LEARNING NEW SKILLS AT THE BEST COOKING SCHOOLS IN LONDON

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By Kerry Dolan

Spring is always a good time to plan new challenges.

Social media is awash with healthy eating tips, recipes and work out #goals so is an ideal time to devise a new eating plan and ditch the unhealthy snacks and calorie-laden takeaways. 

There’s one problem, however.  I’m not a good cook.  I can put together a basic Spaghetti Bolognese, but anything containing more than a couple of ingredients leaves me crying into my apron, with no sign of an onion anywhere.

The answer to my problems would be either to employ a chef at my house, or more realistically, learn to cook myself. 

As the first option is a little out of my price range, I decided to explore London’s cookery schools and what they had to offer.  Luckily, they have affordable and enjoyable classes and courses on offer in various locations all over London. 

Here are just a few of the culinary courses that you can enjoy:

Jamie Oliver’s Cookery School based in Jamie’s Italian restaurant at Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush. Jamie’s cookery school offers a range of different classes for various cuisines.  Lessons range from learning to cook a North Indian Thali to Getting Stuck into Steak.  Classes are held throughout the day and prices start at £45, booking available online.  The classes aim to be informative and hands on, but relaxed enough to enjoy yourself.  At the end, sit down and eat your delicious creation knowing you have channelled your inner Jamie. 

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Food at 52.  96 Central Street, EC1V 8AJ.  A delightful home from home approach learning to cook world cuisines in a unique and relaxing environment.  With music and free flowing wine and denim aprons, everyone cooks around a long handmade oak table for the maximum sociable experience.  With full and half day courses available, you can learn kitchen basics and how to properly cook fish and seafood, Spanish, Italian, Thai, Indian or Asian. 

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Spice Monkey.  191 Victoria Road, N22 7XH.  The lessons available here promise to give you the skills and confidence to cook delicious Indian food, from day to day curries, celebratory delicacies or street food.  Choose from beginner's classes to advanced, you will be rewarded at the end with a great meal and glass of wine.  A beginner’s class is priced at £125. 

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The Avenue Cookery School.  3 Enterprise Way, Wandsworth, SW18 1FZ.  Established in 2004, it's a family run business offering daytime, weekend and evening options to suit.  Bespoke classes are available, or try your hand at chalet cooking for something a bit different.  A typical Italian lesson runs between 7-10pm and with dinner and alcohol included, the class costs between £70-£130.  

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Bread Angels.  An excellent opportunity to develop your cooking skills into your own business.  If you want to know how to set up your own micro bakery, then this is your chance.  The bread angels work from home, baking bread and teaching others their enviable craft.  Baking courses are 12 hours long, either once per week over a three-week period or over two days.  Simply type in your postcode and a list of available courses nearest to you will appear.  These intimate cosy sessions not only teach you the art of baking bread but come with expert tuition, all ingredients and meals plus plenty of bread to take home!  Priced at £410. 

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Spun Candy.  58 Wentworth Street, E1 7AL.  For those with a sweet tooth this confectionery and handmade candy producer based in Spitalfields is definitely for you.  Masterclasses are available in lollipop making, candy flower making and confectionery.  Family classes are also offered.  An hours lesson costs £60 per adult which includes a welcome glass of prosecco and you get to take home all of your yummy creations. 

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Yuki’s Kitchen.  21 Harold Road, SE19 3PU.  Yuki is a professionally trained chef and cookery writer.  She is completely passionate about Japanese cooking and provides classes, courses or private lessons from her kitchen in Crystal Palace.  With a maximum 8 students per class, prices start at £65. The highly popular day and evening sessions are available and last for 2 and half hours, booking available online. 

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Billingsgate Seafood School, Billingsgate Market. Trafalgar Way, E14 5ST.  Ever shied away from fish dishes because you don’t know how to prepare them?  There is a wide range of fish cookery and preparation courses on offer from their location at Billingsgate Market to suit all budgets and skill levels.  Their food lover’s courses run daytime and evenings.  The popular Saturday’s Catch class on Saturday mornings runs between 8.30 am - 1.30 pm.  Its full of practical hints and tips, and you can learn how to prepare and cook various species of fish and shellfish.  A glass of wine at the end of the morning is a nice touch.  Prices from £100. 

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The Kid's Kitchen. Whetstone, N20.  If you want to help the kids learn their fruit from their vegetables, this is a great place to encourage the fussy eaters in your family.  Show the kids how they can have fun, involving them with the preparation and cooking of their own meals.  These award-winning proactive classes are available on Sundays and during the school holidays with pre-school classes and parties also on offer. 

Each lesson shows your child how to follow instructions, measure, use kitchen equipment and develop their fine motor skills.  They also get to try new foods, work as part of a team, lay the table and even wash up.  Aimed at kids aged 5+, classes have a maximum of 8 children and run in the mornings and afternoons.  Your child will take home a recipe sheet and special certificate for any new foods they have sampled, as well as some baked goodies too.  Prices start at £45. 

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Happy Cooking!