Blokes’ Valentine’s Day cooking class

TOP FORM: Dean Gibson has led the Australian team to success in the World Pastry Cup in Lyon. Picture: Fivespice Creative ROMANTIC GESTURE: From left, owner of The Essential Ingredient in Cooks Hill Leonie Young with cooking instructor Kyle Liston and school co-ordinator Emma Rudkin. Picture: Simone De Peak

THE one time of the year that men truly cringe at is fast approaching: Valentine’s Day.

The Essential Ingredient’s cooking school has stepped up to help men tackle the perhaps unfamiliar territory of manning the pans, holding a Blokes’ Basic Valentine Dinner class.

Chef Paul McDonald takes the cooking candidates through their steps with a three-course meal designed to impress, including delicious entrees and mains followed by the challenging souffle for dessert.

For $145 per person the men take home not only new skills to show off, but alsotwo souffle ramekins and heart-shaped moulds to recreate the dishes at home.

Essential Ingredient owner Leonie Young created the class to fill the demand of cooking lessons for men.

‘‘A lot of guys ask for some basic classes,’’ Ms Young said.

‘‘This is the first time we have really targeted men for a class.’’

The Blokes’ Basic class is fully booked in the lead-up to Valentine’s Day, but there are plenty more classes on offer at the Cooks Hill cooking school, from knife handling to lunch box packing and catering for surprise guests. Visit essentialingredientnewc苏州美睫培训.

Cooking classes aside, you can always rely on someone else to do the hard work this Valentine’s Day.

Relax at Customs House Hotel, Newcastle, and choose from their a la carte menu (bookings on 49252585), while Honeysuckle’s The Landing Bar & Kitchen has two options: share a cheese plate and a bottle of Margan wine for $50 (no bookings required), or treat yourself to a five-course degustation menu for $99 per person, an extra $40 per person with matched wines (bookings required). The Gaudrys will be performing from 7pm to 10.30pm, call 49271722 for bookings.

The newly opened restaurant at Martinville’s Watagan House will be opening on Valentine’s Day, offering a three-course set menu for $75 per person, with a glass of sparkling on arrival. Dishes on offer include ceviche of scallops, fillet mignon and chocolate fondant pudding. Bookings can be made on 0410755250.

In East Maitland, The Old George and Dragon Restaurant is offering dinner, a glass of champagne, flowers and chocolates for $150 per person. Bookings on 49337272.

– Emily Steele

Cooking up a storm

TEAM Pastry Australia, led by Newcastle’s own Dean Gibson, ranked seventh in the World Pastry Cup in Lyon last month.

The team, including Dammika Hathasinge, Barry Jones, Justin Yu, Andre Sandison and Jian Yao, have now automatically qualified for the 2015 Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie.

‘‘It was always the goal for the team to make the top seven and we are treating this as a win,’’ Gibson said.

‘‘It’s a real achievement to beat some serious countries, including Belgium, UK, Taiwan as well as the other 14 countries.’’

Following his success at the cup, Gibson will return to Newcastle to teach two new patisserie courses at Hunter TAFE, the Certificate III Patisserie and Diploma of Hospitality (specialising in patisserie).

Gibson said there had been a significant shift to have cakes and desserts produced in-house.

“The competition in the hospitality industry is really heating up and there is a strong demand for experienced professionals in both kitchens and patisseries,’’ he said.

‘‘These courses are designed to give people the best possible up-to-date patisserie training to fill this demand.’’

Call 49699428 for more information.

– Kate Tarala