30 of the best cookery courses across the Muddy counties to tantalise your tastebuds, and impress even the fussiest dinner guest.
BEDFORDSHIRE BERKSHIRE BUCKINGHAMSHIRE CAMBRIDGESHIRE CORNWALL DEVON GLOUCESTERSHIRE HAMPSHIRE HERTFORDSHIRE ISLE OF WIGHT KENT LEICESTERSHIRE NORFOLK NORTHAMPTONSHIRE OXFORDSHIRE RUTLAND SUFFOLK SOMERSET SURREY SUSSEX WARWICKSHIRE WILTSHIRE
Jean-Christophe Novelli Academy, Luton, Beds
Fancy picking up some culinary tips from 5 AA Rosette and Michelin award winning Jean-Christophe Novelli? At his cookery school in Luton there’s a range of courses available (led by the man himself and his team), from quick, easy and healthy recipes to French Patisserie and seafood, starting from £149 per person (with short course demos from £99). Plus, you get to eat all that delicious food afterwards! And those living further afield don’t have to miss out as there are masterclass packages which include an overnight stay at nearby Luton Hoo Hotel. Gift vouchers are available from £99 – £995.
Baking Classes, The Real Macaron Company
Ready to play Great British Bake Off bingo? The Real Macaron Company’s brilliant baking classes are so close to the famous tent, you could gatecrash the filming (*joking*). But seriously, if anyone can help you rise to the occasion, it’s the super-talented Gaye Perry. Gaye runs a range of baking classes (from £50pp) that are the renowned for being fun and informative. Test your skills making macarons; create an entire English afternoon tea from scratch; or perhaps doughnuts, American brownies or bread are more your bag. Great for junior bakers and grown ups wrestling with their soggy bottoms. Gift vouchers available.
Voted No1 UK cookery schools, by The Independent, if you love food just the way mama cooks it, then Caldesi’s is the place to learn. Take a culinary tour of Italy, without setting foot outside of Bray, and discover how to make perfect pasta; dishes from Tuscany, Venice, Sicily and Amalfi; get to grips with fish or discover Giancarlo’s low-carb weight loss secrets. What? Low carb? And he’s Italian! But it can be done. The school caters for all skills and there are courses for kids, younger cooks and adults. Courses £135pp includes lunch and wine.
Milton Keynes Cookery School, Milton Keynes
Previously named the Inspired Gourmet Cookery School, this Milton Keynes-based cookery teaching hub hosts several evening and day courses, covering technical chef skills like fish filleting, knife skills, pasta making, as well as courses focused on nailing a specific cuisine (there’s a particularly tasty-sounding Mexican Masterclass). They also offer corporate team-building classes, plus gift cards for an unusual Christmas present or not-so-subtle hint to your pasta-burning other half.
Cambridge Cookery, Cambridge
Cambridge Cookery is a delicious-sounding mixture of all our favourite things – an independent neighbourhood meeting place, an award-winning cookery school, and a Scandi-chic, Italian-inspired café and wine bar with seriously good food, drink and plenty of amazing foodie events. The cookery school is run by pro chef and food writer Tina Roche, and has something for everyone, whether you struggle to make an omelette or are already confident in your cooking style and want to hone your knife skills or master bread. Fed up of always cooking for your kids? This December they’re running various parent and child baking courses, and throughout the year you’ll find eight week contemporary cooking courses, plus cuisine-specific (South East Asia, French pastry, and Italian) and ingredient-specific (fish, beef and pasta) courses. Courses cost £1095 for an eight-weeker/ £150 for a day course, plus they do vouchers, and you can reward yourself afterwards with a glass or two in the wine bar.
Philleigh Way Cookery School, Court Farm, Philleigh, Near Truro
Combine a day in the kitchen with a visit to one of the loveliest parts of Cornwall. Set on a farm on the beautiful Roseland peninsular and led by chef chef Rupert Cooper, Philleigh Way offers a wide choice of cookery courses, including Cornwall in a day, Italian, Thai and plenty of masterclasses. Expect to watch demonstrations from the pros, then put your new skills into practice with plenty of guidance – and banter – from the team. You’ll cook up your own lunch and leave with plenty of ingredients, and recipes, to continue at home. Prosecco is served mid-morning and wine is available with lunch. These courses are suitable for beginners, but also those who do all the cooking at home. Learn to work with the freshest local seasonal ingredients: fish and shellfish are landed daily, meat and vegetables are grown on the farm and wild food is foraged from the woodland, hedgerows and river banks. Philleigh Way also offers feast nights in the stunning grounds.
