Whether you consider yourself a dab hand in the kitchen or you rarely make anything more complex than beans on toast, everyone can benefit from attending a cooking class. Cooking is just as relaxing as it is rewarding – and now that we’re able to see friends and family again, being able to knock up delicious dishes to share with your loved ones (or just enjoy yourself!) is even more pleasurable. Plus, cooking from scratch can be a great way to save money, as well as become more aware of what you’re putting into your body.
So whether you’re interested in learning more about a specific cuisine or just want to become more confident in the kitchen, here are 9 of the UK’s best cooking classes to get you inspired.
If you’re a fan of French food – and you love visiting the Cotswolds – then why not combine the two with a cookery class at The Raymond Blanc Cookery School in Oxfordshire? As you approach the idyllic, honey-stoned Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons hotel and walk through its gorgeous gardens, it’s tempting to think you’re just here for fun and relaxation – but don’t be fooled. This is a cookery class for people who are serious about improving their culinary skills.
One of the great things about The Raymond Blanc Cookery School is the variety of classes they offer. You can book yourself onto classes that celebrate the magic of vegetables, pulses, and herbs, classes that focus on knocking up perfect souffles or macarons, or classes that’ll teach you how to take your summer dinner parties to the next level. There are even classes dedicated to Raymond Blanc’s mother’s recipes, where you’ll be shown how to make her famous apple tarte tatin.
All courses can be tailored to all levels and abilities, and from snappy half-day courses to thorough dinner party masterclasses, there’s something for everyone. You’ll receive a certificate at the end of the course and enjoy light refreshments throughout – and if you’re booked onto a full day course, you’ll enjoy an informal lunch in the cookery school too.
If you love Indian food and dream of making your own restaurant-quality curries from home, then Praveen Kumar’s Indian cooking classes might be for you. The classes are a chance to learn from multi-award-winning restaurateurs and chefs Praveen and Swarna, and their one-day class combines lots of hands-on cooking training as you learn about the authentic dishes and spices of South India.
While you’ll be cooking at your own individual cooking station, this is cooking class with a social emphasis, and at the end of the class you’ll sit down with the other participants and enjoy your culinary creations with a glass of beer or wine – though there’s always plenty of food to take home to share with your loved ones, too! Whether you’ve never cooked Indian food before or have a few recipes under your belt, classes can be tailored to all abilities and dietary requirements.
Depending on your taste preferences and diet, you can expect to make a whole range of dishes during your class. Starters include papadoms, spicy onions, mint chutney, raitha and vegetable pakoras, and mouthwatering mains include tandoori salmon or chicken bhuna (or veggie alternatives) with tarka dal, chapatis and rice.
There are few people who don’t like tucking into a comforting bowl of pasta, and if you’re a pasta enthusiast who’s based near London, you might want to check out The Avenue Cookery School. The Pasta Workshop is one of the school’s most popular classes, and for good reason: the class focuses on how to make the perfect ravioli, and by the end of the class you’ll be able to mix, knead, roll, shape, and fill your own pasta parcels like a pro. Plus, the class is bring your own booze (BYOB), so if you enjoy your pasta with a couple of glasses of wine, you can do just that!
If you love all Italian food, not just pasta, then you’re also in luck, as The Avenue Cookery School also hosts an excellent Italian Cooking Class, where you can choose which delicious dishes you want to make: from tagliatelle and tiramisu, to beef carpaccio and risotto. If Greek food is more your thing, then why not book yourself onto the Greek Cooking Class, where you’ll learn how to make traditional Greek dishes like orange, parsley, and olive salad, and pomegranate chicken with skordalia and griddled aubergine.
More interested in picking up technical cooking skills rather than focusing on a specific cuisine? You can take technical cooking classes at The Avenue too. At the Knife Skills Class you’ll be taught how to use a knife to slice, peel, chop, julienne, chiffonade, concasse and segment – skills that you’ll then use to prepare a three-course meal.
