Learn everything from basic cooking to some pretty impressive kitchen techniques
Think about the last time you used algebra or trigonometry in your daily life. Now have a think about the last thing you cooked. It doesn’t add up does it? Convention has it that humans need to feed themselves three times a day, yet cooking lessons aren’t a priority in many schools. A high proportion of adults grow up not knowing how to cook from scratch or feed themselves with decent home cooking. The increasing availability of mass produced convenience foods aren’t doing us any favours either, with their hidden additives, high salt and sugar content and saturated fats.
All the above is obviously important, but let’s also not also forget how satisfying it is to show off a bit in front of friends or family; to knock up a killer Bolognese or throw together some Vietnamese summer rolls (what, these? Oh, it was really nothing). So we’ve rounded up a few of the best local cookery schools which offer cookery lessons, demos and master classes.
What – A not-for-profit social enterprise which believes cooking is a vital life skill that everyone should have the opportunity to learn. In order to be accessible, their courses and one day classes are some of the cheapest in the region. Income from the cookery school helps to support the organisation's other aim - to help those in food poverty.
They work with a team of fully trained chefs, experienced cooking teachers and co-ordinators, supported by over 100 volunteers, to deliver an extensive programme of cookery classes, courses, workshops, demos, community cooking programmes and even local foraging expeditions to learn about picking wild food. Classes range from bread making to various Far Eastern cuisines (including Chinese, Japanese, Thai, South Indian, Vietnamese and Nepalese), pasta making, vegan and also parent and kids cookery lessons. Once the cooking is over, students are encouraged to sit together and eat what they've made.
Where – Various venues including Chorlton High School Training Kitchen, Parrs Wood High School in Didsbury or Prestwich Arts College. Contact Tracey for bookings and general enquiries 07419 379172
How much? Classes range in length so prices are charged accordingly from £27.50 to £70 for a 4 hour lesson to £95 for a 6 hour class.
What – Founded in 2009 by Andrew and Lisa Warnes, who believe that good food is at the heart of all that matters in life, this cookery school is a series of rooms which occupy the rear of a kitchen appliance warehouse in Altrincham.
The well equipped and spacious school has 16 workstations, induction hobs and state-of-the-art ovens with plenty of fridges and freezers, a full range of Kitchen Aid processors, mixers and blenders and top quality I O Shen knives. As well as various lessons and demonstrations, the space is often hired for corporate events, food brand launches, photo shoots or as a tv film location.
They offer day, half day, evening and even celebrity chef workshops with the likes of Simon Rimmer and Robert Owen Brown. Courses range from bread making, ethnic cuisines, and dishes from various European countries but you can also brush up your easy dinner party skills, cook the perfect steak, or learn how to bake biscuits and cakes as gifts in time for Christmas.
Where – The Cheshire Cookery School, (Part of COD Electrical) LM Business Park, Norman Road, Altrincham, WA14 4EP 0161 928 5120
How much? Prices depend on the type and length of course but range between £45 for kid’s cookery to £75 and £150
What – A bright modern cookery school on an industrial estate behind the Porche garage in Handforth, beween Cheadle and Wilmslow. Owned by experienced chefs Sarah and David Bridge, they offer daytime or evening classes for beginners wanting to learn how to cook, experienced home cooks wanting to take their skills to the next level, professionals enjoying corporate events and team building as well as classes for children – they can even host kid’s cooking parties.
Classes cover bread, cakes, finger food, fish, steak, bao and dim sum, French patisserie, pasta, dinner parties, introduction to baking and more. The fully equipped school itself is bright and modern with a pitched roof, exposed beams and New York Deli atmosphere, ten work stations each with multicoloured Kenwood mixers and Stoves ovens. There’s also a communal dining area where the group is welcome to enjoy what they’ve prepared.
Where - Wilmslow Kitchen Cookery School, Unit 9, Elf Mill, Deanway Trading Estate, Wilmslow, SK9 3HW 07725 120128
How much? Classes range from £60 for 3 hours to £120 for a six hour class
What – Founder and director Mark Seymour Mead believes that everyone CAN cook, it’s just that some simply haven’t been shown how to yet. His mission is “to give you confidence to cook more; for health, for fun, for life..... A team of expert chefs will guide each student through fun, hands-on classes making sure that everyone leaves with something delicious as well as some new-found cooking skills. These cover useful areas such as healthy eating, Asian and world food, pasta making, off to uni, land and sea, or back to basics.
Food Sorcery also offer group cooking or cooking in pairs whether it be a novel first date idea, parent and child or just friends together looking for something more constructive to do. They also offer barista training for those keen to master the art of making the perfect coffee at home or require professional barista skills.
Where – Food Sorcery at Waterside Hotel & Leisure Club, Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, M20 5WZ
How much? Depends on length of course or class. A two day ‘off to uni course’ will cost you £240, but will set you up for life. 3 hours of ‘back to basics – confident cooking’ cost £75
What – This well established cookery school, based at the headquarters of the Vegetarian Society in Altrincham, specialises in modern vegetarian and vegan cooking. It has recently undergone a complete makeover. The teaching kitchen’s new green hued walls are adorned with contemporary spice racks, cupboards and utensil hangers, with funky retro-style appliances to help you create some show stopping and imaginative meat free dishes.
To accompany the new aesthetics, the course timetable has also been refreshed and modernised and there is a wide range of courses available covering bread making, gluten free, seasonal, vegan, ethnic, healthy food etc, for different levels of expertise from beginner to keen cook. They even offer a five day Cordon Vert Chefs’ Professional Diploma to inspire restaurant chefs to respond imaginatively to the growing call for interesting meat free dishes.
Where – The Vegetarian Society Cookery School, Parkdale, Altrincham, WA14 4QG
How much? Depending on which course, they average around £139 for a six hour class including lunch and an information pack with all recipes
What – This long standing chocolatier, cake shop and cafe now has its own Slattery School of excellence located on the 3rd floor where customers can learn a variety of sweet new skills including chocolate, sugar craft and baking. It’s decked out with all the equipment and facilities to provide you with the perfect learning experience from friendly expert staff.
All courses are suitable for beginners, unless otherwise stated and half day, full day (including lunch) and even five day courses are available with all products made to take home. Chocolate making classes include things like truffle rolling, figures, moulded chocolate, shards, cigarillos and ganache. Sugar work will cover making novelty figures, piping like an expert as well as cutting, carving and layering cakes into all sorts of different shapes. Private tuition is also available for those whose dream it’s always been to spend a day one-to-one with a patisserie expert.
Where – 197 Bury New Road, Whitefield, M45 6GE 0161 767 9303
How much? Half day cake workshop £75, Essential baking skills one day course £170, private chocolate workshops for groups of ten £59 for 2.5hrs