Viennoiserie Course, The Artisan Bakery School, Sparkwell, Dartmoor
Ditch the sliced white, and discover the art of hand-crafted croissants, brioche and delectable Danish pastries with artisan bakers Dragan Matijevic and Penny Williams. Dragan first came to Britain in the 70’s and, despairing at the paucity of decent bread, used his loaf and learnt how to make his own, free from nasty chemicals using heritage grain flours. The pair have now passed on their indisputable skills to thousands at their school on the edge of Dartmoor. As well as pastry courses, you can learn to make artisan bread, sourdough and rye, wood-oven pizza and flower-festooned wedding breads. They do day courses and weekend breaks – a treat for you or the gift for the Bake Off fan in your life.
Harts Barn Cookery School, Longhope
This all-singing, all-dancing cookery school on the edge of the Forest of Dean has a massive range of Cookery Experiences on offer, from Cooking with Fire – there’s an amazing fire pit with clay ovens – to kids’ cookery classes. It’s also a brilliant place to come with a group – the hen and stag parties sound like a blast, with various themes such as curry night and brewery tour and ready, steady, cook challenges, and they also throw brilliant kids’ parties and corporate bonding shindigs. Oh, and the monthly supper clubs are not to be missed – basically, you could move in, learn something new everyday and be fed to your heart’s content.
The Kitchen @ Chewton Glen
It’s safe to say that the Hotel of the Year for England is going to have a strong food game, and at Chewton Glen’s cookery school – The Kitchen – you can take a little bit of that expertise home with the myriad of cooking classes on offer. With a team that includes TV chef James Martin and Chef Tutor Steve Bulmer (who was senior chef de cuisine at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons among other prestigious roles), you know you’ll receive expert advice and tutelage here. Using produce grown on the estate and in the greenhouse, courses include The Best of Bread (Feb 27th 2020) and Recreate Chewton Glen Classics (16th Jan and 5th March 2020).
The Cooking Academy, Rickmansworth, Herts
Stuck in a foodie rut? This one’s got your name on it, with bags of courses giving beginner and more experienced cooks loads of inspiration, practical skills and technical knowledge to take home with them. All courses are hands-on and taught by expert chefs in a home-from-home kitchen environment, and are designed for individuals as well as groups of friends of family. Courses range from those tailored to nutritional and special dietary requirements to discovering how to cook different nationalities of cuisine (think Asian Street Food, Spanish Tapas and Indian breadmaking), as well as knife skills and learning an essential repertoire of six dishes. Half day classes start from £115 per person, but vouchers are available for as little as £25 which the foodie in your life can put towards an experience of their choice.
ISLE OF WIGHT
The Cook School @ Thompson’s, Newport
How about learning under the guidance of the youngest Chef to be awarded a Michelin Star? Chef Robert Thompson is famous both on the Island and off for his contemporary dishes that have oodles of traditional charm to them. Aa well as making the most of the Wight’s incredible produce, his courses including Chocolate (5th December 2019) and Vegetarian Cooking (23rd January 2020) are incredibly thorough and an snip at £79pp.
The Kent Cookery School, near Ashford
This hidden gem is based deep in the heart of picturesque Kent, in the stunning setting of the Mersham-le-Hatch Estate and its 190-acre deer park, near Ashford. The cookery school is located in the country house’s old listed barn (which has been spruced up inside) and offers a huge range of workshops and courses – from European to Indian and Asian Cookery and Weber Grill Academy to Street Food Courses. It makes a great destination for private parties too (they can work with you to perfect a theme) or you and your friends can enjoy Chef’s Table – an exclusive private dinner hosted by their resident chef for just 14 guests who will have the opportunity to watch, interact and enjoy the theatre and skill of live cooking.
