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Cookery Class News

Katy Perry tweets to fans she’s taking up a cookery course

So even the superstars realise the importance of learning to cook. It seems that it doesn’t matter how many millions you have in the bank, possessing the ability to fend for oneself in the kitchen is paramount to self fulfilment.

The gorgeous Katy Perry is temporarily foregoing the limelight to start a new relationship with the kitchen. An announcement from the pop queen on twitter reveals that she is tempting to become “human” by enrolling herself in a cookery class.

Her fledgling attempts at culinary prowess may well be a sign that the 27 year old superstar is thinking of settling down. Reportedly dating John Mayer, a fellow top of the pops singer (that’s showing my age – c’mon, I could have said ‘The Tube’), this may be a sign that Katy is perhaps seeking domestic bliss.

It was only a short Tweet and did not divulge in which discipline the cookery course is aimed. This is not the first time that the chart-topping Perry has shown a public interest in cookery; earlier this year the ‘Teenage Dream’ singer invested a cool $50,000 for a one off cookery class with celebrity chef Cat Cora.

The huge sum was donated to Elton John and his AIDS foundation. The charity event, celebrating its 20th anniversary, saw Perry embroiled in a bidding war to court Cora’s culinary expertise, which she eventually won thanks to the massive bid.

The prize was, though, shared with big screen producer Steve Tisch. Maybe Perry’s thoughts, as she approaches her late twenties, are turning to quiet nights in with new beau, Mayer. It is perhaps a far cry from the wild, long hell-raising nights with ex husband Russell Brand.

No, I can’t work it out, either: what did she see in him in the first place and what on earth (that was nearly stronger) was he playing at fooling around with a woman like Perry sat at home?  If she ever decides to become a wandering chef and abandon the charts and stage forever, she can come and cook me up a dish any time she feels like it.  No doubt all the ladies are thinking the same thing about Brand, and who am I to argue the toss?

Who knows? We may well see Ms. Perry on BBC screens next year in the next series of Celebrity Master Chef. However, with no disrespect to “Peggy”, I cannot image Perry preparing scampi on the same workbench as Su Pollard.  Unless they called it the Peggy & Perry Cookery Show – now that would be full of hi-de-hi’s and low-de-lows, for sure.

But seriously, it just goes to show that even the most glamorous people on the planet appreciate the need to be able to cook for themselves. Perhaps if more celebrity icons got involved publicly with learning how to cook healthy and nutritious food from scratch, then more of our youngsters would follow suit.

Learning to cook from an early age is one of life’s essential lessons. Let’s hope the millions of Perry’s twitter fans take a leaf out of her cookery book, which I’m sure would also be a hit if she put her mind to collating what she has learnt in the kitchen, or intends to, into a glossy recipe book.

If you are anxious to teach your children to cook, there are plenty of cookery courses on our home page that will fulfill this need. Why not head on over there and compare our current offerings, hand-picked from the best on the net today? For many adolescents, learning their way around the kitchen professionally really would be a teenage dream come true.

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Cookery Class

A cookery class involving Hens, Hen Parties, that is

Mm, okay. We can all see the novelty behind a Stag Do being held at a cookery school, but why on earth would a Hen Party want to be held there? Surely that’s a little bit like a busman’s holiday?

Back in the day, it would have been. The kitchen is no longer the providence of the fairer sex (to my wife, it is simply a galley through which she walks to get to the Jacuzzi) and women leaving home with an ingrained talent for making everything come alive on the work surface an in the oven is no longer the given it once was.

Indeed, such is the plight of many young couples leaving home clueless about how to work anything in the kitchen other than a kettle and a microwave (I had to show my nineteen year-old’s girlfriend how to use a manual tin-opener, last week, sheesh!), being unable to prepare and cook even the most basic of meals from scratch is one of the arguments behind the predictions of the experts who believe we will see a 50% rise in obesity by the time we reach the year 2030 in the UK.

But as well as a whole host of branded stores, cookery courses and government initiatives targeting the ‘eat/cook fresh’ market, there is also a great need for youngsters to even learn to cook at all.

I can think of no other reason why the online Stress-Free Hen Party planning website, Cambridge Hen Party, would offer a cookery class as part of its menu. Spa Days, Cocktail Making and even belly-dancing I can get to grips with, but a Cookery Class for a Hen Party?