Or, if you’re interested in learning foolproof ways of cooking that pretty much guarantee perfect results each time, then why not try the Sous Vide Class, where you’ll learn to cook a range of meat, vegetables and desserts using this cooking method?
If you love seafood and want to get better at cooking fish and shellfish, then you might want to think about booking yourself onto Rick Stein’s fish and shellfish one-day course. This course takes place in lovely Padstow in North Cornwall, where since 1975, Rick Stein’s The Seafood Restaurant has carved out a reputation for serving up some of the best fish and shellfish in the UK. During this course, you’ll learn how to cook many of the dishes that have become synonymous with the restaurant.
You’ll learn techniques like preparing squid, deveining, peeling, and cooking prawns, filleting a round fish, and shucking oysters. You’ll also watch expert chefs demonstrate different recipes and then have a go at making them yourself. Recipes include dishes like fillet of bass with vanilla butter vinaigrette, Indonesian seafood curry, and chargrilled whole Dover sole with sea salt and lime.
After you’ve prepared your meal, you’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labour, before relaxing with a glass of wine and watching as the chef demonstrates the final recipe. The course includes lunch, which you’ll eat overlooking the Camel Estuary with a glass of wine – or two! This is a cookery course that’ll teach you plenty of techniques, but is also geared around providing a good time. Plus, you can always book a guest room at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant and make a holiday out of it.
There are now around 1.5 million people in the UK who identify as vegan, so it’s no surprise that so many plant-based cookery classes have appeared on the scene in the past few years. If you’d like to get better at knocking up delicious, healthy and creative plant-based dishes, then why not join a Demuths cookery class in Bath? The great thing about Demuths classes is that they’re incredibly diverse, and whatever type of cuisine you’re into, you should be able to find a course to whet your appetite.
If you love Italian food, you might want to attend the Summer in Italy cookery class, where you’ll learn how to make mouthwatering plant-based dishes that transport you to sunny Italy: recipes include polpettine di melanzane, almond and peach tart, rosemary focaccia and even an indulgent tiramisu. Or, if the idea of Indian street food is more your thing, then you could try the Indian Street Food course, where you’ll make dishes like squash samosas, carrot and leek pakoras and aloo chaat.
If you don’t especially want to focus on a specific cuisine and would rather just get better at knocking up simple yet delicious plant-based meals, you can do that at Demuths too. Their Vegan Fast and Delicious course shows you how to make tasty seasonal recipes that you can make quickly and easily at home. Alternatively, the 30 Minute Suppers course will teach you how to cook vibrant vegan meals every night of the week, even when you’re pushed for time.
If you love the idea of foraging for your food but don’t know your spinach from your samphire, you might want to think about attending one of Totally Wild UK’s foraging courses. With 18 different locations including Southern and Mid-Scotland, the Lake District, Devon, Cornwall, London, and Sussex, you’ll hopefully find a location that’s accessible to you – and if getting there is still a bit of a trek, then why not combine your foraging course with a staycation?
Whichever cooking class you choose, you’ll be taught all the basics of foraging – from identifying edible plants to learning how to avoid trampling other wild foods that may be growing. You’ll also be given plenty of expert advice on harvesting, and get to taste an enormous range of foraged food types, including pickles, jams, chutneys, syrups and alcohol infusions. Once you’ve learned the basics, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test and head out to do some foraging!
Once you’ve collected enough fresh foods, the next part of the class is learning how to prepare your foraged ingredients in the best possible way. With the Totally Wild UK team, you’ll cook up a fresh and delicious two-course lunch. Depending on the season, you can expect mouthwatering dishes like wild risotto, wild noodle salad, orange and hogweed seeds cakes (over an open fire!), dandelion root coffee pancakes with birch syrup, and elderflower cheesecake.
