A state-of-the-art Italian cookery school has been created beneath the arched ceiling of the castle’s old storehouse focusing on Puglia’s eno-gastronomy.
The state-of-the-art cookery school is a sleek, steel freestanding construction, a modernist work of metal art, beneath the arched ceiling of the castle’s oldest storehouse. The customized equipment from Electrolux Professional is top of the range and slots seamlessly into this vast historic space – an exercise in precision engineering.
The students from the renowned Culinary Institute of America come here for a semester to follow a Concentration on Italian Cuisine from all of Italy’s regions, while being fully immersed in Puglia’s eno-gastronomy. From September to April each year they learn about the importance of produce seasonality, techniques, flavors and rich history at the root of Italy’s healthy and varied cuisine. They practice new skills in the vast, high-tech and high-spec 23m-long and 6.5m high gastronomic school and separate bakery and pâtisserie areas.
Hotel guests can also sign up for cookery classes here mastering local recipes and visiting nearby markets to source the freshest seasonal ingredients every day. Well-known chefs, along with Castello di Ugento’s House Chef Odette Fada and her team of chefs, who will share their secrets while local ‘nonnas’ demonstrate the recipes passed down to them over the generations.
The Puglia Culinary Centre uses fruit, vegetables and herbs grown in the castle’s restored 18th-century kitchen garden in the cookery school. The orchard includes lemon, orange, persimmon, figs and almond trees laden with fruit, while raised beds are planted with fennel, basil, and fava beans during spring. In summer the crops include peppers, prunes and peaches, in autumn there are cauliflowers, pomegranates and persimmons to pick while in winter melons, tangerines, artichokes and cabbages are in season.
To be a true chef of Italian cuisine you have to master all of the different techniques, tastes and textures of the cuisine of the various Italian regions.