Ever eaten something and thought it tasted too good to be healthy? Or wanted to recreate your favourite dish on a restaurant menu? A new wave of cookery classes is on the rise, designed to help us construct meals out of healthy ingredients that taste amazing – as well as indulge when we so desire. Rosie rounds up some of the best healthy cookery courses in the UK.
Not only does this gem of a cookery school host a diverse spectrum of classes, from French breakfast pastries to Dim Sum and everything in between, it is also London’s most sustainable cookery school, sourcing organically wherever possible and operating a plastic-free policy: there’s even a class on ‘Waste Matters’ focused on how we can reduce food waste and at the same time save money. Their Healthy Eating class teaches how to make good, wholesome, filling food that is healthy without sacrificing on taste, such as wild mushroom barley risotto and seasonable vegetable frittatas, as well as fruit crumbles for dessert.
They also run an Eating Deliciously for a Healthy Gut class that includes making Jerusalem artichoke soup, kimchi, salads with kefir dressings, and and a sublime chocolate olive oil mousse. The class is run by a registered Nutritional Therapist, which makes it the perfect opportunity to ask questions related to your gut health and digestion.
Do this if you dare: Bread Ahead’s infamous doughnuts are dangerously addictive, and their Ultimate Doughnut Experience gives you 90 minutes with Matthew Jones, owner and founder of Bread Ahead, who personally guides you through the various stages to create these legendary sweet treats. As well as devouring your creations, attendees receive a box of four doughnuts to take home – if they survive the journey, that is – and a signed copy of the Bread Ahead recipe book, ‘Bakery School’, allowing you to expand your repertoire into bread, brownies and other bakes. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. For those who have less of a sweet tooth, there are courses in sourdough, pizza, New York pretzels and bagels and Italian and French breads that run from a half-day introduction through to a full three-day experience.
If you’ve ever given or received one of Biscuiteers’ exquisite themed biscuits, you’ll understand how much excitement they spark – and now their Icing Cafes are offering the chance to learn how to recreate them for yourself.
They offer various classes to cater to different levels of commitment, from two-hour Icing Lessons, to prosecco-fuelled Icing Lates, and a DIY Icing Café for those who are mainly in it to devour the finished product at the first opportunity. They even do hen parties where you can be as creative as you like with your biscuit and icing design – just remember it’s you who has to eat it at the end…
Executive Chef Vivek Singh, the mastermind behind the menus at Cinnamon Collection restaurants, opens the doors to his kitchen once a month for his Cookery Masterclasses. Each Masterclass has a different focus, from classic and contemporary curries to tandoor BBQ and breads.
In March, the festival of Holi takes centre stage with a snacks and street food special masterclass as well as a series of Play Holi sessions where you can experience the paint-throwing festivities that mark the Indian festival of colour. Tickets to a Play Holi session cost £22 and include a selection of traditional Holi bites and colourful cocktails, or if you’re not in the mood to get covered in paint, there’s a special Holi Menu available between 6 and 21 March – we love the vegan options, such as sticky-sweet grilled aubergine with sesame tamarind and peanut alongside Punjabi chickpea curry and fluffy tandoori rotis for dipping. At £35 for four courses, it’ll hardly break the bank either.
Divertimenti’s cookery classes and courses are hosted by carefully selected, well-known experts in their respective fields, from plant-based Mediterranean with Marcia Barrington, to Indian-inspired vegan with Ravinder Bhogal, to Tortellini at Midnight with Emiko Davies. Additionally, there are ‘Intensive Skills’ courses such as knife skills and ‘Cooking with Confidence’ classes, designed to equip you with a broad range of cooking skills to impress guests.
If you’re not quite ready to commit, their ‘Demonstration’ classes are a great way to watch and learn from a master taking you step-by-step through an array of dishes – with generous tastings, of course. Louise Avery of LA Brewery is hosting a Masterclass in Kombucha session on 20 March, where attendees will will receive a brewing kit and begin their first brew during the demonstration with Louise’s guidance – the perfect way to kickstart a healthy habit.
If you’re in the mood to escape London for a wholesome weekend and learn to cook some delicious, nourishing food at the same time, look no further than Daylesford’s Cookery School in Gloucestershire.
Housed in a beautifully restored stone barn and surrounded by stunning Cotswold countryside and 2350 acres of working farmland from which ingredients are sourced, it’s the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of city life. There’s a whole host of wellbeing-themed classes, from Feed Your Body & Mind to Eat To Be Healthy, but our favourite is the B Balanced day, created in conjunction with the Bamford Haybarn Spa.
The day begins with a 90-minute yoga class in the Haybarn’s beautiful loft studio, followed by lunch and a three-hour cookery workshop at the Cookery School, and ends with a 45-minute deep tissue massage in the sublime spa: the perfect way to nourish mind, body, soul and stomach.
The Avenue celebrates cooking as it should be: a family affair that puts enjoyment at the forefront of everything they do. Run by Head Chef Diana and her children, we love the down-to-earth, inclusive nature of this school: classes even include unlimited booze, should you so desire.
There’s a class for everyone, from Vegan Mexican Street Food to Sushi Making & Cocktail Shaking, Sexy Salads to James Bond canapes and even a 90s Hip-Hop Cookery Class (accompanied with Smirnoff Ice, WKD and Lambrini, of course). For the more serious aspiring chefs, there are week-long intensive courses to sharpen your skills or get you ready for university – which makes a much more useful present than a toastie maker for anyone who is uni-bound…
The Plant Hub is a brand new plant-based cookery academy and café in East London, created to inspire true community, food knowledge and forward-thinking education with guest chefs, seasonal classes and community inspired leaders. With both weekend and weekday classes, The Plant Academy will be offering classes from fermentation, nut cheeses, food styling workshops through to decadent raw desserts and more.
But that’s not all – they have regular supper-clubs hosted by a wide variety of foodie brands and pop-up events to get your toes tapping, your mouth watering and your mind thinking. And with their brand new Plant-Based courses Plant One, Plant Two and Plant Three launching in May 2019, they will give you everything you need to learn the basics of plant-based eating with techniques, recipes and tips and tricks from those at the forefront of the industry – it’s definitely not one to miss.
Main photo: Bread Ahead Bakery
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