There are a lot of cookery schools out there, but which ones are worth your while? We bring you the very best around. Just click through our gallery to discover them...
By Olivia Gordon
In the heart of the idyllic Gloucestershire Cotswolds, this rustic cooking school focuses on the essential skills and techniques of sourcing and preparing food, from rediscovering forgotten skills like cheese-making, to getting the best flavours using home-grown vegetables. One-day classes range from Breadmakingto Pickle, Preserve and Pot, classes on Vietnamese, French and Italian cooking - plus children's courses and a seasonal foraging expedition.
The French patisserie PAUL is one of our high street favourites, so we're excited to discover it now offers a bread-making masterclass where you can learn from top bakers how to bake different kinds of PAUL bread, including the traditional baguette. Classes take place on Monday evenings and Tuesday afternoons at the Covent Garden, London bakery. After fashioning your bread you can enjoy refreshments and then take your fresh warm bread home.
This well-known cookery school, which has been running since 1987, offers a smorgasbord of one-day classes, including Seasonal Scottish Cooking, Entertaining with Style , Mastering Sauces, Italian Autumn Cookery, Game Cookery, and South American Cookery. A popular women-only course is the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Day, which combines making a seasonal three-course meal with a champagne tasting master class - we'll drink to that!
This west London cookery school focusing on exotic flavours has a mouth-watering range of classes. Chef Angela Malik leads an in-depth selection of courses on Indian cooking (including The Perfect Indian Dinner, Perfect Indian Breads, Perfect Indian Chicken Curry and Indian Street Starters) as well as a host of others with an emphasis on Thai and Vietnamese cooking. With an on-site deli in the school, it's a pleasure to stock up on handmade spice blends and chutneys, too.
This London cookery school, famous for its professional chef training ,has an incredible range of one-day courses for home cooks. Classes with celebrity guest chefs include Anjum Anand's ,Easy Indian Entertaining and Rachel Khoo's Tour De France. Theres also Malaysian Street Food; Flavours of the Pacific Rim; Pasta, Pasta, Pasta and a Soufflés Workshop. Be sure to book quickly as courses sell out weeks in advance.
Located at famous restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Oxfordshire, the Raymond Blanc Cookery School is the only cook school in the world offering the chance to watch, learn and practise in the kitchens of a two Michelin-starred restaurant. Budding chefs can learn the tricks of the trade from some of the worlds culinary experts - and if you're lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of Monsieur Blanc himself. Highlights from the range of one-day courses include the Seasonal dinner party class, Let's Cook! three-hour workshops which teach you the skills of Le Manoir, and the Patisserie and Desserts course, led by a pastry chef. Bon appetit!
Famous chef Rick Stein's Cornwall cookery school covers every aspect of seafood cookery. 'Almost without realising it, you will cover it all, from filleting a plaice to stir-frying squid, and from braising brill to steaming sea bass,' promises the man himself. The most popular course is the Original Fish and Shellfish Cookery Class, suitable for those new to cooking fish and seasoned seafood enthusiasts alike. The new Indian Street Food course is also proving popular, teaching how to cook some of the delectable dishes showcased in the recent BBC2 series Rick Stein's India.
If you want to learn how to decorate cupcakes, Splat (which has branches in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, Silverstone and across Wiltshire) is the school for you. Here you can take classes in every aspect of cupcake baking and decoration, as well as the art of baking wedding favours. There are also classes in skills from making fondant fancies to Thai cookery, plus a Saturday morning children's cooking club and mini chef classes for children and toddlers.
Run in a house in London, this award-winning cookery school runs eight course types: Fish and Seafood (you might make stuffed Goan mackerel, dressed prawns with garlic aioli, pan fried bream with creamed spinach or bream goujons with tartar sauce); Thai; Moroccan; Southern Indian; Italian; Spanish, Vietnamese, and, last but not least, the Stress-free Dinner Party course, focusing on gastropub-style food which can be prepared in advance, leaving you free to mingle with your guests.
In the heart of Dorset, The Olive Tree is a family-run school founded by Sicilian-trained chef Giuseppe Sinaguglia, formerly head chef at the first Carluccio's. They run a variety of delectable Italian courses including Sicilian Cooking; Fresh Pasta; Pizza & Breads; and An Italian Christmas. Truly buonissimo.
Deep in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, this cookery school is part of the Soil Association Organic Farm School (www.soilassociation.org/farmschool.aspx), and teaches everything there is to know about wholesome, well-sourced food and traditional artisan techniques, like bread-making, cheese-making, brewing, curing and smoking, and preserving. Some of the inspiring courses coming up include introductions to artisan bread-making, cider-making, and cooking healthy food for toddlers.
With two branches in London, Divertimenti caters to all levels and abilities and runs a wonderfully diverse selection of one-day courses including the Chef's Table courses in which you learn directly from a variety of leading chefs; Japanese Home Cooking; AGA - The Beginner's Guide; Arabesque Persian Cuisine and pie-making in the Nice as Pie course.
A team of top UK restaurant, cookery school and TV chefs teach everything from honing your knife skills to creating the perfect Michelin-star style dinner party at this north London school run by the famous supermarket. There are scores of authoritative courses on offer ranging from £45 through to £225. Choose from 'The Perfect Steak'; 'The Perfect Cupcakes'; and 'Simply Spanish' - plus many more.
Winner of the UK Cookery School 2012 award for the best day course, this Suffolk coast-based school aims to educate its students about where food comes from. On the flagship 'Seafood in a Day' course, you will head out on a boat to catch lobster, crab and other shellfish. Back at artisan restaurant Pinney's, you'll learn how to shuck the oysters and carve smoked salmon. There are also one-day coastal foraging safaris where you learn how to find and prepare wild foods like samphire.
From sourdough to gluten-free bread-making, this North Shields school teaches all you need to know about baking your own bread. Classes are led by artisan baker Ann Cudworth, who promises a warm welcome and hands-on fun.
Run in partnership with Michel Roux Jr, and by the TV producers behind Saturday Kitchen among other hit cookery shows, this central London school runs some tantalising cookery workshops. You can visit the Saturday Kitchen set and watch a chef demonstration; or try the 'Monica Galetti Experience', where you learn to cook directly from the favourite Masterchef judge.
Vivek Singh, executive chef at The Cinnamon Club, Cinnamon Kitchen & Cinnamon Soho, and author of four cookbooks, runs regular sell-out master classes in Indian cookery at his City-based restaurant. From 'South Indian Cooking' to 'Curry - Traditional and Contemporary' to 'Bengali Wedding Feast', there's a mouthwatering choice of courses.
Winner of the Best English Cookery School Award for 2012, among other awards, this Devon cookery school offers more than 40 courses. The most popular one-day classes are 'Dinner Parties' - focusing on quick and easy dishes presented to a high standard; 'Patisserie', and 'Authentic Indian'. If that whets your appetite, stay on for a cookery holiday - there are guest rooms on site.
The Cordon Vert School in Cheshire, run by the Vegetarian Society, is the world's premier vegetarian cookery school. Specialist tutors teach the many aspects of vegetarian cookery. Among the most loved courses are the 'Flavours Of... 'series, which ranges from 'Flavours of America' (on which youll learn how to make Gumbom Key Lime Pie and other American specialities), to the new 'Flavours of the Caribbean' course, on which youll cook up delights including Pepperpot Stew, Oil Down and Jamaican Ackee.
If you want to learn the art of oriental cuisine, this central London school is a must. Covering Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Japanese and Thai cookery, courses include 'Introduction to Dim Sum', 'and 'Quick Fire Wok', where you'll master stir-fry classics like Singapore noodles and crispy chilli beef.