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Gastro heaven

29 of the best cookery courses to tantalise your tastebuds (and impress your dinner guests).

BERKSHIRE BUCKINGHAMSHIRE CORNWALL DEVON GLOUCESTERSHIRE HAMPSHIRE KENT NORFOLKNORTHAMPTONSHIRE OXFORDSHIRE SOMERSET SURREY SUSSEX WARWICKSHIRE WILTSHIRE

 

CORNWALL

Forage, Cook & Feast Days, Fat Hen Wild Cookery School, St Buryan nr Penzance 

Hate food waste? Love a good ramble? This one’s for you. A day of foraging and learning to cook wild food with Caroline Davey of wild cookery school Fat Hen. Foraging is all the rage in these parts and where better to roam the countryside identifying edibles? This jam-packed taster day involves a 2hr foraging mission around the wild seashores, hedgerows and woodlands of West Cornwall, seeking out everything from herbs and seaweeds to fungi, roots and berries. Caroline will teach you how to forage safely and legally (beware poisonous lookalikes!) and share top tips for incorporating these ingredients into your cooking. Then you’ll head back to Fat Hen, to whip up a feast of wild dishes for lunch.  There will also be an introduction to fish or game on the course, including how to to butcher a rabbit or fillet a fish. Courses run from 9.30am – 4pm and cost £125pp. fathen.org

 

Gin Making Masterclass, An Mor, Bude

Listen up gin lovers! That’s all of you right? Want to learn a skill that will serve you for life? Head over to Bude’s quirky/cool An Mor Hotel for a masterclass in gin distilling. Discover the history of gin, taste a variety of flavours, learn about botanicals and create your own unique blend. Students use beautiful copper stills to produce their own custom gins (a 500ml bottle each) to take away, then toast their achievements with… you guessed it! There’s also a brand new sushi bar at An Mor if you need something to soak it all up. Muddy recently tried out the masterclass – learned loads and loved the cool, apothecary-like gin room. The gin parties would be so much fun for a birthday celebration or special girls night. 4hr Masterclass – £90pp, 2hr Gin Making Parties – £40pp. experiencesanmor.co.uk

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GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Natural Cookery School, Stroud

blue plate colourful salad tomatoes

This tasty, mobile vegetarian cookery school pops up everywhere from pubs and hired venues to people’s homes and organic farms. The brainchild of American Erin Baker, who cut her culinary teeth in California and knows how to make veggie food sing, the tempting menu of courses includes Curries of the World, Flavours of the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Mezze. We’ve got our eye on the five-day Seed to Plate cookery retreat at the bucolic Abbey Home Farm near Cirencester in August, where you’ll raid the ten-acre organic vegetable garden and farm creamery to create delicious meat-free meals and learn the art of fermenting, preserving, baking bread and sprouting. naturalcookeryschool.com

 

Harts Barn Cookery School, Longhope

wooden dining table benches outdoors green fields blue sky potted plants

This all-singing, all-dancing cookery school on the edge of the Forest of Dean has a massive range of classes 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! hartsbarncookeryschool.co.uk

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OXFORDSHIRE

The Raymond Blanc Cookery School, Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Little Milton

Only the best will do for you? Say bonjour to cooking the Raymond Blanc way. The famed restaurant runs classes almost daily, with a vast range of options. Stylish soups, patisserie, Spring dinner party, creative canapés and various children’s courses are all upcoming, although sign me up for “the magic of macarons” pronto, merci beaucoup. You’re taught in small, friendly groups and the kitchens replicate a home set-up, with normal-sized sinks and work surfaces, so it’s not as intimidating as you might imagine. You can also nosey around the stunning hotel grounds and kitchen gardens. This kind of higher cookery education doesn’t come cheap – it’s around £185 for a half day and £365 full day – but then of course this is a two Michelin starred gaff. belmond.com

 

Sophie’s Cookery School, Oxford

The Sophie in question is Sophie Grigson, veteran food TV presenter and author so you can rest assured your teacher definitely knows her onions (literally). She works with a group of chefs and tutors from around the world so the wide range of courses has some pleasingly niche options for the adventurous cook, with lemongrass, lime and chilli; kimchi and kefir and Caribbean party alongside more trad options such as pasta making and knife skills. Many classes take place in a Cowley Road café, but it’s also a pop-up school so will travel to your corporate event, hen party etc. A three-hour evening course typically costs £75. sophiescookeryschool.co.uk

