Cookery Class News

Spice up Father’s Day with a cookery course

Are you struggling with what to get your dad for Father’s Day this year? Does he already have more pairs of socks than Marks and Spencer? Why not push the boat out with a little something different this year by sending your dad back to school? Cookery school, that is!

It’s true, the younger generation of men who are not getting married until their thirties or even forties and are flat-sharing because they can’t get a mortgage of their own have had to learn to cook for themselves, to a certain extent.  But for those dads who come from the previous generation, when a woman’s role was very definitely as the home maker whilst he went out and won the bread, have never actually had to  learn even the basics of cookery.

Let’s face it, if you were to buy your dad a set of cookery courses for Father’s Day, you wouldn’t half get yourself into your mom’s good books, too.  You may, however, want to take her to one side and reassure her that it’s not her cooking that’s the problem, just that you thought your dad’s gift would benefit you all.

We have plenty of choice on our cookery courses home page, but one cookery school, Mum’s Spaghetti, is offering a Dad’s only cookery class at a very reasonable rate, when you filter in the discount they’re offering.  And it’s staged on the 3rd of July, so your dad has plenty of time after the day itself to reschedule his calendar to fit the lesson in.

The aim is to provide a relaxed atmosphere for the dads (so that male pride doesn’t get in the way of the lessons) and, over the course of the three hours, provide instruction on the basic elements that go into making a meal. Or, as the case is in this class, a three course meal so that if your mum is delayed or treating herself to a bit of beauty therapy, dad can step in in the kitchen and you’ll be safe in the knowledge what he’ll prepare is at the very least edible.

Mum’s Spaghetti is in the heart of Staffordshire, too, beneath Lichfield Cathedral’s spires.  I have strolled along the main high street there more times than I care to remember so, if he puts up any resistance, you can always bribe him by offering to take him for a well earned beer in one of the many, many fine public houses that Lichfield City Centre has to offer.

If Staffordshire’s stretching the mileage a little, check out the courses we have on offer to find cookery classes near you.

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Hosptality and Tourism Summit announces inaugural event

In recent times, there have been many attempts to bring the hospitality trade our of the dark. Innovative training schemes in management, front of house and cookery courses for budding chefs by breweries and hotel chains alike have adapted their learning portals to be accessible through a medium that today’s school leavers can communicate with.

In another huge step to bring the industry to the fore, The British Hospitality Association is preparing itself for the inaugural Tourism and Hospitality Summit in a couple of days time.

The estimated number of jobs in the sector is put at around two and a half million, contributing more than £30bn towards the UK’s GDP. However, many still see roles in hospitality as a ‘job’ rather than a career, especially within the licensing trade. One of the aspects of the summit will be to highlight the virtues of the sector and how it can be grown to an extent that it becomes an attractive proposition for job seekers.

There will be a whole host of public figures at the summit, which is being held at the Intercontinental on London’s Park Lane on Friday (June first). Stars from the field of sport Gavin Hastings, Matt Dawson and Dame Kelly Holmes have put their names down to attend. Ably assisting and perhaps mediating the discussions will be UN World Tourism Organisation’s Taleb Rifai.

The CEO of the The British Hospitality Association, Ufi Ibrahim, recognises the place in the economy of tourism, reporting it to be the country’s third largest export product.

The main theme, and to set a precedent for the future, will be to investigate the link between tourism and hospitality. Obviously, it’s pointless attracting people to the country only to offer them sub-standard service, hospitality and dining experiences.  Any business knows that growth comes through providing good service; if we can’t do that, the industry simply stagnates.

From there, it is hoped that a correlation between the two will have a platform to build upon, creating more jobs within the sector and growing expectations to a recognised and expected standard for the future of both industries.

If you’ve often fancied a crack at the hospitality trade with a view to perhaps setting out on your own, why not try one of the hand-picked cookery courses we have on our home page? Especially this summer, when tourism and celebration will be at a high as the UK hosts the Olympics and Jubilee, thousands from all across the world expected to flock to our shores. There will be plenty of mouths to feed, that’s for sure.
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Cookery Courses News

Sustainable cookery demo at Westmill Wind Farm this June

This June, July and August look like being, in the infamous words of Sir Paul Weller (okay, maybe they’ve not knighted him yet, but surely there are few greater wordsmiths than he during our time?), a Long Hot Summer for Pudding Pie Cookery School.

