We did a post recently about how the Celebrity Chef seems to be the star of the moment – click here to read. With this movement of adoration comes a passion from the public about all things ‘chef’ – not least cooking like one! Cookery schools have been growing in number and popularity with several becoming real destination places for special occasions – not just to hone your cooking skills. Of course they are also incredibly useful for those people that really can’t cook and need help!
Below are the ones that seem to be leading the field at the moment.
1. Lucknam Park Cookery School, Wiltshire
The school offers a unique opportunity for anyone who enjoys cooking to perfect their skills and master new techniques through a variety of innovative courses led by former National Chef of the Year, Hrishikesh Desai, with the guidance of Lucknam Park’s Michelin starred Executive Chef Hywel Jones. The Cookery School is located in a small house on the estate, just a short walk from the hotel and many of the courses include home grown seasonal produce from Lucknam’s kitchen garden. Lucknam offers ‘stay and cook’ packages.
2. The Raymond Blanc Cookery School at Le Manoir Aux Quat ‘Saison
Raymond Blanc’s cookery school is designed for both the novice and the more experienced cook who want to produce seriously gourmet meals. The ecole is actually in the two-Michelin-star Manoir kitchens so you can watch all the sous-chefs and Monsieur Blanc sweating over preparations of the day’s fare. Classes are taught by Stephen Bulmer, a friendly and entertaining chef and classes are reported to be Informal and surprisingly unintimidating, but costly.
3. Eckington Manor, Worcestershire
Eckington Manor pairs up the warm and winning combination of a state-of-the-art cooking school with luxury bed and breakfast. The Manor is situated in Worcestershire’s fruitful Vale of Evesham in the middle of a 260-acre farm that supplies ingredients for the school, cook shop and restaurant. Courses include bread-making, game and fish, as well as Aga cookery. The courtyard is just a short stroll from the school and provides the setting for 15 sumptuous boutique bedrooms with private bathrooms.
4. Padstow Seafood School, Cornwall
Probably one of the most well known, the school is on the quayside looking across the water to Rock. Clients still report a thrill to be preparing fish in this stunning kitchen where the whole morning revolves basically around lunch. You’ll cover everything from filleting a plaice to stir-frying squid, braising brill to steaming sea bass.
5. Ashburton Cookery School, Devon
The courses of the multi-award winning ACS have all been designed to be as accessible and practical as possible for preparation at home. The ingredients they use are easily sourced from everyday suppliers, and you won’t find a focus on rare or exotic ingredients that often take longer to find than to make the recipe itself. Set in a beautiful Georgian town on the edge of Dartmoor, the Ashburton Cookery School offers over 40 cookery courses to choose from, designed to suit specific skill levels.
6. Richard Bertinet, Bath
The Bertinet Kitchen opened in September 2005 in the centre of beautiful and historic Bath. Owned and run by French chef and baker, Richard Bertinet, the school offers a range of relaxed and fun courses for food lovers of all abilities and specialist baking and bread-making courses for amateurs and professionals alike. The Bertinet Kitchen exudes an air of calm and Richard’s sense of humour provides a constant stream of amusement throughout the class.
7. Thyme at Southrop Manor, Gloucestershire
The range of kitchen-based or countryside courses at this cookery school based at Southrop Manor in Gloucestershire includes hands-on experiences such as bread-making, cheese-making, charcuterie and preserving. Those who like to go native can try foraging, butchery and game. A strong emphasis on cultivation and locally sourced produce is inspired by the school’s own vegetable garden. The estate has five luxury vacation rental cottages, suitable for groups, families or couples, which offer a quirky take on the grand English country house experience. The cottages have been renovated largely by local craftsmen using local materials.
8. The Devilled Egg Kitchen Academy, Bristol
The practices and principles of working in the professional kitchen transfer very well to a domestic cooking space. A course at The Devilled Egg will make the student see their kitchen in a whole new light. Cookery methods and skills are thoroughly explained and demonstrated at each stage to create amazing results from the adventurous to the sublime. Students work at their individual pace and aptitude, acquiring valuable knowledge and techniques along the way, bridging the gap between ‘fine dining’ and domestic cooking.
9. Food at 52 Cookery School, London
Food at 52 operates from a unique and atmospheric cookery school in the heart of Clerkenwell on Central Street. Great care has been taken to create a homely and relaxed environment to learn how to cook in – people immediately feel at ease and are ready to enjoy the class. Upstairs is an eclectic and funky lounge area to mingle with other guests over a bottle of wine. Downstairs in the kitchen, the action takes place around a vast custom built oak and stone table.
10. “10 in 8” Fine Dining Academy, Berkshire
The 10 in 8 Group collection includes the Fine Dining Academy cookery school. At this cookery school with a difference guests are taught the creative and technical skills required to prepare and deliver a fine-dining experience at home. The Chefs running these fully hands on courses are some of the UK’s top talent including award-winning Chefs Alan Murchison, Will Holland, Phil Fanning and other guest chefs, each at the pinnacle of their career.
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