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KENT

Rosemary Shrager Cookery School, Tunbridge Wells

Run by national treasure and top chef Rosemary herself, this cookery school is housed within The Corn Exchange, a beautiful three-storey regency building in Tunbridge Wells. There’s a brilliant selection of One Day and Weekend Courses so you can hone your skills on everything from British Classics to Indian Street Food or baking Artisan Bread to Seasonal Dinner Parties. And loads of courses for kids too – including Junior Gourmet (8 – 12 years) and Teenage Gourmet (13 – 16 years). Or, if you’re game, you and your mudlet can bake together with the Cooking With Your Family option. A course here would make a great gift (I’ll take the Chocolate Masterclass thank you). Kids day courses cost around £59 and adult day courses around £160. rosemaryshrager.com

 

Delicious Occasions, Horsmonden

This boutique little baking business specialises in creating gorgeous cakes all handmade by the super talented Claire St Quinton. And if you want to learn an awesome new skill, and seriously impress your friends/family/other school mums on cake sale day (my donations always come in a supermarket wrapper) she runs fab workshops on everything from Flawless Finish to Wired Sugar Flowers at her small and perfectly formed studio in the Kent countryside. It’s a really relaxed environment and Claire promises that, no matter what your baking skills are, anybody can do it – they just need a patient tutor! So check out her upcoming courses, which start from £65. deliciousoccasions.co.uk

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WARWICKSHIRE

Bread for Life – Artisan home-baking, Leamington Spa

A real bread making enterprise by Leamington Spa mum-of-two Jess Mooney – a self-taught baker sharing how to make beautiful handcrafted sourdough, fermented foods & GF goodies at home. The former Jaguar Landrover marketing exec took up bread-making after a spell in Melbourne, Australia, inspired by the great cafe culture over there. Unimpressed by the bland, additive-rich Sourdoughs on offer in UK supermarkets on her return, she taught herself. Spurred on by demand Jess is now teaching mid-week and weekend workshops with locally milled unbleached flours from Charlecote and Shipton Mills. Coming up this spring/summer at Oken’s Kitchen, Warwick there’s Advanced Sourdough, Pretzels, Focaccia & BagelsBasic Introduction to Bread MakingGluten Free Pasta & Bread and a Fermenting Foods and Gut Health Workshop. breadforlife.org.uk

 

Henley Chocolates, Wootton Wawen

Artisan chocolate hand crafted at a chocolaterie in Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire, include some wonderfully inventive flavours such as Raspberry Lemonade white chocolate bars, Jersey Black Butter Apple Caramels, Chai Tea handmade truffles and Stratford Gin chocolate truffles. They sell ‘silly chocolates, serious chocolate and everything in between’ using the best local ingredients, with ethical chocolate sourced from Banbury-based Barry Callebaut. You can go to their Warwickshire workshop to see, hear, taste, touch and smell the chocolate and try your hand at making your own. Forthcoming workshops include the 90-minute seasonally-themed School Holiday Chocolate Making (the next dates are May 29 & 31, £15 per child) for ages 4-7 & 8+ and Chocolate Truffle Making workshop for serious chocolate lovers, (June 6, £39pp). henleychocolates.co.uk

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NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

Bay Tree Cottage, Farthingstone nr Daventry

You know how you’ve always wanted to grow flowers in a cutting garden, harvest hedgerow fruit in the autumn or rediscover traditional crafts 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 festive season with homemade gifts, goodies & decorations! 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

Sushi by Yuko from Ginko Sushi…quite frankly, we’d want to do that course purely because of the name! The Shires Cookery School based at The Red Lion, East Haddon has a brilliant reputation. The classes open up a world of delish, fresh and healthy food to people of all ages and levels of culinary expertise. Is there a pudding you’re desperate to master or six sumptuous summer salads you want to perfect? Then Shires Cookery School is for you. If you’re looking for a great day out, brilliant tutors who know their stuff and a fabulous kitchen, check it out now, there’s loads of mouth watering stuff on for the coming months. Bon Apettit. shirescookeryschool.com

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BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

Canapease, Chesham

If your typical approach to party nibbles involves opening some Kettle Chips and a jar of olives, then a Canapease class will blow your tiny mind. Karen is keen on taking the stress out of entertaining so focuses on make-ahead recipes (which means more time quaffing champagne on the night – sounds good to us). You’ll learn how to make six different canapés, including a sweet option, in her home kitchen in Bellingdon, Chesham. Classes typically last 90 minutes, cost a very reasonable £40 – and you get to wolf them down, and take a recipe booklet home. canapease.com

 

Inspired Gourmet Cookery School, Broughton

Run by a team of pro chefs, this Milton Keynes venue has something for everyone, whatever your level of cuisine whizzery. There are various children’s courses this coming May half term (a smart, self-serving move to teach your kids to cook, I say), a six week Cooking With Confidence course in Oct, plus a whole bunch of cuisine-specific classes (Indian, Thai, Korean etc). You can also get help in mastering the basics – the perfect fish and chips or steak, or learning five dishes that thriftily use up a whole chicken. All are reasonably priced from £40 to a two-hour evening session to £360 for a six-week course. Do invite me around for dinner afterwards, won’t you? inspiredgourmet.co.uk