Kicking off on June 23rd, ably accompanied by this year’s Masterchef finalist, Andrew Kojima, the cookery school will be demonstrating sustainable food cookery classes at Westmill Wind Farm in an attempt to raise awareness of the importance of incorporating replenishable food stocks into our every day meals.

The open day event, which 600 of the WeSET co-op’s members are expected to attend, promises to be a fun-packed day bringing to light the plight of our dwindling energy supplies, both the type we burn for fuel and energy but likewise, through the day-long cookery courses, also the natural resources that provide our very bodies with energy and fuel.

Once that event has been and gone, all eyes then turn to the summer holidays and the rush of activity that sees school children (and parents) flock to their cookery courses as an activity that not only passes the long six weeks but also learns the budding pudding pie (I nearly wrote ‘pudding club’, then – that would have been a faux pas, non?) chefs life lessons, to boot.

More kitchen space means more availability for summer cookery classes

This summer holidays’ cookery courses promise to be bigger and better than ever as the addition of another kitchen sees the cookery school able to offer 240 spaces, their biggest number ever. They do warn, however, that these spaces do fill up rapidly, so don’t hang about if you’re looking to give your darlings something to do (and yourself a well-earned break) this summer.

To run alongside all of that, the cookery school have gone into partnership with ‘hello babycakes‘ to bring the art of cake cookery to all of those eager to learn how to bake but are perhaps without the experience necessary to produce the perfect cupcake or get their fairy cakes to rise in the morning. Enough said.

Phew. It’s going to be a busy old time in Banbury, Oxfordshire this summer, that’s for sure. If Pudding Pie Cookery School is a little too far away, why not check out our selection of hand-picked cookery courses to find summer events and classes near you?

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Infants and parents keen on cookery classes at Norfolk school

If there’s going to be a school curriculum that incorporates cookery classes for year one and two pupils, it wouldn’t surprise you to hear that the school is based in Delia Smith’s neck of the woods in Norfolk.

In an age where many young families have literally no idea how to cook from fresh ingredients after a generation has been subjected to ‘healthy’ ready meals, this can only be good news for the future of the country. And that’s not being over dramatic; obesity in the young and ignorance of culinary and nutritional values is a a growing problem that, if not addressed now, will have serious implications for future generations.

So why has this school, namely Costessey Infant School, accepted the gauntlet of allowing youngsters into the kitchen, then additionally inviting the parents along afterwards to sample what their little darlings have learnt in the cookery classes?

Let’s Get Cooking Lottery funding kick-started the project

Wednesday mornings at the school have never been the same since, in 2008, the school accepted National Lottery funding as part of the “Let’s Get Cooking” project in an attempt to correct the well-publicised deviance from the straight and narrow of children’s diets. But it’s not only the youngsters at school who benefit from the cookery courses.

According to head teacher Rosemary Kett, the cooking lessons undertaken by the pupils have a knock-on effect upon the parents, who may or may not fall into the category as outlined above. And it seems to be having the desired effect. The school also runs cookery classes after school hours, which are equally as popular and places are filled very quickly. As no one likes remembering what they learn at school, Costessey has also got its own cook book featuring many of the recipes that make up the cookery classes.

Over the four years that the classes have been running, hundreds of pupils have benefited from the experience of Mrs Kett and volunteers like Jill Lamb who regularly help out, indeed, like a lamb to the slaughter one would think. But not so.

As well as learning the basics of cooking and table manners it would appear that the lessons learnt are carried forth into junior school, too. Last year, Costessey Juniors won the Norfolk Healthy Schools award before this year achieving the national standard of the same accolade. Indeed, even if parents are unsure of what constitutes a healthy packed lunch, there are links to such information on their website, namely and

As all the above parties involved from Colman’s country are eager to make healthy eating such a large part of growing up, I suppose you could say they’re as keen as mustard. Mmm, let’s hope my webmaster doesn’t send me a dijon letter after that little classic, eh?

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Experts predict a huge rise in obesity

According to a recent forecast the number of Britons classed as obese could rise to a shocking 26 million by the year 2030. The predicted rise is being blamed on an abundance of rich food, a lack of exercise and an unwillingness on the part of policymakers to tackle the problem.

It has been predicted that if the current trend continues, the number of clinically obese people in the United Kingdom will rise by eleven million over the next twenty years.

Experts have estimated that the additional cost of treating the resulting health problems would be around £2 billion per year.

Over the next twenty years, the increase in UK obesity is estimated to result in an extra 461,000 cases of heart disease, 130,000 of cancer and 668,000 of diabetes.

