Five unusual cookery courses
Looking for a culinary learing experience that's a bit more off piste this winter? Then check out these
It’s all Prue Leith’s fault. She launched her eponymous school of food and wine back in 1974; now everyone’s at it. Chuck a brick and you’ll hit a cookery school; what did we buy our partners for their birthday before vouchers for a day of fish filleting came along? Even if you think you’re Masterchef material, there’s always room for improvement. Here are some slightly off-centre places where you can hone your kitchen skills.
Bread making on a farm in Hereford: retro heaven
Fancy learning how to make artisan bread in rural bliss? Croatian magician Dragan and his copywriting wife Penny decided to recession-proof their careers and opted for ‘Plan B’ for Bread. Make yeast and sourdough loaves, bake Croatian bread under a metal bell and take home the secrets of running a boutique bakery from home. Stay in Chanstone Court Farm, Ellie Parker’s comfortable, vintage-inspired Georgian farmhouse – if you’ve followed her column in Saturday Times supplement you’ll know her better as Valley Girl.
Indian food in Halifax: learn to cook the Prashad way
It’s no surprise that Prashad www.prashad.co.uk were runners up in Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Best Restaurant’ - this is Gujerati vegetarian food at its best. Kaushy Patel and son Bobby run day courses at the state-of-the-art Dean Clough Cooking School; learn to make their crowd-pleasing dishes – Prashad means ‘blessed food’ and Kaushy is happier than most to share her kitchen secrets.
Thai in Tideswell: As seen on TV!
Tideswell in Derbyshire’s glorious Peak District was one of six villages to win a substantial grant from the Lottery to kick start their stalling community back into life; it featured in the BBC’s recent series ‘Village SOS’ presented by Sarah Beeny. The good people of Tidsa built a cookery school from the ground up in under a year, recruited a bunch of professionals and now run a wide variety of courses to suit most wallets.
Find a cure in Warwickshire
Running true to the Italian ‘Slow Food’ principle, Sarah Chambers runs a number of not-just-for-profit courses from her home in rural Warwickshire; learn to make sausages from scratch, or take the curing option – pancetta, pastrami, smoked poultry and cured ham are yours for the doing. If you live anywhere near, check in for one of her secret supper clubs – but book early, they sell out overnight.
No more baked beans on the campsite!
Josh Sutton aka the Guyrope Gourmet travels round the countryside in Nan the Van, his trusty VW camper, cooking up a storm using ingredients he sources locally (his lobster linguine is sublime!) He does demonstrations but is just beginning to run courses – next year he’s at Studfold Farm in the Yorkshire Dales www.studfoldfarm.co.uk running a one-pot-wonder course, where folks get to cook the likes of Moroccan lamb stew and chickpea and apricot pilaf. Step away from the tin opener, you happy campers.
Top five cookery schools by Amy Davies
Thinking of becoming a Chef? by Darrin Hosegrove
My top 10 cookbooks by Kirsty Page
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