Have you ever spent four days making a pie? Had a brain for breakfast? Sampled 6 wines before midday? Such is my life as a cookery school student, and pretty fab it is too. Here’s what went down in week 2 of the intermediate term… I was pretty apprehensive about Monday’s cooking session – making cullen skink (smoked haddock and potato soup) to a strict service time in exam conditions. This brought back bad memories of ‘Chewable Soup Gate’ on mock exam day, something I was in no hurry to repeat. Happily there were no such disasters this time around and the soup was delicious, hopefully dampening my pureeing fears for now. Wednesday’s schedule also had me arriving feeling nervous as we settled in for our first offal demonstration. When my friend asked what offal was I sent her Google’s definition: the entrails and internal organs of an animal used as food. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the example sentence Google provides is ‘eating pieces of braised offal turned his stomach’. Tempting as this all really didn’t sound, I was determined to go in with an open mind and stick to my rule of trying everything no matter what it was…even if that may be a deep fried brain. Above is the menu of everything we tried that morning (yep, offal for breakfast) and to be honest it was actually much better than I thought. Our teachers were really enthusiastic and knew they had a challenging, doubtful audience so it was interesting to see the different ways of using the meat – particularly since nose-to-tail eating has become more trendy in recent years and more prevalent on menus. Whilst I still don’t think offal would be the first thing I’d choose on a menu, it was good to once again vastly add to the list of foods I’ve tried.After the unfamiliar ground of the offal demo, it was back to more well known territory with some baking. Dinner rolls meant practicing batch baking skills, rolling perfectly neat spheres and weighing each ball of dough. The main project of the week was a raised veal and ham pie, which was spread over four days and therefore it was quite a relief to finally bring it home unscathed on Friday – although our class must have looked a tad strange all arriving at the pub carefully balancing pies and tarts!Leiths describes the 3 terms of the diploma course like so – the first term is family food, the intermediate term is gastropub food and the final advanced term is Michelin fine dining. This week definitely saw more of an adjustment to the gastropub level as we did more plated dishes, practicing bringing several components together at the last minute and presenting them nicely. We may look back fondly to the Friday afternoon last term spent making brownies, compared to this weeks Friday monkfish with herby hollandaise, spinach and jerusalem artichoke puree (special mention to my puree partner Chelsie) followed by a pecan pie, but it is also satisfying so see how far we’ve come. Bring on week 3!