3 fantastic Hampshire cookery schools
PUBLISHED: 12:14 30 September 2015 | UPDATED: 11:16 15 March 2018
There has been a surge of luxury cookery schools cropping up around the county of late, Elizabeth Kirby set out to brush up on her skills and to see for herself - what's cooking
HH&Co Backstage is the offering at luxury New Forest hotel, Lime Wood. Providing a unique, fun and informal way of learning how to cook delicious food, the brand new, purpose-built cookery school is being led by esteemed chefs Angela Hartnett, Luke Holder and Iain Longhorn. With an emphasis on using fresh, locally sourced produce, HH&Co BACKSTAGE is open to all cooking levels and offers seven styles of cooking to choose from, each with its own specific courses.
Verdict: This is a great environment to learn to cook as the kitchen feels very similar to what you have at home – just maybe a little more luxurious in our case. Iain is attentive and witty, making you feel at ease and keeping things light-hearted throughout the whole experience. Fairly complex recipes are broken down to simple stages that are demonstrated first before you’re let loose on your own station. We learnt fish filleting skills, how best to kill and cook a lobster and pasta making all within a day long course. The highlight being the communal lunch, when we were given the chance to taste our hard work and chat about what we had learnt. A great asset to an already stunning hotel and spa!
Book: Full day courses start from £195 per person and half-day courses start from £100 per person. Visit www.limewoodhotel.co.uk for full course line-up and to book.
Country House Cooking
Located within the impressive 63-acre grounds of Lainston House near Winchester, SEASON Cookery School features a state-of-the-art kitchen area with six double sided workstations incorporating the latest Gaggenau equipment and Bulthaup kitchen furniture along with a demonstration table for theory and presentations - making it one of the largest cookery schools in the county. Using local produce and ingredients from the hotel’s huge walled kitchen garden, courses are designed to appeal to both novice and confident home cooks.
Verdict: This bright, professional kitchen is fairly daunting at first – but our chef for the day, Olly Rouse (Head Chef at 3AA Rosettes, The Avenue within the hotel) instantly put us at ease. The focus was on dinner party entertaining, and we were given some top tips of the trade to make sure that time spent in the kitchen was kept to a minimum. With the culture being very much focused on ‘help yourself’, with teas and coffees being available throughout the day, ingredients provided but not measured out and equipment available around the room, it felt like a true kitchen environment, which gave us the confidence to try the recipes at home. The highlight was spending time in the kitchen garden picking the fruit to adorn our white chocolate cheesecakes, and of course…the tasting.
Book: Classes are available from £75 for a half day and from £155-£185 per person for a full day for up to 24 people. Visit www.exclusivehotels.co.uk for full course listing and to book.
James Durrant, Chef Patron of the award-winning Plough Inn in Longparish, BBC 2’s Great British Menu (2014) main course winner and currently ranked fourth in the Top 50 Gastropubs in the UK, has launched James’ Kitchen Table, a new cookery school with a chef’s table and private dining facility set in the pretty gardens of The Plough Inn in the bucolic Test Valley. James has designed and is personally hosting a range of cookery classes in a purpose-built, state-of-the-art kitchen - with the emphasis being on friendly and informal learning for small groups of four.
Verdict: We joined three other cooks of varying competency for a morning focused on quick mid-week suppers that were full of flavour but short on time. The intimate environment meant that we all cooked together under James’ watchful eye before sitting down in the pub to sample our efforts. James was patient and calm as he guided us through each process and as it was us doing the cooking – it felt that these were skills that we would easily be able to adopt at home. This would be great for a birthday treat or special occasion with friends, or something for the whole family to help share the cooking at home.
Book: Classes are available from £95 per person, visit www.jameskitchentable.com for full course list, schedules and further facilities.
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