Cookery School at Little Portland Street

Cookery School at Little Portland Street
••• © Laura Porter, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Most of us would like toimprove our cookery skills so why not book a class with The Cookery School next time you're in London? There are day and evening classes with a wide choice of topics from knife skills or chocolate making, to Mexican, Indian or Thai cuisine.

For those based in London, there are courses lasting six weeks (one evening each week) or even three full day courses to really get you focused.

And there's a class or course for everyone from beginner to intermediate and advanced levels.

About The Cookery School

 

The Cookery School was founded over ten years ago by Rosalind Rathouse who was a professional cook before setting up the school to teach both adults and children. All of the recipes are designed to be recreated at home and some have been family recipes from Rosalind's mother and even her grandmother.

The teachers here want the students to gain confidence with their cookery skills so there is lots of demystifying of cookery techniques and jargon, and asking questions is encouraged. From an easy to follow demonstration at the start, most of the learning is very 'hands-on' as you create the meals with the chef circulating to help all in the classroom.

While the teaching style is informal at The Cookery School, all teachers have both the expert cookery skills you would expert and the teaching skills to know how to impart knowledge.

Students work in pairs or in small groups so no-one is left unsupported. At the end of the class everyone comes together to taste the dishes and maybe enjoy an accompanying glass of wine.

Sustainability

As well as offering courses on cooking sustainably, The Cookery School only uses organic meat, poultry, eggs, root vegetables, fruit and wines, and over 75% of the ingredients are sourced locally.

The school also recycles all food waste, uses renewable energy in the kitchens and has a 'no plastics' policy by choosing 99% of their supplies in glass jars or tins. There is also no cling film (Saran Wrap) in the kitchens.

Perfect Cupcakes

I'd only heard good things about The Cookery School but the best way to really know about a place is to visit for myself so I tried a Perfect Cupcakes class with my young daughter.

We were welcomed by a member of staff and offered drinks before the lesson started. This was a good time to get to know the others on the course and find out our interests and hopes for the session.

The basement cookery classroom has plenty of lockers and coat hooks well away from the workstations and there was an apron ready for everyone with our name on.

The chef's demonstration workstation has a camera above and there's a screen on the classroom side of the counter so even if you can't get close to the demo you can still see exactly what's going on. Sometimes even being right next to the counter meant we couldn't see in the bowl but the camera has that angle so is worthwhile.

The ingredients were all weighed out and prepared for us in advance which is an excellent time-saver.

We also discussed the type of ingredients (I didn't know plain flour was better than self-raising flour for baking cakes - obviously with baking powder added) and the importance of room temperature butter for the creaming process.

I discovered how much less waste there is with a rubber spatula rather than a wooden spoon but my daughter also noticed that meant the opportunity to 'lick the bowl' was reduced too. I also found out an ice-cream scoop makes a great measure for adding the cake mixture to cake cases. I don't know why I hadn't thought of that before.

Clearly, I'm not going to give away all of the secrets from the course but I have tried cake making since and yes, my cakes have really improved. And my daughter and I are going to carry on practicing and having fun cooking together.

As our class ended with some pretty cakes to take home we were given boxes to pack them and got to try the chef's cakes from the range of recipes we were also given to take home.

Probably the only negative point would be that some of the recipes are in imperial measurements and some are in metric and some in US cups so some standardization would be appreciated. But all are easy to follow and we're working our way through them all.

We all got a goodie bag to take home too with magazines, some baking ingredients as well as the recipes and cookery tips cards. We really enjoyed our morning at The Cookery School as did the rest of the class, many of whom dashed off to John Lewis, as it's nearby, to buy ice-cream scoops for future cake baking sessions.

Address: Cookery School, 15b Little Portland Street, London W1W 8BW

Nearest Tube Station: Oxford Circus

Use Journey Planner to plan your route by public transport.

Tel: 020 7631 4590

Official Website: www.cookeryschool.co.uk

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