Manna From Devon
Please tell our readers some more about you and the Manna From Devon cookery school and how you got started?
DJ – we originally came to Kingswear to do the catering at the Royal Dart Yacht Club after an unrelated background for me in management consultancy. I had always been interested in a career in catering but my dad advised against it because cooking was so badly paid (things haven’t changed there then). Instead I went to and then joined the Royal Navy on a short service commission and travelled the world. After that I did 10 years as a management consultancy and carried on travelling the world but after 9/11, all our clients put a hold on training so we took this opportunity to come to south Devon, having randomly met a friend of a friend at a wedding in Dublin.
HJ – after 2 years doing all the catering at the yacht club – restaurant and bar service, events, weddings, parties, regattas – I developed a slipped disc and couldn’t actually stand up for very long let alone work in the kitchen. So we left and put in a production kitchen in the basement of our house and started going to food festivals and farmers markets selling homemade deli products, brownies and puddings. I wanted to sell bread but I didn’t want to make it so David went on a 3 day bread course with Paul Merry in Dorset, came back and said, “we’re going to start a cooking school” It did make a lot of sense – I’d been working as a freelance cookery demonstrator and trainer before we came down here and we are both able to stand up in front of a group and encourage them to get stuck in and get learning!
DJ – the school is now in its 11th year and we are really focussing on the courses that are in the highest demand – bread making, fish cooking and our wood fired oven courses. It simplifies everything and although we love all the other