Deep in the Welsh Conwy Valley, hidden among the green hills, you’ll find the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre – and this is a place that once you arrive, you probably won’t want to leave. Not only does Bodnant have lovely accommodation, a restaurant, farm shop, tea room and even a beekeeping centre, it also has some of the best and most versatile cooking courses in the UK.
Cookery classes change regularly here and are updated on the website every couple of months, so you never know what you might find. Upcoming classes include Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner, where you’ll learn how to make five dishes from one chicken, Meat-free Meals, where you’ll learn how to make delicious hearty meals without any meat or fish, and Classic French Cuisine, where you’ll learn how to recreate your French favourites.
The Bodnant cookery school is packed with state-of-the-art cooking equipment, and you’ll be taught by local chefs as well as some of the artisan cooks who work at the centre. Plus, the school overlooks the Conwy estuary, so you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful rural views while you prepare your dishes. In November and December there are classes on festive cooking and Christmas cake making, as well as how to make lovely edible gifts, too.
If you’re based in Northern Ireland, you might want to think about checking out Forestside Cooking School, which is located on the outskirts of Belfast city centre. This cookery centre has an incredibly varied range of classes, so whatever your skill level or taste preferences, you’ll hopefully be able to find a cooking class that appeals to you.
If you’re interested in improving your baking skills, you may want to attend the Traditional Irish Bread course, where you’ll learn to make authentically Irish loaves like wheaten bread, farls and fruit loaves. If you’re interested in baking but have more of a sweet tooth, then why not try Forestside’s Amazing Donuts class, where you’ll learn how to bake mouthwatering cakes, tarts, buns and scones?
If you’d prefer to focus on foreign cuisine, there’s just as much choice. Courses coming up include the Tapas Masterclass, where you’ll learn about the different regions of Spain and be taught how to prepare dishes like calamares fritos with roasted garlic aioli, and pan con tomato with fried quails egg and sardines.
Or why not try the Asian Street Foods course, where you’ll learn to make tasty treats from China, Thailand, Japan, Cambodia, and Vietnam, including salt and chilli squid, Thai lime & coriander dressing, and a Korean rice bowl?
And finally, if you’re not sure you’d like to attend an in-person cooking class – or you can’t find a class you like in a location near you – what about attending an online cooking class? During lockdown online cooking classes became all the rage, and just because restrictions have been lifted now, that doesn’t mean we still can’t take advantage of how accessible these classes are.
Why not have a look at some of Jamie Oliver’s online cooking classes? When it comes to cooking, Jamie is known for his versatility and approachability outlook, and his online cookery classes are no different. You can choose online cooking classes where you learn to make a specific meal, or classes where you delve into a specific cuisine, and there’s hopefully a class that’ll get everyone excited, whatever type of food you’re into.
Fans of Italian food might be interested in joining Jamie’s Pasta Master class, where you’ll learn to make fresh pasta in a variety of shapes – from pappardelle sheets to farfalle – or the Italian Favourites class, where you’ll learn how to make the ultimate Italian soul food. If you love Mexican food, why not try Jamie’s Mexican Street Food class, where you’ll be shown how to make delicious handmade tortillas? Alternatively, you might prefer the Taste of Sushi class, which gives you a crash course in the basics of sushi making.
Improving your cooking technique and learning to prepare delicious new dishes is a hugely rewarding and enjoyable way to spend your leisure time. Cooking has many powerful benefits: it’s thereurpetic, relaxing, and an expression of love – and now that we can see loved ones again, there’s never been a better time to host a dinner party and impress your friends with your newly acquired cooking skills.
While we might not be able to jet off to an international destination just yet, by using a bit of culinary creativity, we can still transport ourselves to an exotic location and enjoy the fragrant flavours of our favourite foreign cuisines.
Have you attended any cooking classes recently – or are you tempted by any of our suggestions? We’d love to hear about your culinary adventures! Join the conversation on the food and drink section of the community forum, or leave us a comment below.