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Cat Sheppard

Cat has been teaching cookery for more than ten years, previously running a cookery school in Berkshire for Mike Robinson on Game and Wild Food which opened in 2007. Later she moved on to work for the Children’s Food Trust on the Let’s Get Cooking programme, which trained and set up over 7,000 cookery clubs across England, reaching over 3 million children.

Cat ran the London region for over seven years, working with schools, children’s centres, community centres and further education colleges. She built relationships and sponsorship with a number of large corporate organisations including Tesco, and went on to work with them to run cookery courses, teaching thousands more children basic cooking skills in store.

Now based in the world-famous ski resort of Verbier, Switzerland, Cat partnered up with Amy Corbett to open the Mountain Thyme Cookery School in 2017. Their love of teaching and passing on their hard-won skills to the next generation is evident. Also catering to the rich & famous as well as running a home-made ready-meal delivery service, they plan to expand to other Swiss resorts in the very near future.

Video Description

Mountain Thyme Cookery School based in Verbier, Switzerland, invites you into their classroom with these online lessons in cooking and baking.

In this episode with Chef Cat Sheppard you will learn how to poach an egg. With these step by step instructions you will learn to perfect the art of poaching and put together a 5 star breakfast. 


1 or 2 eggs per person

1 tbsp salt

Large shallow-sided pan filled with water

Kitchen paper

Slotted spoon or potato masher


Bring a pan of water to the boil, and heavily salt it. Wait for the salt to dissolve, then turn the heat down until you have a very gentle simmer (with hardly any small bubbles).

When your water has reached the right temperature, you have two options for getting the egg in. You want to ease it into the water without creating any splash, as this will break up the albumen. If you have asbestos fingers, then break the egg over the water with it touching the surface. However, if you don’t wish to burn your fingers, it is probably better to tip the egg into a small mug or cup, then slip the egg into the water from the cup, holding onto the handle.

You can cook as many eggs at a time that there is room in the pan for, but make sure they each have space in between and do it in a clock-wise fashion, so you know which ones need removing first.

While they are cooking try not to fiddle with them or move them about as this will break up the eggs. When they look ready, gently lift one with a slotted spoon or a flat potato masher works well. If the white holds together you can lift it out to see by touching it whether it is ready. The whites should be a solid colour and no longer translucent. If it starts to come away from the yolk it is not ready yet.

When you are satisfied the white is cooked and the yolk is still runny, lift each egg carefully out and place on a doubled over piece of kitchen paper. This will drain any excess water. Carefully dab the top of the egg with the kitchen paper as well. Season some more and serve!

Top Tips: The eggs must be the best quality to hold together. The ability for the egg white to retain its shape and texture has a lot to do with the quality of the feed the chicken has been given. Generally the thicker the shell, the better the egg. Serve them on buttered toast or English muffins, with smoked salmon, spinach, ham, avocado, bacon or hollandaise sauce! You can actually cook poached eggs in advance, by dropping them into ice-cold water as soon as they are cooked. Drain and store them in the fridge, not touching one another in a sealed container, then just re heat them in nearly boiling water for 1 minute when ready to eat.

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