From festive biscuits to a full roast dinner, where to learn the kitchen skills you need this winter.
As the festive season approaches and thoughts turn to comfort food, as well as how to impress party guests, we’ve rounded up our top picks for cookery courses around the UK. They can also make for a unique gift, so you can relax, knowing both the Christmas dinner and presents have been taken care of.
Contact us for more options and to book any of the below.
To help get you into the Christmas cooking spirit, we have negotiated 20% off Joseph Joseph kitchenware.
Go behind the scenes at Michelin-starred restaurants
Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire
Best known as the home of Raymond Blanc’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant, this beautiful property in Oxfordshire also hosts the chef’s cookery school. It offers 22 courses including traditional patisserie skills, garden-to-plate cooking and a whole day dedicated to Blanc’s mother’s hearty dishes that initiated his love of food. For an indulgent foodie break, stay in one of the hotel’s luxurious rooms – contact us to secure the best rate.
Following an extensive refurbishment of the main restaurant, the cookery school at this Michelin-starred establishment is following suit and will re-open in March 2016, just in time for spring-inspired cooking. Attendees take a look behind the scenes and then get involved in some hands-on demonstrations before proceedings conclude with a wine tasting and three-course lunch.
Kinloch Lodge, Isle of Skye
Just over two hours’ drive from Inverness is this loch-side retreat where guests can hike through Skye’s incredible scenery or stay warm in the kitchen with Michelin-starred chef Marcello Tully. Attendance is limited to two people per session, as guests cook alongside Tully to prepare items for that day’s menu before enjoying a four-course lunch.
Learn from the best British chefs
River Cottage, Dorset
This organic farm was established by chef and writer Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in 2004 and as well as offering a thorough overview of home cooking, River Cottage really stands out thanks to the specialist courses. Whether it’s making your own cider, preserves and cheese, or exploring beekeeping and foraging, you can learn about it all here.
Our lifestyle writer, Erin Spurling, attended the one-day classic cookery course in October: ‘I was amazed by how much you get to do in one day – I learnt to fillet plaice, cook lamb and make bread and pastry.’
Lime Wood, New Forest
As well as being a five-star hotel and spa, this is also home to Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett’s cookery school venture with Luke Holder: HH&Co Backstage. While guests can create classic dishes throughout the year, their party courses incorporating everything from canapés and cocktails to cheese and wine will ensure impressive festive entertaining.
Padstow Seafood School, Cornwall
Rick Stein gives students the chance to learn from his years of travel at this cookery school, led by head chef and lecturer Mark Puckey. Two-hour evening courses are ideal on a coastal break, while longer half-day and full-day options allow guests to master Japanese seafood, filleting fish and cooking with shellfish.
Become star baker
These biscuit aficionados will guide you through prepping, making and piping icing for a variety of sweet treats at their boutiques in Notting Hill and Clapham. In the run-up to Christmas, their two-hour classes include themes such as the Nutcracker and the Snowman. Erin Spurling attended last weekend: ‘I’d never iced before but learnt all the basics and will definitely be icing biscuits for my family this Christmas.’
Concierge members receive a 15% discount and free standard delivery on Biscuiteers’ Christmas collections until 22 November – contact us to place your order
Gail’s Artisan Bakery, London
Few things can beat the smell and taste of a fresh loaf of bread and the people behind Gail’s agree. The workshops at their Blackheath bakery give a basis in making a traditional bloomer loaf, soda bread and brioche. Specialist courses covering sourdough, afternoon tea and festive baking are available to help you make everything from scones to cheese biscuits.
Established in 1919, Bettys Tea Rooms are a Yorkshire institution and keen bakers can learn their secrets at the cosy cookery school. Although you can spend the day preparing hearty meals, we love it for the vast range of baking options including macaroon masterclasses, patisserie practice and baking with chocolate.
Pictured: River Cottage