Cookery courses make a fantastic birthday present for a loved one, are an enjoyable day out with colleagues or friends, or are perfect for getting some inspiration in the kitchen. We’ve asked our lifestyle managers to choose some of their favourite options. To find out about lessons local to you or other types of cuisine, call us for more suggestions.
The two-Michelin-starred Oxfordshire hotel’s sleek cookery school is tucked away inside the restaurant’s labyrinthine kitchens. They offer a number of residential and non-residential options, from cooking fish to everything to do with chocolate. On the Garden to Plate course, for example, students pick herbs and produce in the huge kitchen gardens, discover the techniques behind a few simple but excellent dishes and have lunch together. As well as taking home a tart, the goody bag comes with a certificate and an Analon pan, and you get to keep your branded chef’s top for showing off at dinner parties. The non-residential day course dates for 2012 will be released towards the end of this year.
This is the first cookery school in London to dedicate itself solely to African cuisine. ‘We spent a fantastic afternoon at the Akhaya Cookery School,’ says lifestyle manager Kimberley Hessey. ‘We received a warm welcome from head chef Jennifer, who is incredibly passionate about her food.’ The school is a refreshing alternative to the capital’s traditional culinary experiences and is based in a beautiful, spacious North London venue. Students cook a number of dishes during the session, including bean fritters and bobotie, which they then get to take home. ‘I haven’t stopped recommending it since,’ Kimberley adds.
Based in central London, L’atelier des Chefs is one of the most flexible and eclectic cookery schools in the UK. Lessons range from 30 minutes to four hours and the venue can accommodate groups of 12 to 180 people across its two kitchens and dining areas. The staff are extremely friendly and have a very relaxed approached to teaching. ‘The range of produce available to buy at the shop is fantastic,’ comments our events specialists Charlotte Knight. ‘You can find everything there, from ceramic knives and silicone moulds to tomato vinegar and El Bulli-style spherification kits.’
Brendan Fyldes, previously the head chef at Richard Corrigan’s Bentley’s restaurant, has started running cookery lessons at his latest residence, The Lyttelton, at The Stafford London hotel near Green Park. The day consists of coffee and bacon sandwiches, a class for most of the morning, followed by drinks and lunch. Each participant gets taught how to make bread, and then goes on to prepare a starter, main course and dessert, followed by a Q&A session with Brendan. After champagne and canapés, students go home with a selection of treats, including a Kempinski cookbook, a Lyttelton apron and homemade chutneys and biscuits. Our members enjoy a special discounted price on this cooking experience.
‘The Urban Kitchen's Borough Market and Brunch Saturday workshop is a relaxed weekend treat for members who want to browse through London's most celebrated food market and learn how to cook a satisfying brunch,’ comments Hernan Castro-Vidal, one of our restaurant specialists. The course starts at 10.30am with a tour of Borough Market, where tutors will advise on what produce to choose, before heading back to Urban Kitchen's loft-style base overlooking the Thames to prepare brunch together.
Located on the Norfolk coast and dating back to the 18th century, Morston Hall is a country hotel, which gained a Michelin star for chef Galton Blackiston's accomplished but unpretentious cooking. Blackiston focuses on using the best ingredients the county has to offer, and he runs a number of half-day cookery demonstrations and three-day residential courses during the year to show guests how to put together rustic dishes that are packed with seasonal flavours. The courses are popular, so early booking is essential.