An interview with Mark Breen – community teacher and chef

1.how did you get involved with Central Street Cookery School?

I’ve worked with Central Street Cookery School for nearly two years.

I run a catering and private chef service, but I have always been really keen to teach and share what I know with others so that they can learn more about food and cooking in a fun and social way.

I teach at two levels here, I do community classes for local families and older people and I also do corporate entertainment and team building events here at the school.  Private clients hire the school and my services and the proceeds from these events subsidise low cost classes to the local community. I love this!

 

  1. What types of classes do you teach

I teach a range of cooking classes in the fantastic Central Street Cookery School. I work with parents and children to help them cook tasty, healthy and affordable meals together most weeks I also provide cooking classes using beautiful seasonal vegetables including produce from St Luke’s Edible Yard.  I also teach our popular Monthly Cookery Club  where I showcase my favourite food and of course I teach for the school’s private and corporate events.

 

  1. Typical day when doing a community class at CSCS

A typical day at Central Street Cookery School, there is no such thing. On one day I could be working with primary school aged children from the local area to teach them about growing and cooking food. On another day I could be delivering a team away day for a business who have hired the Cookery school so that they can cook and dine with their colleagues or for team away days.  What’s great about this concept is that any profit made from people hiring the Cookery School or booking a team away day goes back into supporting community charity activities.

4.What is the most satisfying bit of teaching at CSCS

The most satisfying thing about working at Central Street is seeing people develop and find their way. I recently taught a course to unemployed people to become café chefs and become job ready. Over the four week course the progress people made in terms of organisation, knife skills and developing flavour was incredible.  A few of these people are in employment already and this is highly satisfying!

 

  1. How did you become a chef?

I have always been fascinated with food. I trained at Ashburton Cookery School in Devon, where I loved being close to fantastic produce from the land (Dartmoor) and the sea (not far from Brixham). I then gained experience in some of London’s best restaurants – St John’s and Lyle’s. I then set up Always Hungry – a private chef and catering service and started teaching cooking.

As part of my business I have hired the Cookery School to deliver independent private cooking classes. I love the school as not only is it really well equipped but it is spacious and light and has outdoor seating to eat in the Edible Yard as well as our beautiful dining room.

 

  1. Favourite food

My favourite food at the moment is panzanella, as tomatoes are bang in season. I just enjoy whatever is seasonal really. Check out how to make it in this video – https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4ooQ2JLEx00&t=4s

 

  1. Favourite restaurant

People often ask if I still enjoy eating out as I’m a chef. My answer is – of course, why wouldn’t I?

I really like St John’s in Farringdon and Lyle’s in Shoreditch. I live in Streatham where my favourite restaurant is called Hood it’s a great neighbourhood restaurant serving modern British food.

 

I really like Sri Lankan food and ate at a restaurant called Hoppers in Soho recently, it’s fantastic.

Quick foodie tip for our readers

Keep your knives sharp and your work top tidy and organised. Then you can enjoy cooking and developing beautiful flavours.

Thank you!