10 of the best cookery schools in Cheshire
PUBLISHED: 13:18 01 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:12 01 August 2019
Cheshire is full of fine dining locations, but there are plenty of places in the area to learn some culinary skills of your own
Whether you pride yourself on your Masterchef potential or your abilities just about extend to pressing the right button on your microwave, there's plenty to be gained from a cookery class.
From honing your technical skills, to discovering new flavours, to the sheer joy of nibbling your way through an evening of your own creations (or your fellow cooks' should your efforts seriously fall short of the mark), the right class can really hit the pleasure-purpose sweet spot for a great night - or afternoon - out.
Whet your appetite with ten of Cheshire's most exciting offerings.
Spice up your life
My Curry Club, based in Cranage between Knutsford and Holmes Chapel, is Cheshire's very first dedicated Indian cookery school and the food baby of founder, chef Habiba Chowdhury, whose Bangladeshi-British heritage has driven her passion for sharing a broader view of Indian-inspired cooking. You're not going to be knocking up a bog-standard tikka masala here. By teaching you about the roles of different spices and introducing you to dishes not always found on the average Indian menu, Habiba aims to not only extend your at-home curry repertoire but to empower to make bolder choices when eating out. Taster sessions from £45.
If you want uber-seasonal ingredients and a bit of exercise into the bargain, this is the course for you. Foraging expert James Wood runs a rolling programme of foraging and cookery sessions for not-for-profit group, Cracking Good Food. Over six hours you learn how to identify a whole range of edible plants on a generally gentle, only occasionally challenging, walk (there maybe the odd stile to clamber over). During the summer months you'll be picking elderflowers and berries while in the autumn you'll join James on mushroom hunts. Forages take place in Didsbury, Chorlton, Sale and Macclesfield with the day split equally between foraging and cooking your finds. A six hour session costs £65.
Want to recreate the tastes of that summer sojourn to Santorini? Or just fancy having a bit of fun with feta? Time to make a date with Greka Foods' Cookery School. Based in Nantwich, the cookery courses are run by husband-and-wife team Ian and Sofia (whose Greek grandmother taught her to cook), who also sell their traditional Greek products at prestigious farm shops and markets across Cheshire. The course is limited to a maximum of six people who will learn how to prepare typical Greek dishes such as spanakopita (spinach & feta pie), pastitsio (Greek lasagne), moussaka and tzatziki dip. Flatbreads at the ready. Prices start from £70pp.
Spend your dough
Now that carbs are firmly back on the menu, artisan breadmaking is having quite the moment - and you can become part of the revival with a day at Manchester's Companio Bakery. Their ad hoc, but reasonably regular, day-long courses have various different themes - they teach patisserie too - but expect expert baker, Russell Goodwin, to guide you through every stage of bread baking from the dough-making to moulding it into something that hopefully resembles some kind of loaf, roll, cob or baguette. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea are included and, of course, you'll take home your carby creations. Prices are usually around the £150 mark for a full day. Check online for the latest offerings.
Chef-cum-cookery-teacher, Chris Cohen, tutors all ages and abilities through his company, Feast With Friends. His aptly named offering will arrange a bespoke class for you and a small group of pals to cook up a DIY dinner party in the comfort of your own kitchen (or a hire-able space should your kitchen not quite cut it). Free consultations beforehand allow you to chat about the skills you might want to work on and devise a bespoke menu you'll enjoy both cooking and eating. Prices vary on group sizes but there's a minimum booking of £200.
For those of you considering adopting a meat-free diet then the Vegetarian Society in Altrincham should be your first port of call. The Vegetarian Society stages courses throughout the year including regional Indian cuisine and gluten-free cooking as well as professional training and bespoke courses for caterers.
Founder Andrew and Lisa Warnes launched The Cheshire Cookery School based in Altrincham in 2010. The school has seen many local Cheshire residents and companies come through their doors to help sharpen their culinary skills or on team bonding sessions. The school now hosts a full range of Italian cooking courses with Executive Chef Tina Rossano.
People travel to Bangkok and beyond to learn a little Thai cookery - happily you only have to make it into Manchester. Chaophraya, one of the city's most renowned Thai restaurants, runs regular cookery classes during which - glass of fruit punch in hand - you'll be talked through the best fresh ingredients and then shown how to make two authentic Thai dishes before giving it a go yourself with a little hands-on instruction. Those supermarket jars of paste will become a thing of the past. Courses last two to three hours and cost £69pp with around 12 people per course.
Harthill Cookery School
Brian Mellor is a former Head Chef at BBC and Executive Chef at Granada TV and opened his cookery school at the old village school at Harthill. You can find a range of interesting seasonal courses throughout the year including foraging and live barbeque in the summer to Christmas baking in the winter. Brian Mellor was recently named Cheshire Life's 2019 Food Hero of the Year
Wilmslow Kitchen Cookery School
Sarah and David Bridge have cooked for the likes of Hollywood star Bruce Willis, musician Phil Collins and international fashion designers at Louis Vuitton. Their early training was under the Roux brothers in London and moved to Wilmslow in 2006, they achieved a long time amibition of opening the school school in 2014. They offer daytime and evening courses in everything from bread making and pastry and tarts to helping chefs get more from their food.