The prevalence of obesity amongst UK men is predicted to rise from 26 per cent to between 41 and 48 per cent. The percentage of obese women is estimated to increase from 26 per cent to between 35 and 43 per cent.

Many experts believe that the Government should be doing more to tackle the problem. In a recent interview with BBC breakfast, leading epidemiologist Prof. Klim McPherson claimed that, whilst the Government is taking action, obesity is still at alarming rates so it clearly isn’t doing enough.

Prof. McPherson believes that better food labelling and a tax on drinks that are high in sugar, are just two examples of the measures that the Government should be taking.

Dr Michael Knapton of the British Heart Foundation expressed his concern with the predicted figures for heart disease and obesity in the United Kingdom. He also called on the Government to take a lead role by making it easier for people to be healthy.

Dr Knapton believes that the Government should focus on ensuring that children are protected from junk-food marketing.

For those that want to improve their diet but lack the basic skills to prepare healthy food the Gables Cookery School in Gloucestershire offers a one day cookery course which may be of interest.


Cordon Vert Cookery School vegetarian cook-off final won

And so we approach the end of Vegetarian Week, which has been a huge success, by all accounts. And none would have felt success more than Gary Ashley, the winner of this year’s Chef of the Future award, announced by Cordon Vert, the Vegetarian Society’s cookery school earlier this month.

The criteria for the finalists was twofold. First and foremost, the competition entrants had to produce a three course menu that would be both appetising and palatable for vegetarians and/or vegans. Once the shortlist was drawn up for the final, the three savvy chefs chosen would then have to prepare those meals in a live cook-off event on the 9th May at The Vegetarian Society in Altrincham.

As Gary was from Southampton, he had to make sure that the trip up to Cheshire was worth while, especially having made the same journey to the cookery school last year, only to finish runner up on that occasion. Therefore, he knew the level of talent he’d be cooking against and that the ingredients he used would have to be wide ranging, complementary and enough to get even a hearty meat-eaters taste buds tingling.

The starter alone would have taken the layman a term of cookery courses to put together; it infused a mixture of tapas that you would be hard-pushed to find anything like, strolling along the coastline of Torviscas Playa, and was a galaxy of tastes, including wild mushroom and sweet potato beefed up with a sprinkle of cumin to name just two of the servings on offer. Certainly not your Spanish locale tapas, for sure.

The main course, however, did incorporate a taste of The Med. Vegetables from the region were combined with cous cous, spinach and roast pepper and even a coriander fritter alongside fruit and nuts to contrast the bitter tasting veg. Then he prepared not just one but three desserts, again combining tastes yet varying texture to wow the judges and cement his first prize.

After the event, Ashley said the award was “the most prestigious accolade of [his] career”, an award that was given based upon, according to Cordon Vert Cookery School’s principle tutor, Alex Connell, everything that the judges were looking for. Not only were the tastes and textures impressive, but also the “care, skill and attention to detail” Ashley put in only went to prove how exciting vegetarian meals can be and also how presentable they are, when imagination and experience come together to create such a winning dish.

For his pains, Ashley is now entitled to a cookery course at Cordon Vert to the tune of £1,500, which is taught up to the nationally recognised Professional Diploma standard. He also takes away his own set of Cordon Vert embroidered whites, the Chef of the Future 2012 title and a bottle of champagne to toast his success.

For the runners-up, Olivia West and Natasha Koncewicz, they now have the experience to go one better for the 2013 event. As Gary proved, knowledge is king and the girls now have an insight into just what it takes to win this coveted vegetarian cookery course award.

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Out with the lentils – vegetarian cookery schools go gourmet

There are some immense resources online for vegetarians, these days; hardly surprising when almost two million Brits consider themselves to be ‘strictly vegetarian‘. But the ideology behind going meat-free is so out-dated for us carnivorous dinosaurs that we really are in the dark ages when it comes to our own conception of what makes up a vegetarian diet. Personally, I blame Neil the Hippy and his constant badgering of Rik, Mike and Viv to eat lentils – I surmise that for anyone whose life has begun again, we’re in the same boat.

And that is really the crux of this week’s National Vegetarian Week – not only trying to change our appreciation of a meat-free diet but also teaching vegetarians that the carnivores are not the enemy. As such, we look today at the strides made by the myriad vegetarian enterprises, as well as those on our own cookery courses page, making a difference online today, starting with an offline event (hey-ho): VegFest running, Friday 25th-Sunday 27th May inclusive.

