The Chef's Room fish and cookery school

Tutors at the Chef's Room


The level of expertise of our tutors and their capacity to share their knowledge and enthusiasm is essential but we also believe in the importance of making our classes relaxed. If you feel at ease you will get so much more out of the course.

Lindy Wildsmith has had a life long association with Italy. Our resident tutor, chef Franco Taruschio was born in Le Marche and we believe the authenticity of the our Italian cookery courses is indisputable.

We now welcome Malaysian chef Shaun Naen who will be teaching wok skills and his native food and Alex Mackay who will be creating a menu of classic French dishes.


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was born in the Marche region of Italy. He came to the UK in 1961 for a six month period but which turned out to be a much longer period. Three weeks before he was due to return home he met his future wife, asked for an extension to his stay and in 1963 he and his wife Ann, bought what eventually became the renowned Walnut Tree. After 37 years he sold up and since retiring he continues to help aspiring chefs and has discovered he derives great pleasure from teaching cooking to enthusiastic amateur cooks.
Over the years Franco has been honoured with many awards for his services to the restaurant and tourism industry but in February 2003 he received his greatest honour when he was awarded the OBE in recognition of his services to the culinary industry and to the community in Monmouthshire.
Since 1986, when Franco appeared in "Take Six Cooks", he has taken part in many TV programmes, including a six part series titled "Franco and Friends".
In collaboration with his wife Ann he has had five cookery books published, they are currently writing a book on the cuisine of Le Marche.
Franco is also a hands-on president of St Anne's Hospice, Newport. A position he is very proud to hold.


Lindy Wildsmith lived and worked in Bologna and Rome for many years and on returning home wrote a book about pasta and Italy; so started her career as a freelance food and recipe writer. Her style of food brings together the best of her native British country food, Italian regional cooking and the culinary experiences she enjoys around the Mediterranean and further afield.
Cured, her latest book, for which she was nominated for an Andre' Simon award takes an in-depth look at the timeless crafts of curing and preserving fish, poultry, meat, game fruit and vegetables.
Lindy will take you to Parma, to learn how the experts make Prosciutto di Parma, to Sardinia to discover the secret of making bottarga, to the French farmhouse kitchen to make rilettes and confits of duck and has enlisted the help of the president of the South Carolina Barbeque association to share the secrets of Barbeque.
Chapters are dedicated to salting, air-drying, spicing, smoking, potting preserving and carpaccio. For those who love eating these specialities but don’t feel inclined to make themselves there will be a directory of where to source the very best artisan products and lots of mouth watering recipes to make them.
Lindy’s other cookery book titles include, Eating Outdoors, cooking and entertaining in the open air, Rylands, Peters and Small, 2006; Pasta Sauces 2004; and Preserves, jams, pickles and liqueurs 2004. She has also contributed to many others books on food and on travel in Italy.
She writes a monthly food column and writes articles on food, cooking and link and you can follow her on twitter @lindywildsmith
Her specialist subjects are fish, meat and game, afternoon tea, preserving and curing
She is an experienced teacher and cookery school consultant. Lindy runs The Chef’s Room fish and cookery school in Wales where she teaches regularly with Franco Taruschio, founder of the Walnut Tree Inn. She teaches residential courses at Denman - the National WI College near Abingdon in Oxfordshire, day courses at Hart’s Barn in Gloucestershire and Divertimenti in London.
New for 2012 she is running Discover the Origin: seminars for the catering, delicatessen and restaurant trades on Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano Reggiano in Glasgow and Manchester.

Alex Gooch


has been voted ‘Food Producer of the Year’ by Waitrose
and Country Living ‘Made in Britain Awards’ and Best Food Producer by Radio 4
Food and Farming Awards.

We are excited to be able to welcome Alex to the Chef’s Room as a
guest tutor. He is an instinctive, charming and down to earth teacher. He oozes
enthusiasm and knowledge for his craft and is keen to share his talents and
some tricks of the trade with us all.

Make 100% spelt bread from scratch using British grain and some
superb Welsh cheese and other Welsh ingredients. Make focaccia and
ciabatta, bread sticks and other flat breads using interesting dough made in
advance by Alex. This is a “short” bread making course (4 hours) that will
introduce you to the principles of artisan bread making, the importance of
using good ingredients and some traditional processes in the time frame. The
class includes a light lunch, based around bread of course!

“The wild yeast starter and long fermentation act as a natural
preservative and flavour enhancer, giving bread superb depth and character.
Making bread brings you into the moment completely. It stimulates all of the
senses whether it be the feel or look of the dough, the sweet toasted smell of
the baking bread, or the crackle as you squeeze a stone baked ciabatta.” Alex Gooch

For more information about Alex, his bread, his bakery in Hay and where to buy his
bread visit website link

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SHAUN NAEN - Malaysian chef

Is a native of Malaysia and it was here he learnt his initial cooking skills. After working his way around the world he settled in Gloucestershire were he is now Head Chef at Gloucestershire College’s ‘Renaissance Restaurant’ in Cheltenham. His cooking is a fusion of Asian and British flavours and he is a master of cooking with the Wok. He will be assisted by
MARTIN GRIFFITHS grew up on a small mixed farm on the Herefordshire borders and combines cooking with disability supported students at the Renaissance with freelance writing and photography for Herefordshire Life where he consistently explores the potential use herbs and spices with local and seasonal produce.

