The great thing about food in the UK is how diverse it is. Yes, we have traditional British dishes like roasts and scones, and old English puddings, but we also have large Chinese, Italian, Indian, and other international food scenes.
I love cooking, and I also love discovering new dishes to cook and new ways of preparing food, so I’ve found cooking classes to be great experiences. I took my first one as part of a bachelorette party many years ago and I’ve been taking them ever since. Here are 10 fabulous cooking classes to experience in the UK.
1. Sauce By The Langham
Located within the luxury London hotel, The Langham, Sauce is run by professional chefs from the hotel who offer full-day classes where you can go deeper into how to prepare food, knife skills, and masterclasses, or short building block classes where you can learn the basics and be let in on some trade secrets. There’s a calendar of events on the website where you can view upcoming classes, see how many spaces are left in each class, and book. The restaurant at the hotel is overseen by chef Michel Roux Jr., and you can book a masterclass in the cookery school with the man himself.
2. The Old Bakehouse
In the beautiful Cotswolds, experienced home cook, Annabel, invites you into her lovely Cotswold cottage to cook in her own kitchen. The Old Bakehouse offers personal, intimate cookery classes for all levels of experience. It’s informal and everyone gets cups of tea and slices of homemade cake in the cozy country kitchen. Classes include a taste of Italy, comfort food, and group classes Tipsy Afternoon Tea and Friends Reunited. On a fine day, you can enjoy your creations in Annabel’s lovely garden. Contact Annabel to book a class, there’s no minimum number of guests, so if you want to take a friend or help teach your grandchild how to cook, Annabel will accommodate you.
3. The Artisan Bakehouse
If like me, you love the smell of a bakery and there’s nothing more comforting than freshly baked bread straight from the oven, you’ll love this cooking class. The Artisan Bakehouse has a traditional wood oven, which is great to see and try out, but you will learn how to take your skills home with you and bake bread in a regular oven too. If you’ve never baked bread before, there’s
“An Introduction to Breadmaking” class.
If you’re already a seasoned bread maker, you can try something different. You can book a class for baking sourdough, pastries, and Mediterranean bread. There’s even a chocolate-making masterclass. You can also stay over on-site in one of the two cottages or the shepherd’s hut. There’s a heated outdoor swimming pool on the grounds and lots of lovely country walks nearby, making this a lovely place to spend a few days.
4. Niki Webster
Run by Niki, a food blogger and cookbook author, these classes are held in various locations, including the Cheshire Cookery School in Altrincham. Classes alter depending on the seasons, as Niki uses seasonal ingredients and tailors classes for the time of year and location. What always stays the same is the premise of these classes. They are always plant-based. Drinks are included in the class, as are some snacks, and you can eat what you’ve made after or take it home with you. If you want to take your food home, make sure you bring your own tubs, as these aren’t provided. Keep an eye on Niki’s Facebook and website for any upcoming classes, which can be booked online through The Cheshire Cookery School, or other locations.
5. Philleigh Way Cookery School
Located in an old Cornish farmhouse, Philleigh Way Cookery School is run by Rupert Cooper, who is food obsessed and passionate about every aspect of food. There’s a rolling calendar of classes and events, from Italian cookery, pizza masterclasses, and vegetarian cookery, to classes focusing on fish, game, and pastries. There are Indian cookery classes and special classes for certain dates in the year. You can also enjoy dinner here on special occasions. If you’ve taken a cookery class and want to try something else, there are also floristry, photography, and yoga classes held here. You can book the classes through the website, where you’ll find the upcoming dates each class is held on.
6. The Arches
The Arches is held in a converted barn on a working farm in North Yorkshire and is run by Sarah Muir who used to provide catering for rock stars on tour, such as Elton John, Whitney Houston, and Lionel Richie. Now she’s left the touring life behind and settled on the farm, offering cookery classes with years of experience in catering behind her. There’s a constantly changing calendar of classes, including Italian cookery, couples classes, a class that focuses on cooking with pork, and a vintage tea party where you’ll make cakes and arrange the perfect tea party. These classes are incredibly popular and sell out fast, so if you want to try one, it’s best to book a few weeks in advance.
At Mandira’s, visitors can learn how to start their journey in Indian cooking, with the Easy Indian Cookery Lesson for beginners, or anyone with some experience can try the Fish and Indian Street Food Class, where you’ll learn how to perfect the tastiest Indian street food and cook with fish. There’s also a vegetarian cookery class. All classes are half a day long and include all ingredients and cooking utensils. Each class starts with a spice masterclass so you can get to grips with the most important elements of Indian cooking. You can book the classes online, where the upcoming dates for each class are shown. The vegetarian class is especially popular, so if you want to book this one, get in there early.
8. Open Fire Cookery Breaks
The Bottle & Glass Inn, Henley On Thames
Set in the countryside at Binfield Heath, just outside Henley-on-Thames, The Bottle & Glass Inn offers a series of Open Fire Cookery breaks. Based in the garden, a tent tipi with a log-burning stove and outdoor kitchen will act as the field classroom. During these relaxed cooking days, guests will have the chance to use the wood-fired oven as well as cook with a variety of open-fire cooking kits, from hanging frames, chicken baskets, asado crosses, hooks, chains, and planchas to cook directly on the earth. Participants will also enjoy a range of demonstrations, learning about cooking techniques, preparation, how to manage fire, and developing recipes. The cooking breaks are led by David Holliday, chef, and co-owner of the Bottle & Glass Inn. The courses will run in February, June, and September.
Eureka is the cookery school side of Simpson’s restaurant, a Michelin-starred eatery in Birmingham. Each class shares the skills and techniques used by Simpsons’ chefs to create beautiful dishes, giving attendees the confidence to discover and unleash their culinary talents. It’s a 9 a.m. arrival, which includes a welcome cup of tea or coffee and a behind-the-scenes tour of the restaurant kitchen, before moving upstairs to the purpose-built cookery school kitchen.
The cookery classes are a hands-on experience, with chefs helping guests to create fabulous contemporary dishes. After cooking, everyone is invited to take a short break to sip champagne, whilst the Simpsons team set up the chef’s table. This is where guests sit down together and enjoy lunch, which includes some dishes they have prepared earlier on. Attendees are also invited to help the chef plate up, learning essential techniques for Michelin-class presentation.
10. Chewton Glen
Set in Chewton Glen, an 18th-century country retreat hotel, the cookery school is overseen by celebrity chef James Martin and includes a “kitchen” restaurant that can be booked for special occasions. The classes cover a broad area of cooking and include knife skills, Greek cookery, Thai cooking, sushi classes, Korean, puddings, and vegan cooking. The chefs who lead the classes are all highly trained professionals, so these are classes where you’ll learn a lot of skills, but there’s no requirement for experience. You can take the class if you’ve never cooked before, or if you’re looking to learn some in-depth skills from culinary professionals. The website is clear and offers lots of information on courses, including whether spaces are available. You can book directly through the site.
Be prepared to get messy! Don’t dress up in your best outfit for a cookery class, you’ll be wearing an apron anyway and you’re going to get messy. Whenever I’ve been to a cooking class I’ve ended up with ingredients, flour, oil, and more all over me, so allow for some spillage!
For more information about cooking classes, check out these articles: