”Top Chef from Thornbury Castle cooks Chinese Meal with pupils at the Sheiling School”



Stu and Katerina from Thornbury Castle

Stu with pupils and Anna-Marie

This is the Thornbury Gazette’s headline from our recent press coverage of this wonderful occasion:

“PUPILS from a school in Thornbury have had the chance to take part in a cooking masterclass with a top chef to celebrate Chinese New Year.”

Click here to view the full article.

Our staff, pupils and their parents were absolutely thrilled when Katerina Pippi , Sales Manager of neighbouring Thornbury Castle, generously organised for one of their top chefs, Stu Martin, to come to a lesson to demonstrate and teach some of our pupils how to cook Chinese style!

The event had special meaning for one of the pupils of Seniors A and class teacher Dean who have been extremely busy working toward their ASDAN qualifications and are currently working towards an award. ASDAN is a pioneering curriculum development organisation and awarding body offering programmes and qualifications that explicitly grow skills for learning, skills for employment and skills for life. The Therapeutic emphasis of this award aims to develop an awareness of ‘otherness’. In practice this encourages pupils to think for themselves and to work independently. It brings an understanding of the wider world, emphasising that different cultures incorporate many diverse concepts and ideas.


The pupils are tasked with undertaking an in-depth study of another country, in this case China, and also to organise a celebration which takes place within that country’s culture. Seniors A chose the Chinese New Year. They had to base the food on typical meals from their chosen country which included a worksheet with guided research on Chinese food, gathering recipes from the Internet, writing a menu, writing a shopping list, looking for simple decorations and cooking a meal along with classmates.

Anna Marie, our Workshop Leader who attended the event, wrote:

“Stu and Katerina arrived with prepared duck, stir fry vegetables, Wonton pastry, spices, pickles and even elegant serving dishes. Stu demonstrated to the pupils how to pull the meat off the duck leg, which they all took part in doing.  He then demonstrated the filling of the Wonton parcels. The pupils each had a go at making the parcels. He then prepared stir fry vegetables and added sesame seeds and sesame oil to create the Chinese flavours. He also used Chinese 5 spice on the duck to add the flavour when cooking.


When the duck and the Wonton were cooked he demonstrated how to plate it up in a ‘Master Chef’ style with pickled saffron cauliflower, poached spiced plums and green pea puree. He added poached red shallot to balance the colour and flavour and added pan fried pak choi to garnish the plate. He set the crispy duck on top of the vegetables and served with stir fry vegetables on the side with sesame seeds. The pupils each had a chance to be involved with the plating up of the dishes.

Click on the images below to enlarge.

I found the experience to be extremely pleasurable and valuable to allow the pupils to be hands on. They learnt skills such as knife cutting, health and safety around food (why it is important to wash hands after handling duck or other meat). They learnt how to plate up food to look attractive and how to make Wontons in the Chinese style. Oliver asked lots of questions and demonstrated a keen interest throughout the whole process. George and Harry both enjoyed breaking apart the duck and making the Wonton parcels and Jacob helped to put egg on the parcels to help them to stick together. The pupils responded well to having a visitor and understood the requirements. They had lots of photos taken for the local press. The session was a huge success.”

Our gratitude and thanks to Stu and all at Thornbury Castle for making this event possible.