It isn’t every day that 80kilos of authentic Feta PDO cheese lands on your doorstep along with a request from the Greek Ministry asking if you would like to do a cookery demo with it. Such is the unusual world of Room Forty. Our motto should be ‘expect the unexpected’, it seems that every day offers a fresh madcap challenge. And every day we like to think that we rise to the occasion.
The brief that we were given was to promote real Feta PDO. There is a world of difference between authentic Feta cheese which had the Protected Designated Origin (PDO) status and the ‘Greek style salad cheese’ that lurks in the supermarket fridges. Feta PDO is beautiful natural cheese. It is of course dearer but worth the cost not just because the sheep and goats that provide the milk lead natural lives, and there are no nasties or antibiotics given, but the flavour is beautifully balanced and the cheese has a natural crumbly texture.
We were asked to run two sessions for professional chefs, to be filmed and live streamed over to Greece. Fortunately, we have a great relationship with our local College, Warrington & Vale Royal. Their lead tutor who runs the catering school, Chef Scott Surtees is an inspiration. The school is run as a proper restaurant, Buckleys, without doubt Warrington’s best fine dining restaurant (and if you haven’t been go – it is no wonder that it has held an AA Rosette for two years).
Scott taught the students to make delicately spiced feta and beef and feta and pine nut samosas, and then it was our turn to demonstrate a green olive tapenade and feta wrapped loaf. All with Feta PDO of course.
It is the first time that we had worked with and taught the students at the college. Being honest, we were a little nervous as they are seriously talented young people. Apart from their skills what came across was their enthusiasm for food, cooking, baking and to eagerness learn evidenced by the fact that they had come in specially to do this in their Easter break.
We had a great day, though we were left with a lot of beautiful fresh cheese, probably 70 kilos which can’t be frozen.
Check out the story in Warrington Guardian. If you run a community group, or meals service for communities you can apply to get a 4 kilo tin of genuine Feta PDO for free. Once tasted, you’ll never buy the inferior imitations again.