LEICESTERSHIRE & RUTLAND
Namaste Village Cookery Classes, Norwich
Love a cheeky take-away? Here’s your chance to impress your friends with a range of healthy vegetarian and vegan Indian dishes. Definitely one of our Friday night favourites – Namaste Village, Norwich is now sharing its spice secrets at their monthly cookery classes where Chef Urmila will teach you how to magic up a Masala and dazzle with a dahl. Classes are every third Sunday of the month, last approximately 3 hours and cost £65pp.
The Mindful Cook, Norfolk
The Mindful Cook’s retreats are based in the kitchen, but are not your traditional cookery courses. The weekend is all about well-being and how small nutritional changes can have a big impact on how you feel. Simple healthy food, movement and mindfulness – ideal for anyone looking to improve their relationship with food with out the stress of the dreaded ‘D’ word. Plus added Muddy Bonus – the retreat includes two nights bed and breakfast at a beautiful country venue in Norfolk with morning yoga, an evening meditation and meals. Starts at £375 all inclusive.
Bay Tree Cottage, Farthingstone nr Daventry
You know how you’ve always wanted to grow flowers in a cutting garden or harvest hedgerow fruit in the autumn and make delicious puddings from your grandparents’ era? Well, based in the heart of rural Northamptonshire Bay Tree Cottage runs a pretty diverse range of art, craft, gardening, floristry, foraging and cookery workshops…skills you didn’t even know you needed! Learn master culinary skills from around the world, create a piece of artwork for your home, or embrace the season with homemade gifts, decorations and their soon to run festive bread making session! Combined with some scrumptious refreshments to keep you going, what’s not to like? btcworkshops.co.uk
Shires Cookery School, The Red Lion, East Haddon
The Shires Cookery School based at The Red Lion, East Haddon has a brilliant reputation. The classes open up a world of delicious, fresh and healthy food to people of all ages and levels of culinary expertise. The brilliant tutors who know their stuff and there’s a fabulous kitchen from which to work on your puddings, salads, or coming up this month The Pudding Club yule logs!
The Raymond Blanc Cookery School, Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Little Milton
If you want to learn from the crème de la crème of the culinary world, then Raymond Blanc’s cookery school is a dead cert. The double Michelin-starred restaurant runs classes and demonstrations almost daily, with loads of options from pastry and canapés to dinner party masterclasses and children’s courses. There are also cook and stay packages and a four day, five night residential. Classes aren’t as intimidating as you might think (don’t worry, Raymond isn’t peering over your shoulder watching every slice and whisk) and you’re taught in small, friendly groups with an informal lunch at the end if you opt for a full day course. Classes aren’t cheap – it’s around £185 for a half day and £365 full day – but hey, it’s Le Manoir, so money well spent.
ICE Cook School, Bury St Edmunds
This cookery school and café on Rougham Industrial Estate, with neon signs, graffiti artwork and cocktails is so cool it’s called ICE (aka Infusions Culinary Experience). With two GB Master Chefs on the regular list of tutors, a professional development kitchen and a cook shop with gadgets we’ve never even heard of on site, this is the three-Michelin starred version of the cookery school world. Courses include everything from Basic Butchery and Breads of the World to Patisserie for Beginners and Stocks and Sauces. But, it’s not all serious cooking. They also host fun children’s parties, as well as a regular kids clubs and a fun hands-on (ahem, mind where those hands are going please!) Date Night course, which puts the romance into cooking together.
Masterchef winner cooks up Malaysian, near Bath
Learn how to blend spices and prepare Malaysian classics and street food like chicken satay, beef rendang and nasi lemak with Masterchef winner Ping Coombes. Although Ping’s Masak Club, near Bath, is a Malaysian cookery school, it’s more like cooking with friends as it’s super relaxed, takes place in her own kitchen and with only six people in each class. PS. ‘Masak’ means ‘to cook’ in Malaysian. £125 per person, gift vouchers available.
