Usually when looking for some cooking guidance I’ll work my way through the jungle of food related videos on Youtube. I’ll end up wasting an hour watching Japanese sushi masters cut fish with a hypnotic ease, multiple reviews on the world’s most expensive pizza (black squid ink dough, truffle, caviar and 24 karat gold leaf shavings for $2000) and fall down the wormhole of the countless YouTube chefs making videos for views sake and not foods sake: see, ‘I made a giant 30 pound burger/doughnut/100 egg omelette’ and anything beginning with ‘Unicorn’. When it comes to improving your cooking, the internet can only take you so far.
Fortunately London, being one of the great culinary centres and cultural melting pots of the world, has a wide range of cookery classes and experiences that would raise anyone’s game. So whether you consider yourself an expert with a few dishes that border on perfection or you’re surviving off Deliveroo, having never evolved from younger days of eating pasta straight out the pan, spice up your skills with some of the best cookery classes London has to offer.
Café Murano Pastificio Pasta Masterclass
If you’re going to learn how to make fresh pasta why not learn form the best? Attached to Michelin starred chef Angela Hartnett’s Café Murano in Covent garden, is Pastificio. An Italian deli, café, wine shop and pasta factory, and home of a pasta making workshop. Currently on once a month (twice a month in 2020) the 90 minute class is a crash course in making fresh egg pasta from scratch. In the class you learn how to perfect pasta dough, create a divine lemon and ricotta filling and roll three different types of pasta – farfalle, tagliatelle and tortelli. Making pasta surrounded by wines from Piedmont and wheels of parmigiano, you’ll never feel more Italian.
Along with your pasta you get given a fresh tomato sauce to take home and a little recipe card for the next attempt. With the average price of a cookery class in London being around the £100 mark, this class at £50 is a real steal.
Bread Ahead Bakery
Started in 2014 the Bread Ahead Bakery school now has its own cookbook and two outposts in London. All about artisanal baking, classes are open to everyone no matter your skill level and range across the spectrum from Doughnuts to Great British baking, Middle Eastern flatbreads and gluten free bakes. The bakery is not just a school but also a working bakery. Meaning that all the ovens and ingredients being used in the class also get used by professional bakers, which along with a white apron, helps make you feel like a professional too. Small classes get led by experienced course leaders, with their main aim to salvage any sugar frosted doughnut missteps and help you leave with the confidence to recreate what you did on the day at home.
Classes start at £90 per person and are based either in Borough Market or Chelsea.
Cinnamon Collection Cooker Masterclasses
For a in depth dive into Indian food, the Cinnamon Collection, the group behind restaurants like the Cinnamon Club, Cinnamon Kitchen and Anise, do one masterclass every month that’s not to be missed. If you’re a fan of Indian food or have a foodie in your life who is, these classes although a little more expensive than the average are worth it.
Take a tour through Vivek Singh’s kitchen and learn first-hand the best traditional and modern techniques for Indian cooking from the chefs behind some of London’s best Indian restaurants. The next upcoming class is on festival feasts and mastering the taste and textures of the Thali, with the new year masterclass starting off with winter warming curries including rustic Rajasthani and Delhi style chicken. The masterclasses do not only involve cooking but also a three course lunch, a goodie bag with a signed cookery book and herbs and spices so you can recreate the dishes you learn to make at home.
Make sure to get in early as the spaces in these classes book out fast. Classes are £225
School of Wok
‘Let Us Wok You World’ is the tagline of this Asian cooking school, and everyone who shows up at a class is here for it. Europe’s only award winning Asian and oriental cookery school, the School of Wok, has grown from visiting people in their own kitchens to becoming one of London’s’ favourite culinary colleges. Based in Covent Garden, classes that don’t last all day are all set in the evening from six onwards to accommodate those coming out of work. All have an emphasis on fun and a laid back vibe that can be missing in other places where you’d begin to have a nervous sweat if you didn’t roll your sushi right. The east Asian focus on food includes Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and Thai, with workshops on Bao, Sushi, Dim Sum and even a full day’s class on ‘take-away classics’. The School Of Wok knows their audience.
Classes usually start from £99.
Learn how to create and ‘spin’ some of confectionaries most iconic sweets at Spun Candy. Heaven for those with a sweet tooth, children and grandparents who so innocently fuel a sugar rush, Spun Candy specialises in all things candy craft.
After a welcome drink and demonstration on how candy is cooked, you can get hands-on making multi-coloured lollipops with giant swirls, cute candy flowers or even creating a hand sized candy replica of yourself (or your pet).
With classes on every day, and two time slots specifically for families with children, Spun Candy is a colourful and fun 60 minutes that aside from the rush of it all, shows off the art and science behind candy making. Alongside your creations you also leave with a certificate of Candy Making Excellence. What’s not to love?
Class price varies.
Leiths School of Food and Wine Classes:
If you can’t find what you’re looking for you haven’t yet checked Leiths School of Food and Wine. A School that is renowned for professional courses for career cooks, as well as hosting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for a two week cooking masterclass, they also have an abundance of single classes. With everything from dietary requirement cooking – aka dairy and gluten free – to a full on meat masterclass, and knife skills. Leiths has everything. Set in professional style kitchens with top of the range equipment, at first a class at Leiths can feel a little serious. The edge is taken off by the emphasis on the collectiveness of cooking and classes structured around creating and enjoying what you make with your classmates. Ultimately, of course, with the aim of leaving you more confident to bring everyone together round the table with dishes you can now confidently create.
Honourable mention: The Raymond Blanc Cookery School
Although based in Oxford, at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Raymond Blanc’s Cookery school deserves an honourable mention. Aside from the usual classes, including ‘The Magic of Macaron’ and Blanc Vite (simple seasonal dishes). The chef and his team have also built up La Petite Ecole. Where budding cooks learn not only the basics of cooking, but also the necessity for fresh produce, the low down on how to prepare it and the importance of healthy food. The youngest class the school offers is the adult and child (7-12 years) class, which is said to include a short lesson on the difference between olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. After all we’ve all got to start somewhere.