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Delia Smith says that Alex Mackay is “A brilliant chef… with a rare and very special gift”and that “it is a privilege to watch Alex cook”, Raymond Blanc says that “Alex is the best home cook and cookery teacher I know”.

“Alex Mackay believes that cooking is an adventure and that good food should be for everyone. Alex Mackay's Cookbook for Everybody Everyday shows you a whole new way to make everyday food delicious and delicious food every day. No starters, no sweets, just three practical approaches to help you cook your meals and vary them easily.

The Everybody Everyday way of cooking is Alex’s answer to questions asked of him by students during an 18 year teaching career, you don't have to spend a fortune on hard-to-come-by ingredients or have an encyclopaedic knowledge of cooking methods to eat well. The trick is to know a few basic recipes inside-out and to reinvent them so they never grow tired.

Everybody, Everyday is divided into three parts: basic main ingredients, (Adventures with Ingredients) essentials for the fridge (The Magic Fridge) and slow-cooked dishes (Slow Cook Sorcery). Each part is a selection of 'hero' recipes and every one is followed by six delicious variations. So, once you know how to bake salmon fillets, it's a short step to baked salmon with mushy peas & chunky sunblush tomato ketchup or five other options. Homemade basil pesto can become mozzarella and pesto meatballs with roast garlic, tomato and peppers; beef rump with pesto, grain mustard, beetroot and pak-choi; no sweat pesto risotto with sautéed vegetables and sunblush tomatoes; spinach, crème fraiche, penne, Parmesan and pesto bake; lamb shoulder chops with fried new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, olives and pesto; braised seabass fillets with beans, peas and pesto.
You will join Alex to cook a selection of these heroes and adventures and see how the formula for each hero recipe can grow into endless ideas for different dinners as the Everybody Everyday methods become familiar and your confidence increases. It is a day to revolutionise your home cooking.

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As well as heading up the team in The Foxhunter kitchens, Matt presents Food Unwrapped on Channel 4. Series three of this award-winning food show is now in production.

In July 2013 he hosted the cookery demonstrations at Buckingham Palace for the Queen's Coronation celebrations.

Matt co-presented Market Kitchen for for 5 years with Tom Parker-Bowles and Matthew Fort and he is the guest presenter of Saturday Kitchen on BBC1. He is also part of the new Food and Drink team on BBC1.

Matt's first solo cookbook, featuring all his favourite recipes, Matt Tebbutt Cooks Country, is still available. His new offering 'Guilty Pleasures' - your favourite sweet and savoury indulgences in 130 easy recipes, has just been released to great acclaim.

The restaurant and some of Matt's recipes are also featured in 'The Gastropub Cookbook' by Daily Telegraph food-writer Diana Henry.


Having completed a diploma course in London with Leith’s School of Food & Wine, Matt Tebbutt set his sights on some of the best restaurants in the UK, with a view to acquiring the breadth of experience that would set him up to run his own successful restaurant.

A true baptism of fire followed in the form of a traineeship with renowned Michelin starred chef, Marco Pierre White, working at The Oak Room and then The Criterion. Matt later moved to the kitchens of Chez Bruce, working under the tutelage of Bruce Poole, master of classic French food and leading advocate of affordable excellence.

Working at Clarke's, Sally Clarke's Kensington restaurant, Matt was exposed to the art of bread making at one of the most skilled bakeries in the UK.

One of his strongest influences, clearly evident in the Foxhunter menu is Alastair Little, pioneer of the non-stuffy, high-quality eatery and renowned for revolutionary freshness and flavour. Matt worked with Alastair at his Lancaster Road and Soho restaurants, celebrated for its no-nonsense British cooking, with a Northern Italian twist.

Matt is a passionate exponent of Modern British cooking, using only the freshest, seasonal, locally sourced ingredients within honest recipes designed to highlight those ingredients.

Matt runs Wild Food and Foraging courses at The Foxhunter, and the daily-changing menu features an exciting range of wild and foraged foods from the local countryside and sea-shore.

The Foxhunter
website link
Good Food Guide - best newcomer
AA restaurant of the year 2004
AA notable wine list 2010, 2011, 2012

Reserve a place early to avoid disappointment Ring Lindy on 01989562353

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Tutors at the Chef's Room


FRANCO TARUSCHIO - Italian/Welsh Cooking
LINDY WILDSMITH - Italian & French Cooking, Curing, Barbecue, Preserving
ALEX GOOCH - Artisan Breadmaking
RACHEL HAWORTH - Cocktails & Canapes
PAM KILLICK - Chocolate
SHAUN NAEN - Asian British Fusion
ALEX MACKAY - French Classics
RAYEESA - Traditional Indian Cooking
MATT TEBBUTT - Classic British Cooking

The Chef's Room fish and cookery school Blaenavon Torfaen

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