Try a real cook’s tour: Seven cookery courses that could turn you into a master chef
- Sign up for a Fin And Shell course at The Cook’s Place in Malton, North Yorkshire
- Check out the courses at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxford
- The Rick Stein’s Cookery School in Cornwall runs courses for children and teens
If you’ve spent the past year vowing to improve your culinary skills but haven’t managed to get much further than banana bread, a cookery break might be the solution.
Is your dough a disaster? Are your rolls rock-hard? Then sign up for a three-day Rustic Breads And Sourdough course at The Bertinet Kitchen, a cookery school in Bath run by baker, chef and cookbook author Richard Bertinet.
The focus is on breads that require fermentation, and you’ll learn how to use this process to add flavour. The school is a short walk from Royal Victoria Park, where you can offset the inevitable carb overload with a stroll through its botanic gardens.
Chef Richard Bertinet, who runs a cookery school in Bath
The course costs £615pp (thebertinetkitchen.com).
Stay: Foodies will love the Bath Priory Hotel, which has a Michelin-starred restaurant. Rooms cost from £215 a night (thebathpriory.co.uk).
If you love fish but struggle to cook it at home, a one-day Fin And Shell course at The Cook’s Place in Malton, North Yorkshire, is for you. Learn how to prepare five dishes, as well as filleting techniques and the perfect pan-frying and smoking skills.
Malton, a foodie town, is regarded as one of the best places to feast on crustaceans such as crabs, razor clams and lobsters.
The course costs £145pp (thecooksplace.co.uk).
Stay: The Talbot dates from the 1600s and is within walking distance of a gin distillery and several breweries. Rooms cost from £125 a night (talbotmalton.co.uk).
Don’t know your temari from your tamaki? Sushi workshops at Surrey’s Beaverbrook hotel are a great place to start.
Its Okawari Japanese Experience – okawari translates as ‘more food please’ – features a two-hour masterclass. You’ll then toast your success – perhaps with a Sake Sling – at Sir Frank’s Bar before heading to the hotel’s Japanese Grill for a seven-course tasting menu created by head chef Wojciech Popow, a world-renowned sushi expert.
The course costs £865 for two people and includes overnight accommodation and breakfast (beaverbrook.co.uk).
Rick Stein’s Cookery School in Padstow, above, teaches children how to create dishes like crab tacos
Teaching children how to cook is a good idea, but an even better one is leaving it to the experts at Rick Stein’s Cookery School in Cornwall. Sign them up and the younger ones (eight to 12) create dishes such as crab tacos and monkfish with new potatoes, while teenagers (13 to 17) will get to grips with prawn and avocado cocktails and sea bass with sweet and sour onions.
A half-day course costs £72 (rickstein.com).
Stay: There are seven gorgeous beaches within walking distance of the four-star Padstow Harbour Hotel. Rooms cost from £204 a night (harbourhotels.co.uk).
Channel your inner carnivore during a four-night adrenaline-fuelled adventure in Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, where you’ll raft down rivers, hike to the summit of Ben A’an and sleep in bell tents.
The evenings are all about campfire cuisine, with masterclasses from top chefs on foraging, butchery and open-fire cooking.
The course costs £3,250pp (wildnis.co.uk),
In good taste: Oxfordshire’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
There’s a huge range of courses on offer at The Raymond Blanc Cookery School at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, which can be combined with a stay at the Oxfordshire manor house hotel. For the ultimate sugar rush, book the Sweet And Simple Patisserie course – the hotel’s pastries are legendary, thanks largely to the presence of Chef Patissier Benoit Blin, whose accolades include Master of Culinary Arts, Pastry Chef of the Year and UK Pastry Club Chairman. The half-day course costs £185pp, while rooms are from £895 a night (belmond.com).
Perfect your sausages at the School of Artisan Food, which you’ll find on the outskirts of Nottingham in the heart of Sherwood Forest.
Forget British bangers – this focuses on continental varieties and you’ll learn how to make frankfurters, Polish kielbasas, Toulouse-style saucissons and Bavarian bratwurst. You’ll also hone knife skills and learn how to identify the best cuts of pork.
A full-day course costs £195pp (schoolofartisanfood.org).
Stay: Collapse in front of a log fire at Ye Olde Bell Hotel in Retford. Rooms cost from £135 a night (yeoldebell-hotel.co.uk).