The Cordon Vert School, part of the Vegetarian Society of the UK was established at Parkdale towards the end of 1982 by Sarah Brown. At the time Sarah was running her own vegetarian and whole food restaurant and could see the potential for a course in whole food cooking and for training enthusiasts to become cookery demonstrators. The Cordon Vert Diploma was developed over the next two years with the first graduate being awarded this prestigious title in the Easter of 1984.
When the school was started, the converted stable block was brought into play as student accommodation, with 6 en-suite rooms and this continued until as recently as 2011. During 1983, Roselyne Masselin joined Sarah Brown at the school. Originally as an assistant and then from November 1983, as tutor, finally taking over from Sarah when her television and writing commitments escalated. Between them they developed the techniques to be taught at each level and devised recipes to illustrate each one.
Roselyne continued to be a tutor at the school for seven years and during this time a team of free lance tutors was built up. Behind the scenes there were assistants, a manager and administrators. Many now well known names have tutored with Cordon Vert over the years, some of which may be familiar to you including Ursulla Ferringo, Sarah Beattie, Chico Francesco and Lyn Weller.
In 1990 the Vegetarian Society's governing body agreed to the forming of a separate food preparation area at the back of the main kitchen for the cookery school assistants to work in to prepare all the ingredients for the demonstrations and practical sessions and a copy of an old report to council from the then cookery school manager records what an improvement this was. How they managed to teach against a background of constant chopping, washing up and electrical machinery beats me!
During the 90's and early 00's the Cordon Vert Diploma was focused mainly on training general members of the public. Students ranged from those who were studying for a personal challenge to those wishing to use the diploma to start their own business. In 2006 the Vegetarian Society's governing body made the decision that the school's resources should also be used towards improving the standards of choice and quality in the professional sector. So the Diploma was completely rewritten and restructured with professional chefs in mind.
In 2008 the cookery school saw its next major change. It was decided the old domestic style kitchens it was originally equipped with where no longer up to the job. Work began converting it into a modern stainless steel kitchen with commercial grade equipment.
This has allowed Cordon Vert to progress into the future by offering the chefs the highest possible standards in workspace and equipment, while creating a modern and exciting kitchen for leisure students, for years to come.