If you’re able to get along to Bristol this weekend, the culmination of this week’s proceedings concludes at the tenth annual VegFest in a program that not only exhibits live cookery classes and demonstrations but also has three comedians (Andrew O’Neill Friday, Sarah Pascoe Saturday and Chris Stokes on Sunday) to remind us that there is a lighter side to vegetarianism and it’s not all about hangovers from the Summer of Love and proclamations that if we don’t stop eating meat, the world will come to an end, despite what Einstein predicted that survival on Earth will be directly benefited by the evolution of vegetarianism. Another good reason to go is that it’s free to the general public, opening Friday at 2pm, then 11am on the weekend days, concluding in all cases at 11pm.

If that’s not enough for you, or you can’t get along, let’s get one thing totally clear: the vegetarian diet is no longer a bowl of lentil soup with a few herbs dashed in; it has gone Gourmet. The Cordon Vert Cookery School, for one, has taken the art of sourcing and preparing ingredients and even developing their own stock of vegetarian chefs through in-house cookery courses, to new levels. Indeed, as National Vegetarian Week builds up to its climax, they have announced the winner of their Chef of the Future award, which we’ll run through in more detail, tomorrow.

There are plenty of other fine dining experiences to be had sans la viande up and down the country, but the real jewel in the UK vegetarian crown is Edinburgh, at least according to Alex Bourke, author of such tomes as Vegetarian Scotland and other travel-related ventures for veggies.

Vegetarian dining is well catered for in the Scottish capital; it even has its own meat-free bed and breakfast, Claymore Vegetarian Guesthouse, based in the heart of the city, just a hop skip and a jump from Princes Street. You can also find up to thirteen bespoke vegetarian restaurants and cafés, all of which sit nicely in and around Edinburgh’s many historical attractions and plentiful pubs and bars (well, it is Scotland).

So join me tomorrow when we take a look at what really is en-vogue veggie as we review the three-course recipe that carried off Cordon Vert Cookery School’s Chef of the Future title and all of the trimmings and prestige that the award entitles the winning chef to.

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Locally-sourced and foraged ingredients for your veggie bbq

No need to remind everyone that this week is Vegetarian Week, if you’ve been following the cookery courses blog, but for those who’ve just ambled across the site: it’s National Vegetarian Week! As such, we’ll be devoting the articles and advising of cookery schools that specialise in meat- (and fish-)free dishes.

In the UK alone, the Big Veggie Survey found that 3.8 million class themselves as ‘mainly’ vegetarian, the concession being that, to get a little flesh inside them (ooh, err!), they are not opposed to eating our water-dwelling friends. Half as many again, however, consider themselves ‘strictly vegetarian’, i.e. they eat no meat whatsoever, rather derive protein from soy and nuts and their iron and other vitamins and minerals from the common-or-garden vegetable.

This is a plight that can cause problems eating out, as we looked at earlier this week, as many restaurateurs and other eating establishments consider they’ve done their bit for the hoards of vegetarians wishing to eat socially by slapping a bit of cod or haddock on the menu. Uh-uh – catering sector, in the spirit of Eurovison, you score nil pwon. Yes, I know it’s spelt ‘points’, but it sort of loses the effect, innit?

How to serve vegetarian meals at home

Given that almost 2M strict veggies in the UK equates to one in thirty people, there’s a real good chance that, when throwing a dinner party or barbecue – yes, we have the weather for that at last! – at least one of the guests will be vegetarian or even vegan. What you don’t want to do is make the same mistake as the catering trade, rather, get the lowdown on what vegetarian cookery courses offer as part of their curriculum.

You really can’t go wrong by taking time out to pop along to one of the many UK cookery courses that have had a program designed by and for vegetarians. It’s a competitive business and reputation is everything in the industry; cookery courses are a growing market as UK citizens become more aware of the fact that ready meals off the shelf contain little in the way of nutrients and prefer to cook their meals from scratch.

The industry has recognised this and locally-sourced produce is one of the aspects that feature heavily in the modern day cookery class. And you can’t get more naturally cultured or foraged than UK vegetables or fruits and berries that can be plucked from many a winding country lane, a phenomenon that the UK is renowned for. What’s more, foraged ingredients are usually free, so what better excuse do you need to learn to incorporate vegetables and fruits into your dinner party spread?

