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Last Updated: Friday, 19 November, 2004, 16:28 GMT
Scaling the summits of cookery
Students learn how to make food look good on a budget

In the small village of Salford Priors a few miles from Stratford two sisters run a cookery school with a difference.

One with a course specifically designed for those planning to spend the ski season running a chalet in the Alps.

The 'Chalet Cooks' course at Orchards Cookery means long hours, but on the plus side the food is great.

And people get to eat everything they make, good or bad.

Fortunately, as students get to the end of their two-week stint, it's pretty much all good.

The sisters' experienceir training and working in catering has provided them with many appopriate skills.

As former chalet girls, they know what customers want.

Students learn everything they need to know about running a holiday chalet.

Appearances

This includes important things like how to make food look good on a budget and how to maximise your tip at the end of the holiday.

Rachel Haverfield says she has learnt control in the kitchen

Rachel Haverfield is taking the course.

"The main thing we were taught is to maintain control," says Rachel.

"You need to keep your body under control because people are watching.

"You are providing someone's holiday and if you look out of control then they're not going to have confidence in you.

"So as well as being able to cook well you have to play the part well too," adds Rachel.

Steve Sweet's doing the course on his gap year

"I'm currently on my gap year," say Steve Sweet.

"So I thought I'd do something fun and something I'd enjoy.

"I looked up Orchard Cookery in a gap year guide and just came along," adds Steve.

Designer dinners

Orchards Cookery run several different cookery courses, from 'Designer Dinners for Beginners' to 'Off to University'.

The school for chalet workers is proving particularly popular, having been fully booked every week since July.

The courses have been running for over a year and more than 100 people have passed through.

The sisters had an enterprising idea and it has paid dividends.


Student Guide

All sorts of people want to learn to cook.

Isabel and Lucy Bomford have set up a business to help.

They've looked at the market and discovered that:

  • mums worry about their children's ability to feed themselves when they go to university.
  • ski chalet staff need to learn some specialist skills to work in the mountains and feed guests good food at the right time
  • some people just want to learn to cook

    They set up Orchards Cookery to meet these needs.

    They run a mix of courses, both specialist and general.

    Their background of training and working in the catering business has provided them with the skills they need.

    As chalet girls, they learnt the pitfalls of catering for hungry skiers.

    Just think...

    Why was the cookery school a good business for Isabel and Lucy?

    How did they know what the market wanted?

    Have a look at Orchards Cookery's website and explain how they have matched the courses to the market.

    What does it take?

    Lucy and Isabel are clearly enterprising.

    They spotted an opportunity and made the most of it.

    Being able to use their parents' beautiful farmhouse was an added bonus but it still needed investment to set it up as a school.

  • They had a bright ideas

  • They made it happen

  • They organised the business

  • They planned ahead

  • They took a risk

    Taking a risk is a key part of being an entrepreneur.

    When you put your money into a scheme, you want to know that it will make a profit for you.

    It's never certain but the more careful the research and planning, the better the chance!

    Just think...

    Explain why each of these skills is important when running your own business?

    Can you think of any others?

    Apart from investing in the facilities at the farm, what else did Isabel and Lucy have to consider and pay for before Orchards Cookery got going?

    Getting it right

    Entrepreneurs sell a product or service to other people or businesses. What does it take?

  • Step 1 - A product that people want to buy

    A business only survives if it makes a profit so before you begin you need to carry out some market research to check that people will buy your product.

    You might like it but...!

    Step 2 - A price that people are prepared to pay

    A great idea can be a great success if the price is right.

    If it's too high, you will have a disaster on your hands!

    Step 3 - A product that they know about

    A brilliant product needs marketing.

    If people don't know about it, they can't buy it!

    Step 4 - A product in the right place

    Whatever the product, it must be under people's noses!

    It might be in the shops, on the web or on a shopping channel.

    But wherever it is, people must be able to buy it.

    Just think...

    Have you got a business idea?

    Have you had to create a business plan for the course you are following?

    What different aspects of the business did it explain?

    Why was it important to work out each of these aspects before you began the business?

    Did your scheme match up?

    Have a look at Orchards Cookery's website. Do you think the business is successful?



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