There are three different types, Greek, Thai or Spanish and all are designed to offer buffet/feast style menus that, following complimentary drinks (no doubt not too many at this stage as there are hot and sharp elements to deal with in the kitchen itself), the chef walks up to twelve Hens through the preparation, the meal is then cooked in a state-of-the-art kitchen, before the party sits down to indulge in the fantastic meal that’s been co-created.

At a small additional cost, a recipe card as a souvenir can also be produced so that the meals learned to cook are not forgotten after the honeymoon.

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Cookery School News

UK and Ireland cookery school 2012 competition launched

Heads up all of you purveyors of cookery courses – the 2012 Looking To Cook competition has been launched to find la crème de la crème of UK and Irish cookery schools and there is a whole host of categories into which you can enter your school/company, in whole or in categories in which you know you excel.

It has to be said, you can’t look into this niche without seeing a new cookery school open its doors every week. From independents to giants in the hospitality trade, from a group of select chefs to manufacturers of food and drink products, all are seen as ways of bringing either expertise or a particular product into the every day lives of budding chefs who genuinely want to enhance their skills and learn to cook meals other than traditionally accepted fare.

Whilst cookery schools themselves bestow awards upon its pupils and suppliers and manufacturers/brands celebrate their own chefs of the year regularly, Looking to Cook has decided it’s about to honour those cookery schools that are all-important in the learning curve that sees aspiring chefs go from newbie to nouvelle and from mediocre to Michelin.

Does your cookery school go above and beyond the the call of duty?

So, if your cookery school offers that little bit extra, takes the average chef out of their comfort zone to try the amazing instead of the amateur menu, the Looking to Cook awards want to know about it. And what’s best about this competition is that it not only has an extremely simplified process to enter, it is also free*.

The process is simple enough. There are detailed category listings on the Looking to Cook site, as well as further in depth info about the cookery school competition itself. Simply send an e-mail detailing which of the categories you’d like your school/company name entered into and a quick résumé indicating on what basis you believe your cookery courses qualify for that category.

There is a limit on the number of categories any one cookery school can enter of three. You can enter up to two of the categories for free; *if you opt for a third, it does attract a fee of £29. The prestigious award for overall best cookery school will be determined from a shortlist based on the winners of each regional best school. There’s also a bonus award of best website, which is not a category you can enter into per se, but of all those who enter the competition, Looking to Cook will cast the vote to the public to see which they think offers the best overall digital cookery school experience.

Full competition details are available on their website.

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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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Cookery Courses Cookery School

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 thingstodoinedinburghtoday.com 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 cookerycourses.co.uk.

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Cooking Courses News

Housing association uses cooking courses to build confidence

The Regenda Group has introduced an innovative new programme which uses cooking courses to help develop the life skills and confidence of its residents.

Regenda believes that many of its residents are keen to improve their lives but lack either the confidence or the knowledge to succeed. The cookery course aims to help by challenging the participants to learn basic cookery skills during interactive workshops and also encouraging them to join personal improvement sessions.

The first cookery course was held at Limehurst Village Trust in Oldham. Twelve local residents completed the twelve-week programme which focused on teaching hands-on cookery skills alongside topics such as menu planning and health and safety.

The courses made use of neuro-linguistic coaching and programming techniques to give the participants a number of tools to help them in their everyday lives.

One of the participants explained that the course surpassed their expectations. As well as learning to cook they learnt how to combat their fears in a sustainable way. They went on to explain that the course helped them to bring out their confidence and led them to feel happy with a desire to pass on what they have learnt.

This sentiment was echoed by other participants who found the course so useful that they have formed a group to undertake community wide projects.

With support from Regenda the participants have developed a constitution and are now planning to apply for local funding to support community projects.

The group hopes to help develop the Limehurst Village allotment site. It plans to encourage local residents to grow their own fruit and vegetables.

The Regenda Group describes itself as more than just a Housing Association. By developing innovative community projects and using its expertise in shared-ownership it aims to help make the North-West a nicer place to live.

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Cookery Class News

Blue Elephant cookery course Far East or online

Wherever you are in the world, it seems that there’s a Blue Elephant Thai restaurant – well, in eleven cities in Bangkok or Phuket, London or Bahrain and seven other major cities in Europe and the Middle East, anyway. If you’re lucky enough to be travelling in either of the Thai cities, however, you can visit their esteemed cookery courses which invite you to either stand back and watch as the renowned chefs work their magic with local hebs and spices or dive in and give them a hand.