So, over the remainder of the week, we’ll be taking a peep into what some of the most prolific chefs in the industry have to offer in the way of not only preparing a vegetarian feast, but also is rich in nutrients and is surprisingly cost-effective to prepare, as long as one has the know-how. If you can’t wait, our choice of the best cookery courses have plenty to offer in meat-free cookery classes, so why not take a gander, now, whilst we still have the weather to get the Grilletto out and make hay while the sun shines, as they say?

Cookery Courses News

Vegetarian meals out – it’s all a matter of scale

Vegetarian Week was always likely to throw up a few contentious issues. Eating out is just one of the many that those who have chosen the vegetarian or vegan are hoping to highlight and change as we approach the halfway point of the week.

Last year a survey was conducted across the whole vegetarian nation (well, those who took part, at least) called The Big Veggie Survey – within its many questions was a section that looked at dining out, given that the popular belief is that, if there is one vegetarian in a group the options open to the party diminish rapidly. And the survey did little to disprove this theory, putting a price tag on what the catering industry, particularly the pub and restaurant sector, are missing out on in the way of vegetarian dining: £1.8bn.

All in all, vegetarians total spend on eating out is estimated at £2.5bn – the figure of £1.8bn comes from the fact that almost three quarters of all of those surveyed are completely dissatisfied with the menu options available to them when they dine out. This really needn’t be the case – with most renowned cookery schools, they run cookery courses designed by vegetarians for vegetarians. But something is getting lost in translation.

The hang up on fish is the key issue

The survey found that, within menus that highlight a vegetarian option, 85% of those offerings promote fish as being the main choice aside from your red or white meat dishes. The problem herein lies in the fact that only 3% of people who have chosen the veggie way of life actually eat our finned friends.

And this is not just a case of pubs and restaurants getting it wrong, either. Cafés and workplace canteens were likewise included in the survey and Liz O’Neill of the Vegetarian Society is worried that the people creating the menus and tagging them as an option for herbivores are so out of touch with the market they purport to serve that “vegetarian customers are right to be concerned.” You have to see her point – there is a big, no, huge marketplace out there for anyone who is interested in testing the water and can take the time out to really understand what the niche needs and can learn to cook vegetarian, irrespective of their own dietary tendencies.

At any given time, this website has five different cookery schools to choose from. Why not see if any of these here cookery courses we have on offer could kick-start your venture into this needy market place? If you don’t, someone else surely will.

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Edinburgh’s hidden cookery school gem

There must be something in the air in Edinburgh as its two most prolific football teams took to Hampden Park at the weekend to do battle for the Scottish F.A. Cup. Following the Jambo’s victory parade in the sun yesterday afternoon on the open-top bus, the rest of Scotland’s capital gets back to work, today, with offering a cracking cookery course deal through Groupon for the Coulston Cookery School.

The bigger the deal you take out, quite simply, the more you save from their set price list of fine dining cookery classes. A single place entitles you to a 58% discount, two people will benefit from 60% off and, if you book a private session for up to ten people, the group will save almost two thirds, snapping up a whopping 63%, the prices coming in at £50, £95 and £450 respectively.

But there is more to the cookery school than just learning how to cook haute cuisine.

The Haddington rural estate in which the cookery school is set not only provides a venue for the private functions it hosts and idyllic atmosphere for cookery lessons, but its vast land beside the retreat has plenty of room to grow the vegetables used in the cookery classes. These sit well beside the other locally-sourced ingredients that all go in to making this a real adventure into the world of fine dining.

And for the savings, you won’t simply be thrust in at the deep end or wondering whether you’ve managed to achieve the high expectations set by one of Edinburgh’s most sought after cookery courses.

Prior to you getting your hands dirty (not literally, obviously), there is a meet and greet session over tea where you get to know the other students taking the class with you and an informal drop in by one of the chefs.

You then move ion to the kitchens themselves, where an initial demonstration will prime you in order that you can take on the three course meal challenge that the teachers, all master chefs themselves, will set you. Once you’re done and your creations are taken through to the dining room other master chefs and chefs of the future will sample your delights, appraising your efforts with critical eyes, nose and taste buds.

So if you fancy learning to cook in an estate that boasts 700 years of fine dining history or are simply heading off to Edinburgh and are looking for something to do other than the usual tourist ventures associated with Scotland’s capital city, the Coulston Cookery School seems to have it all wrapped up.

If Scotland’s a jaunt too far, don’t forget we have our own choice of classes on