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SUSSEX

The Artisan Bakehouse, Ashurst

Beginner or an enthusiast, you’ll learn to bake popular international breads in a traditional wood-burning oven at The Artisan Bakehouse, or perhaps become a marvel at macrons. Renowned baker and author Emmanuel Hadjiandreou is among the teachers this year and recipe adaptions ensure you can recreate your masterpieces at home. The pretty site at Ashurst near Steyning has cottages where you can stay over, surrounded by woodland. You can even make a party of it with a tailor-made bread or pizza workshop for up to ten friends. Macron Making, Mediterranean Breads, Serious about Sourdough, Glorious Grains and Christmas Breads are the enticing workshops booking now. theartisanbakehouse.com

 

Foodini Club

Wherever you live, get kids cooking with clever new kits from Brighton-based Foodini Club. Each month your postie will deliver illustrated recipe cards for one savoury and one naturally sweetened creation plus the non-perishable ingredients in eco-friendly packaging (in Brighton you can also opt for the fresh stuff). Then, you and yours can rustle up the likes of spinach polenta chips and tomato sauce, spicy veg fritters or choconana muffins. There’s a free activity too, like a craft or seeds to grow. From one-off packs to the monthly kits or simple Recipe Card Club, it makes a fab gift. If you’re local you can also find Foodini at Florence Road Market. foodiniclub.co.uk

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NORFOLK

Richard Hughes Cookery School, Norwich

Just looking at the The Richard Hughes Cookery school course menu has my mouth watering. We are particularly drawn to Wine Wednesday where you learn to match three dishes to the perfect wine. A little different to our usual interpretation but sounds like a fun night out for the girls. Each month there’s a wide programme on offer. Learn to master fish, terrines and pickles, game, cakes and chocolate and the perfect patisserie. Group events, corporate away days and children’s workshops (parties) are all available! With the promise of some celebrity chefs popping in during 2018, it’s definitely worth checking out the website. richardhughescookeryschool.co.uk

 

The Mindful Cook

The Mindful Cook aka the lovely Josie Buck creatively brings food and wellbeing together for a weekend of traditional cooking and mindfulness. Don’t worry, you won’t be stroking a pear for hours on end! This retreat is designed to provide you with realistic, practical techniques that you can use every day and encourages you to consider your relationship with food.Through demonstrations and taking part in food preparation, you’ll learn how to create healthy dishes that are interesting and indulgent. You will have a folder stuffed full of recipes and inspiration to take home and hopefully not lost under all the Joe Wickes recipe books! The aim of the retreat is to help you get a better understanding of how you can achieve your health goals without sacrificing the enjoyment of great food – hoorah! Added Muddy Bonus – the retreat includes two nights bed and breakfast at a beautiful venue in Norfolk, morning yoga, an evening meditation and meals. themindfulcook.co.uk

 

DEVON

Exeter Cookery School, Exeter

cookery school

Exeter Cookery School – look, there’s Jim!

This is an award-winning cookery school with character; it’s wonderfully situated, by the water on Exeter’s historic quayside, within a gorgeous converted 1830s warehouse. We’re mightily impressed by owners, husband and wife team Jim and Lucy (The Chef and the Management, they call themselves), who offer an enormous array of half and full-day courses, plus corporate and team building days, that are hands-on, fun and can transform even the most reluctant cooks.  From basic baking, to fancy pants desserts and everything in-between – they’re up for it and their enthusiasm and humour is both endearing and infectious, trust us! exetercookeryschool.co.uk

 

Ashburton Cookery School, Ashburton

Ashburton Cookery School academy exterior

This nationally renowned school on the edge of Dartmoor, in the super-chic town of Ashburton is a complete joy from start to finish. There are several campuses plus accommodation; The East Street Campus is based in the heart of town with pretty, characterful kitchens; while the purpose built chefs academy on the edge of town, has three state of the art kitchens, and views of rolling hills and moorland. Pick from half-day, one-day and weekend courses specialising in all manner of cuisines, techniques and levels, and delivered by a team of highly trained chef tutors.  Go forth and conquer your cooking, Muddies! ashburtoncookeryschool.co.uk

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BERKSHIRE

Healthy Cookery, Ridgeway Nutrition

Wooden tray with rope handles on slate top full of fruit veg and pulses herbs

Struggling to hit your 5-a-day? Bored of the same meals week in, week out? Then Flick, a diet and nutrition advisor, is your go to gal. Grab your mates (up to 6), make it fun, and Flick will teach you how to cook healthy and delicious family meals that take you beyond spag bol and a fish fingers, sustainability awareness, fun food so you don’t fall off the weight loss wagon and tasty meals for dietary concerns, be it allergy awareness or boosting your health due to a deficiency. Better still, Flick will come to you. So it’s like having a dinner party with your bestie every week – and courses are totally bespoke. ridgewaynutrition.co.uk

