A new book, London for Foodies, Gourmets and Gluttons, has just been released by Survival Books listing the best coffee shops, cafés, markets, restaurants and cookery classes for people in London who really like food. Here we share 10 of the authors’ (David Hampshire & Graeme Chesters) top local cookery schools in London, and throw in a few of our favourites too…
1 Cactus Kitchens, Clapham
Run in partnership with Michel Roux Jr and the producers of BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and other hit cookery shows, Cactus Kitchens offers an array of unique and intimate cookery classes and workshops with Michel, his protégés and some of the nation’s top chefs.Classes include ‘A Taste of Saturday Kitchen’, where you experience all the elements of the hit show in a fun-packed afternoon, and the ‘Monica Galetti Experience’, which brings you face to face with the formidable judge from MasterChef: the Professionals. The ‘Michel Roux Jr Premier Experience’ gives you a whole day with the 2-Michelin-starred chef – a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Cactus Studios, 1 St Luke’s Avenue SW4 7LG; cactuskitchens. co.uk
2 The Avenue Cookery School, Wandsworth
The Avenue Cookery School in Wandsworth is run by a ‘bevy of blondes’ – all qualified and experienced cooks – who teach a wide range of cookery courses in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Courses cater for everyone from beginners to experienced cooks, particularly teenagers, undergraduates and gap-year students, with full-time, part-time and evening courses. The school also stages themed cooking days and evenings, including some exclusively for men who prefer not to embarrass themselves in front of the ladies! You can even design your own course for a group of friends or colleagues.
3 Enterprise Way, Wandsworth SW18 1FZ; theavenuecookeryschool.com
3 The Angela Malik Cook School, Acton
After training at Leiths School of Food & Wine (see page 108) and gaining experience at Bibendum, Vong and with chef Tom Kime, Angela Malik founded her cookery school in 2009 with the aim of demystifying Asian cuisine. There’s an emphasis on Indian food (there are classes entitled Perfect Indian Breads, Perfect Indian Chicken Curry and Indian Street Starters) as well as Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese cuisines. Beginners are catered for and there are masterclass courses for more experienced cooks. The school also has a deli where you can stock up on hand-made spice blends and chutneys.
6 Churchfield Road W3 6EG; angelamalik.co.uk
4 Bake With Maria, Hampstead
Bake with Maria is run by passionate home baker Maria Mayerhofer, who started out teaching bread making classes at home that proved so popular she established The Baking Lab in 2011. Maria offers a unique programme of baking courses and baking-related experiences for everyone, presented by a team of professional pastry chefs and bakers. There are classes devoted to all types of bread – including a beginners’ class and courses dedicated to brioches, French and Italian bread and sourdough – as well as a tasty menu of cake and pastry-making classes covering cupcakes, macarons, French croissants and more. There are even classes for young bakers.
The Baking Lab, 81 Loudoun Road NW8 0DQ; bakewithmaria.com
5 Blackheath Cooks, Blackheath
Blackheath Cooks is an innovative modern cook shop and cookery school owned and run by Amanda Keyzers. The custom-built school hosts a wide variety of courses and events for cooks of all abilities and ages, including after-school clubs and holiday workshops for 4-11 year olds (‘munchkins’), and courses aimed at teens and students. Adult courses cover a broad range of culinary skills and styles, which include back-to-basics, skills classes (knife, pasta making, meats and marinades, etc.), baking, and Indian and pan-Asian cooking.Blackheath Cooks also hosts pop-up dinner parties and caters for private parties.
13 Old Dover Road, Blackheath SE3 7BT; blackheathcooks.com
The Resident’s picks…
6 Old Town Cooks, everywhere
After working with the Gordon Ramsay Group for five years, chef Chris Jarman set up his own project, teaching Londoners how to cook. His bespoke cookery school on wheels, Old Town Cooks, will come to your home or business to give cooking classes. Aiming to deliver fun and relaxing lessons, the classes can be tailored to your needs – beginners to experts, or Chris can help you whip up an impressive three-course dinner party and disappear before the guests arrive. Classes will can be taught one-on-one or for groups of up to eight people making this a fun option for parties and events.
Call Chris on 07729 968 704, email firstname.lastname@example.org or see oldtowncooks.com
7 Gluten-free masterclasses at Cantina Del Ponte, London Bridge
This spring, Cantina del Ponte will be hosting gluten-free cooking masterclasses, designed for those looking to master the art of gluten-free cooking. Launching on Saturday 14 March, the course is divided into two parts, with the second session taking place on Saturday 18 April. The masterclasses will be a joint collaboration between nutritionist Stephanie Seege and Cantina del Ponte’s head chef Marco Goldin. The course is priced at £40 per person and includes a gluten-free lunch following each session and using all the ingredients and food produced in the class. Cantina Del Ponte, 36c Shad Thames SE1 2YE; cantinadelponte.co.uk
8 Divertimenti Cookery School, Knightsbridge
Divertimenti’s classes either take place in a beautifully-designed cookery theatre equipped with the kind of appliances you wish your kitchen had, or around the La Cornue cookery island. Divertimenti brings in some of London’s top chefs for themed events that range from Thai to Tuscan. This month sees the team behind Pizza Pilgrims spinning their dough, tapas tips from Tapas Revolution’s Omar Allibhoy, as well as knife skills and how to cook up a perfect Easter lunch on the event schedule. In each class, students receive copies of the recipes, tastings of the dishes and a 10% discount for shopping afterwards. Demonstration classes take up to 16 people or smaller groups of up to 9 for hands-on lessons. There’s also the option to host your own private cookery lesson for events.
227-229 Brompton Road SW3 2EP; divertimenti.co.uk
9 Leith’s School of Food and Wine, Stamford Brook
Leith’s is probably the smartest cookery school in London, frequented by the capital’s movers, shakers, money makers and, last summer, the Duchess of Cambridge. Leith’s runs professional courses, as well as those for amateurs. Its other famous alumni include Lorraine Pascale, Polpo’s Florence Knight and Gizzi Erskine. Evening courses in food styling, simple suppers and food writing sit alongside lessons in how to make ceviche, Indian or Italian food. There are also longer courses that run for two to four days for cooking enthusiasts and tastings and demonstrations, such as food and wine pairing.
16-20 Wendell Road W12 9RT; leiths.com
10 Busaba Eathai Thai Cookery Lessons, St James’s
Thai restaurant chain Busaba Eathai is opening the kitchen doors of its Panton Street branch on Sunday mornings for inquisitive diners to see what goes on behind the scenes. During the sessions, Chef Hesham and wok-master Sasi will share their culinary skills and insider tips to small groups. Students will learn about the interplay of flavours in Thai cuisine and how to make three Busaba dishes. After the food is prepared, guests will dine in the restaurant, from there, the chefs will lead the group on a walking tour to Chinatown, where they demonstrate how to select the best ingredients so the dishes can be recreated at home. Lessons cost £45 per person.
35 Panton Street SW1Y 4EA; busaba.com/classes
To buy London for Foodies, Gourmets and Gluttons, visit londons-secrets.com