoon of ground ginger, and some fi nely grated rind of ½ lemon.
Cut the rhubarb into short lengths, and weigh it, you must have the full 1lb. Put into a large pan with the sugar, ginger and lemon rind. Bring to the boil slowly, cook until it sets. This will take up to an hour. So easy.

This is a recipe I came across for a rhubarb tart; this is from 1800 from a book called Domestic Cookery. Cut the stalks in lengths of four or five inches, and take off the thin skin. If you have a hot hearth lay them over a dish, and put over a thin syrup of sugar and water, cover with a lid, let it simmer slowly for one hour, when cold make into a tart. (I think you should cut the time to 15 mins). I would make a blind bake pastry case then put a crème patisserie in the base top with the cooked rhubarb, this sounds great for Easter.