 

Italian Cookery, Caldesi Cookery School

Stunning Italian food can, just for a minute, whisk you back to your best holidays: sun warming your skin, fabulous fresh food, glass of Barolo in hand. Ahhhhh… and relax.  So imagine recreating that moment at home – and there are no better teachers than Giancarlo and Kate Caldesi who run courses from their London cookery school, La Cecina Caldesi, their Bray restaurant Caldesi in Campagna in Berks and Caldesi’s Kitchen in Bucks. They offer kids, beginners and more accomplished cooks the chance to learn regional dishes, seafood workshops, pizza and pasta. You name it, they’ll teach it. Plus they’ve written cookbooks too, so you can have the Caldesi expertise with you every day. caldesi.com

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WILTSHIRE

Vaughan’s Cookery School, Devizes

Photo by Hannah Tasker on Unsplash

Fancy a Masterchef challenge with an edible end result? Um, yes please. Although with my culinary skills there is rarely any edible end result…Fear not, the team at Vaughan’s Cookery School are here to put that right (brace yourselves, you’ve got an uphill battle with me, chaps). 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 such as Juanita Hennessey, MasterChef finalist and Brittany Manning, top class pastry chef. They also run Mini Chefs and Young Chefs for budding cordon bleu’s. vaughanskitchen.co.uk

 

The Farm Cookery School, Bromham

Kids’ holiday clubs, children’s parties, plus classes for us grown-up lot in everything from making soup and sauces to baking bread at The Farm Cookery School. Guest chefs, masterclasses and cook-and-dine classes, all spiced up with tastes from Goa, Kerala, Morocco, Korea and Spain…Muddy loves it all. We vote for their Perk Ups – if you’re bored of cooking the same food day in, day out (uh, yes) you get to sit back and relax while the good guys here demonstrate some cool new dishes. You get to eat it too and word on the ground is, you will be full! Their holiday clubs for kids book up fast and if you run a business, The Farm are perfect for team building or conference days. Don’t miss Mad Millie’s Cheese Making Classes. I’ll leave you to explore that one… thefarmcookeryschool.co.uk

 

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. ruslandcookeryschool.co.uk

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SOMERSET

Sweet Cumin, Radstock

Rural Somerset, not the first place you’d think to go to learn authentic Indian home cookery … but stay with me. Bini Ludlow was born in Bradford and taught traditional Gujarati cooking by her mum and rellies from the age of eight and was in charge of the family kitchen by 13. Now she runs full, half day and tailormade courses for all ages and abilities from her own home, teaching the skills of Indian cooking, how to blend spices and create dishes from around the sub-continent – there’s even a workshop pairing curry and cider (this is Somerset, after all). Prices from £85 per person. Bini can suggest local places to stay. sweetcumin.co.uk

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HAMPSHIRE

The Kitchen, Chewton Glen

The rolling chop, the claw-hand and how to chop an onion — learn all this and more at James Martin’s cookery school in the grounds of one of Hampshire’s super-whizziest hotels, Chewton Glen. Read Muddy Hampshire’s full review of The Kitchen and Chewton Glen Hotel. chewtonglen.com

 

Gee Cartwright Cookery, Stockbridge

Hampshire’s kitchen-demo-dynamo runs sell-out sessions in Stockbridge and Wandsworth teaching everything from cooking with spices to filling the freezer. geecartwrightcookery.co.uk

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SURREY

The Art of Curry, Godalming

Learn the secret of spice blending to cook gourmet Indian and Pakistani cuisine in the traditional style of the old royal palaces of India with The Art of Curry in Godalming. Sameena Thompson runs one day courses as well as four week evening courses. She specialises in the traditional slow cooking method which results in a deeply flavoursome home cooked curry. Sameena also teaches the quicker methods for side dishes and easy midweek meals. Sameena also has a range of The Art of Curry sauces which are available online and at selected stockists throughout the UK. theartofcurry.co.uk

 

Breech Lane Curry House, Walton-on-the-Hill

Jaya Malani at Breech Lane Curry House teaches traditional Indian recipes that have been in her family for generations. She teaches how to produce authentic Indian flavours and healthy food using olive oil, wholemeal flour, lean meat and fresh vegetables.  These are Indian dishes that you won’t easily find outside a traditional Indian home kitchen. All classes have a session on demystifying Indian spices – the backbone of all Indian curries. Classes are offered on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, as well as one-to-one and bespoke classes by arrangement. breechlanecurryhouse.com

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1 comment on “Gastro heaven”

  • Jenny April 24, 2018

    Thanks Amber. I’ve just ordered Foodini kit subscription for my guardson!

    Reply

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