Chef Nooror, based in the Phuket eatery, has been recognised as one of Thailand’s most 65 influential people, thanks to her culinary expertise promoting Thai cooking to the world and infusing lessons she’s learnt from her globetrotting days into her own home-grown platters she learnt as a child growing up in Thailand.

It matters not at what level your cookery skills currently reside. Whether you are a fully-fledged cook or absolute beginner, you’ll be welcomed with open arms to learn the many aspects (and many courses) that make up a typical Thai menu. If you are in Asia ‘on business’ with the express intent of picking up Thai cooking tips to enhance your career and skill-level for use back at home in the UK you can arrange a private cookery course under the direct supervision of the top chefs from that branch of the chain.

Whether you are going for the 5-day professional induction or just walking in through the doors as a tourist looking to get to know the basics of Thai cooking you will not only leave with endearing memories but an ancient knowledge in food preparation that is passed down through these excellent cookery courses. Oh, and you mustn’t overlook the cooking set, commemorative apron and Blue Elephant Thai cookery course certificate that you get once you complete the class, of course.

The cookery classes, like many in the Far East, run either as a morning or afternoon/tea-time affair, giving you time to learn, prepare and cook your meals and then eat them for your lunch or tea. The Blue Elephant cookery course in Bangkok runs its classes similarly, but there are advantages for making the 8.45am morning class over the afternoon cooking lesson, which kicks off at 1.30pm.

The added extra for making the morning cooking class here is that you actually go along to the markets to choose the herbs, spices and vegetables that you and the afternoon session will use for your tutelage, travelling to and fro on the skytrain.

The cookery classes for the tourist run every day for the morning session and Monday to Saturday for the evening sessions. The menu for each is so varied, you could go every day and learn to cook something new, with each tourist session covering four courses in its own rite.

The professional 5-day courses are subject to the availabilities of the professional chefs but, with the combinations of numbers of courses and discounts for multiple cooking classes that are on offer to the tourist, as a passing curious chef there is plenty you can bring back home to impress your family and friends.

If you cannot make it all the way out to Bangkok or Phuket to partake in the classes, there are simple recipes downloadable from the site and you can always nip into the London outlet to see if the chefs cooking there is as good as you can cook at home.

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Cookery Course News

Learn how to cook bread – a right pain

I apologise profusely in advance for the amount of buns puns that are going to be in this article, but learning how to cook bread just lends itself to giving the rise.

But, as this is a staple component of many a culture, from the Lord tempting the Israelites to cross the Desert of Sin en route to Sinai by raining down manna from heaven to the celebration of Holy Communion to this day with unleavened bread and the spiritual holiday of yeaster, this is a biblical side dish of much renown.

However, Leith’s School of Food & Wine, London, are offering a one-off cookery class this summer to learn how to cook bread in different styles from the continent, just in time to use your loaf on holiday and impress the locals with your knowledge of their local bread.

Unlike many cookery courses which require you to have a camper van full of equipment before you can even bread roll enrol, all that is required of the budding bread chef for this four and a half hour course is an apron and a notebook and you’re set – everything else is supplied.

The cookery class looks to pack in plenty of variety to enable you, once completed, to be able to perfect the art of bread-baking in several languages!

From a Gaelic fruit soda bread recipe to a base Italian offering which should be a pizza cake, you next move on to biga things as you experiment in French and further Italian textured breads to complete the European tour.

It’s not all hands-on; when you arrive there is coffee and pastries as you meet your fellow students, but after that you dough get a minute (yeah, you probably have to be from The Black Country to get that one) as you get stuck in to the lesson.

Each slice of the action will be in the form of a demo, then you get to have a go with the ingredients that are weighed out for you for each recipe – they really do supply all you knead.

Mid-lesson, there’s a breather when wine is served to go with the food that you’ve prepared up to that point, I guess to toast your success so far, and then it’s into the afternoon session to complete the cookery class.

Any food not consumed during the course of the lesson you’re free to take home with you if you couldn’t eat the whole meal, as well as a recipe booklet as a souvenir to help you replicate your expertise time and again just in case you don’t crust trust yourself to remember each lesson. If you’ve not bought anything to carry the surplus home, don’t worry; I’m sure Leith’s will baguette for you.

