Ten of the Best Culinary Schools
From express 30 minute lessons to week long extravaganza’s with some of Europe’s most reputable chefs, there is a cookery school to suit all ages, abilities and budgets. Michelin-starred chef, Gualtiero Marchesi is one of Italy’s most renowned chefs, largely regarded as transforming Italian cooking into an art form.
Gualtiero Marchesi’s Gourmet Cookery School in Erbusco, Italy
His culinary school offers students the opportunity to discover his techniques, sample his gastronomic delights and watch the ‘Maestro’ at work. Cookery courses run for three days during March, August and November and include two guided tours of local vineyards, accommodation, breakfast, lunch and three dinners.
Surrounded by rolling hills and overlooking the vineyards of Franciacorta, the 5* L’Albereta Hotel also offers luxurious accommodation with unrivaled views and a spa. The tranquil setting feels much further away from the popular towns of Bergamo and Brescia, which are both within a 30 minute drive.
Jean Christophe Novelli Cookery Courses in Hertfordshire, England
Join Jean Christophe Novelli or one of his resident chefs at his home in Hertfordshire for an award-winning cooking courses. Every month, Novelli offers budding chefs or clumsy cooks the opportunity to master different dishes and culinary techniques. One or two day courses range from bread-making to seasonal dishes and seafood.
All courses require a minimum of 10 students and prices, for one day, start from around ?150.
Ballyknocken Cookery School in Wicklow, Ireland
Situated within the peaceful setting of County Wicklow, just south of Dublin, chef Catherine Fulvio invites students to re-create modern Irish dishes or Southern Italian specialities (her husband is Sicilian) with locally sourced ingredients. From €169 per person, award-winning accommodation at the Ballyknocken Hotel is included in the course price.
Nick Nairn Cook School in Stirling, Scotland
Located in a converted piggery in Trossachs National Park, sourcing organic herbs and vegetables from his wife’s kitchen garden, Nick Nairn hosts courses to suit every level of culinary experience. A one day course with the man himself starts from ?295. Alternatively, budding chefs can take tips from resident chef, John Webber, from ?165.
Classes include Simple Italian, Easy Entertaining, Scottish, Thai and Indian Cookery.
Casa Ombuto in Tuscany, Italy
50km of Florence surrounded by the breathtaking hills of the Casentino valley, the Tuscan villa Casa Ombuto has been successfully running cookery courses for 10 years.
During the week-long stay at this beautiful villa, students spend four days re-creating Tuscan specialities or trying their hand at French, Spanish and Moroccan cuisine. Three days are set aside for sightseeing and visits to, amongst other places, salami factories, vineyards and goat cheese farms. Its sister cookery school, Torre del Tartufo (Truffle Tower), is close to Arezzo.
Casa Azahar in Granada, Spain
With a maximum of eight students per lesson, Casa Azahar offers a tailored and intimate cookery and wine school within a spectacular Spanish setting. Students are invited to prepare Mediterranean, Spehardic and Mozarabic dishes created from locally grown ingredients. Other cookery classes concentrate on Seafood and Breadmaking.
Courses run from November to April. Casa Azahar also runs classes which focus on wine, cheese and sherry.
Ashburton Cookery School in Devon, England
Offering over 40 courses, this Devonshire-based, award-winning cookery school is ideal for novice and experienced cooks alike. From one day courses to 20 day diploma’s, the professional tutor chefs take students through basic cooking techniques, food handling and knife handling in addition to five hours hands-on tuition. Some of the many courses available include breadmaking, desserts, fish and seafood. One day courses start from ?189. B&B accommodation within the Cookery School grounds can be arranged for students.
L’Atelier des Chefs in strong> London, England
For budding chefs with no time, L’Atelier des Chefs in London’s West End offers courses which run from just half an hour (Cook, East and Run), and cost from just?18, six days a week. Students of all ages and abilities are invited to eat their new dishes on the premises or take them back to the office!
Other classes include the Take Away Class (36), Grande Cuisine Masterclass (?144) and Dinner in An Hour (?36). Students normally need to book at least 28 days in advance.
Fishworks Cookery School in Richmond England
Seafood lovers can learn how to buy, prepare and cook fish at Mitchell Tonk’s FishWorks Cookery School in Richmond. The day is designed for students of all abilities, with tips and advice on techniques and professional guidance on how to re-create some of the restaurant’s delicious dishes. All day ‘Cook the FishWorks Menu’ courses run on Saturdays from 10am – 5pm for ?225.
Walnut Grove Cookery Course in Loire Valley, France
In addition to its magnificent surroundings in the Loire Valley, Walnut Grove offers one of the best cookery courses in France. Hosts Maynard Harvey and Benedict Haines offer advice, tips and lessons in understanding flavours, ingredients and techniques aswell as providing guidance in re-creating their dishes. After daily hands-on classes, students can enjoy their own gastronomic delights every evening for dinner. Visits to windmills and fromageries, to understand how some of the ingredients are made, are also included in the timetable.
An advanced five day course for more competent chefs is also available, which includes and afternoon with a sommelier. Courses run from March to October and prices start from €1595 per person.