Run by private chef and pop-up supper club host Laura Scott in her fabulous home kitchen, these half-day sourdough workshops are super popular and often sell out way in advance. You’ll learn the basic principles of making sourdough bread, including the starter, and a demo on how to mix and shape your dough. It’s followed by lunch of local cheeses, seasonal soup, limitless sourdough bread and a glass of locally sourced Surrey wine. £50, including lunch.
The Artisan Bakehouse, Ashurst, West Sussex
Visit for the day or stay over in a cottage at this pretty site near Steyning and learn to bake breads in a traditional wood-burning oven, or perhaps become a marvel at macrons. Pastry making, Easter and Irish baking, gluten free bread, Valentine’s macrons, and Viennoiserie, pastries and enriched doughs are among the tasty small group workshops coming up for the new year. Most classes are suitable for beginners or enthusiasts and renowned baker and author Emmanuel Hadjiandreou is among the teachers. Recipe adaptions ensure you can recreate your masterpieces at home. You can even make a party of it with a tailor-made bread or pizza workshop for up to ten friends.
Noble and Stace chocolate masterclasses, various Sussex locations
Learn how to make ganache fillings, temper chocolate, roll truffles and decorate moulds, and come away with a bounty of handmade creations, thanks to a masterclass from well-loved artisan chocolatier Noble and Stace. Regular workshops run in West Sussex with numbers capped at eight, or you can book a private class for a group. There’s even a children’s version for parties. With undated vouchers available it’s also a fun experience to gift for Christmas (and you might just get some of the haul!)
Eureka Kitchen, Simpsons, Birmingham
Simpsons, led by chef director, Luke Tipping, retained its Michelin star for 2020. Their Eureka Kitchen is regarded as one of the best in the region. After cooking, you’ll take a short break to sip champagne (or non-alcoholic alternative) while the team set up the Chef’s table. You’ll sit down to a 3-course lunch including some dishes you’ve prepared earlier, then be invited to help the chef plate up, learning tips for ‘Michelin worthy presentation’. Courses have 10 spaces. Booking is best 8 weeks in advance. Cost: £150 per person for the day, running on a Sat and Wed. Gift vouchers available.
The Orange Kitchen Cookery School, Becketts Farm, Alcester Road, Wythall, Birmingham
This cookery school boasts three talented chefs: Sangeeta Dubb, Tom Court and Iain Courage and offers a huge range of courses for 2020 from world cuisine – French, Portuguese, Italian, Moroccan, Caribbean, Thai and Japanese – to Best of British, Cook a Curry with Sangeeta and Beer & Butchery. Three-hour half term cookery lessons for 8-15-year-olds aim to get kids into ‘real cooking’ (next date is in the Easter hols, details TBC). Located just across the Birmingham and Warks border, it’s part of a large award-winning family farm, farm shop and restaurant.
The Cooking School, Warminster
Even a total non-cook like me loves a cooking course (actually, I need a cooking course) – The Cooking School runs a fab range of cooking lessons and courses, in a relaxed, fun atmosphere (no culinary snobs here). Whether you are a kitchen novice or a Master Chef hopeful, there’s a lesson or a course to help you finesse those skills in the kitchen. Fancy brushing up on your knife skills? Delivering divine South American street food? Perfecting your patisserie? It’s all here.
Vaughan’s Cookery School, Devizes
Fancy a Masterchef challenge with an edible end result? The team at Vaughan’s Cookery School are here to help. We love Vaughan’s cool, calm and inventive approach to getting your cooking back on track – their courses cover everything from Speedy Meals to Basic Bread to Thai, Lebanese and Indian Street Food, and you’ll need to book seriously far in advance for guest tutors. They also run Mini Chefs and Young Chefs for budding cordon bleu’s.
The Farm Cookery School, Bromham
Rusland Cookery School, Haydon Wick
A big fat culinary thumbs up for this super-friendly cookery school in North Wilts. At Rusland Cookery School, under the vast knowledge of Chef Tutor, John Bridgeman, brush up your cooking skills in a lovely purpose-built kitchen set within the grounds of his family home. Learn how to cater a dinner party and create flashy menus with a Mediterranean flair, a touch of British grandeur or a little French ooh-la-la. Taster courses are on offer for the dunces amongst us.