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CHEF ANDY WHITSON ASK THE CHEF

Andy Whitson has been cooking for thirty years (all his working life) and is French classically trained. For the last fifteen years he has worked as a college senior chef lecturer winning many awards in national and international culinary competitions and captaining senior teams and student teams to great success. Andy has a vast amount of practical experience and knowledge which he openly shares with his Oui Chef students so that they gain the ultimate cooking holiday experience.

Andy has worked in various restaurants since qualifying as a chef and lecturer, including teaching at The Army School of Catering for eight years and Rüdesheimer Schloss, West Germany. Andy is also quite a dab hand at food sculpture using icing sugar and corn flour . . .

Andy WhitsonQ: Whom do you most admire for their achievements?

A: Leonardo da Vinci. How can one man cram so much into his life!

Q: Who is your favourite chef?

A: In the past it has to be Escoffier as he was a great chef and heightened the profile of cuisine. Today its Rhodes and Ramsey. Two different attitudes I know, but they both know their craft.

Q: With whom would you most like to have dinner?

A: My wife. As we never get the chance to these days.

Q: What would be your desert island disk?

A: It would have to be 'Peaches' by the Stranglers. An old family favourite.

Q: What is your favourite British food?

A: Scottish 'mutton pie'.

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to make bread - www.cookingholidays.co.uk

Q: What is your favourite French food?

A: Quite partial to foie gras on brioche, but a good 'pot au feu' is hard to beat.

Q: What is your favourite World food?

A: French of course, but Thai comes a close second.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: Being able to do what I want to do.

Q: How would you describe France to someone who's never visited it?

A: The people are very helpful and kind. There is lots of space and the roads are easy to drive on.

Q: What are, to you, France's main attractions?

A: The food. The markets. There is a good family unity here. Oh and the Eiffel tower!

Q: At what sort of place do you regularly go to eat?

A: We do a lot of entertaining at home and visit our French neighbours quite regularly for long enjoyable meals.

Q: What's your favourite local dish?

A: 'Moules a la Normande' Mussels cooked in cider and crème fraiche. Absolutely delicious!

Q: When did you first get involved in cooking holidays?

A: For a long time I had a dream to have my own cookery school, I am now living that dream.

Q: What sort of people have you looked after on cooking holidays?

A: We cater for all ages and abilities. One of our guests was 93 years old and she made a mean Boeuf a la Bourguignon. Our youngest guest was 13, he came on the cooking holiday with his parents as he wants a career as a chef.

Q: From time to time there must be a guest on a cooking holiday who thinks they know more than you. How do you handle them?

A: The customer is always right! I always value other people's opinions.

Q: Do you think people who don't know how to cook are wasting their time and yours going on a cooking holiday?

A: No. It is their choice of holiday and it is my job to give them a good hands on fun packed experience no matter how basic their technical skills are.

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