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Cooking over coals with Rupert Cooper



Owner and Head Chef of Philleigh Way Cookery School, Rupert Cooper is a master of the grill. Former rugby player turned outdoor gastronome, Rupert passes on his passion for food and flavour to his students and shares with them his ethos that everyone should eat better. His recipes champion local suppliers and producers and minimise food waste.


Offering courses in everything from butchery to vegan cookery, Rupert tries to be balanced in his approach. Whether that be sourcing locally grown seasonal vegetables, cooking with the best grass-fed beef that grazes on Cornish pastures or encouraging whole-animal eating; the ethos is one of sustainability and food steps not food miles.


Along with traditional cookery courses on baking bread or fish cookery, Rupert is a chef that thinks outside the box – fermenting, foraging, knife skills or a or full-day Argentian asado experience around the fire all feature on the school’s list.



There are also dining experiences to be had. Wood-fired feast nights and supper clubs at the cookery school give guests a chance to watch Rupert cook as well as spending a convivial evening sharing food with new friends. He also hosts pop-up events around the county.


We were delighted to welcome Rupert as guest chef to our last open day where he cooked a delicious whole-roasted celeriac served with mushroom sauce on one of our Kadai bowls, showing their excellent versatility for both cooking and use as a fire pit.


Whole roasted celeriac


● 1 medium celeriac, about 1kg

● olive oil

● coarse sea salt

● a few thyme sprigs

● a few garlic cloves

● butter, to serve


  1. Top and tail the celeriac, then peel. Then par boil for 5-10 mins until it can take a knife.

  2. Place on a large sheet of foil on a baking tray. Rub it all over with olive oil, sprinkle liberally with salt and add a few thyme sprigs and garlic cloves.

  3. Wrap the foil tightly around the celeriac to seal it. Roast for 45 mins in a wood-fired oven or BBQ (or simply bake in a conventional oven), then unwrap the foil from the top and roast for a further 20 minutes, so the skin crisps up a little (large celeriac will take longer to cook). Squidge it a little - the celeriac should feel soft and tender inside.

  4. To serve, cut open and add a large knob of butter, like a giant jacket spud. Serve as it is at the table, for everyone to dig in and help themselves.



Mushroom sauce


● 2 tbsp dried mushrooms

● 1 tsp butter

● 2 shallots, finely diced

● 2 garlic

● 200g mixed mushrooms, rough chopped

● 200g crème fraîche

● 1 tbsp Dijon mustard

● 1 tsp red wine vinegar or Worcester sauce

● thyme


  1. Pour 100ml of boiling water over the dried mushrooms and leave to stand for 5 mins.

  2. In a saucepan, heat the butter and add the shallots/garlic, sweating gently until they are soft and translucent. Add the thyme, lemon zest and mushrooms and cook for 5 mins more.

  3. When they are cooked, pour in 1 tbsp of the liquor from the dried mushrooms and discard the rest.

  4. Chop the dried mushrooms and add them to the pan. Fold in the crème fraîche, bring to a simmer then season.