It’s a pitta, but I’ve not been on this cookery course; however, my naan reckoned that this essential lesson in cooking was, well, the best thing since sliced bread.

At time of writing, there were still places available; further details on Leith’s School of Food & Wine’s website.

Last updated on January 11, 2012

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Cookery Class News

Japanese food not all raw fish and teryaki

If you thought that learning to cook Japanese is as easy as scaling a fish and sending it around a conveyor belt and labelling it as sushi, think again.

As with their culture, the Japanese rightly put similar passion and effort into spreading their culinary expertise as they do into projecting their national heritage. To the majority of the Western World, Japanese cooking remains a mystery and it takes teachers like Reiko Hashimoto to impart that knowledge.

In a self-styled cookery course, including beginners, home cooks, gourmet and master chefs, Reiko has released her cookery course in book format, entitled “HASHI – A Japanese Cookery Course”.

Other than the ‘gourmet’ aspect, the anticipated book follows the same structure as her cookery classes and displays a similar frenetic energy and passion, bringing a wide and varied menu to the would-be cook.

Sushi still on the menu

As you would expect, there is a section relating to sushi under the fish and seafood chapter, but this is where the book takes on a whole new tone

Stepping Stones to Japanese expertise in the kitchen

Not only does each section provide a cookery class for each recipe, but you take the lessons learnt in the former section through to the next, building your knowledge as you go.

Beginners under starter’s orders

Soups and starters really set the tone of the cookery book from the outset, taking you through a six-course meal.

With further chapters concentrating on Salads and Side Dishes, the Fish and Seafood as previously mentioned, Meat and Poultry, Rice and Noodles and Tofu you have the real Japanese cooking experience laid out for you, if you cannot get to the cookery class, in person.

Pig out with Japanese meat dishes

There is, throughout the book, a continual reference to pork as one of the staples of Japanese protein (other than Tofu), ranging from marinaded pork bellies in brown sugar and ginger to soups using the versatile ingredient with roughly chopped root vegetables.

For those who only think of Japanese food as raw fish and teryaki, this collection will open your eyes to the versatility of the Japanese kitchen.

Unusual for cook books of this nature, which stumble from recipe to recipe, this publication uses prose that flows throughout.

In addition to this extraordinary book, the London Cooking Club have long been fans of Reiko’s recipes – you can discover more about them and how their past successes in “Demystifying Japanese Cooking”, online.

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Cookery Courses News

Back to nature for foraged ingredients

In the fast-paced world in which we live, the tendency is to resort to pre-packed ready-meals available off the supermarket shelf as a matter of convenience.  Even when we buy ingredients off the shelf, there is a question hanging over their nutritional value.

Depending upon where you live in the UK, there could be a multitude of ingredients on your doorstep that you could literally pick from their natural habitat and, after a quick swill, pop straight into the pot.

Foraging for your ingredients

Even the judges for TV shows, like The Great British Menu, place a huge emphasis on the sourcing of local ingredients.

The onus is on the chefs to go out to their local region, find suppliers for the ingredients of their four-course competition dishes who are then invited to the prestigious event, for whichever worthy cause is deigned for that year – even to the extent of celebrating the indigenous British ingredients, themselves.

Why the sudden interest?

There has been a sweep across Europe with the top chefs looking to promote their home-grown ingredients.

Two-Michelin starred chef Rene Redzepi has incorporated his native Danish wild plants as the basis for the Noma menu in his Copenhagen contemporary restaurant.

What are we talking about when we refer to foraged foods?

If you want to learn to cook as these top chefs – other contemporaries utilising this en vogue method are British chefs Mark Hix and Simon Rogan – you need to have an inkling about what you’re looking for to put on the plate.

There is no exact ‘list of ingredients‘, it is very much down to what you can pick out of the ground, scoop from the hives or pick from trees and bushes.

Honey is a great traditional local ingredient – the bees collect pollen from plants nurtured in nearby grounds, plants that grow only in certain regions and variants of fruits and berries that change their flavour as they suit the geography of the land.

Many of the chefs who propogate this method do offer cookery courses that will inherently incorporate foraged foods. Not only through their own restaurants and websites but by their registration with the Great British Chefs association.

It is worth contemplating, if you’re looking to add more unprocessed supermarket to your diet and cook freshly on a more regular basis.

Just look to the ground, tress and bushes around you for your inspiration.