From absolute beginners to serious foodies and even children, these fabulous cookery schools in Cornwall cater to every taste.
Fat Hen: The Wild Cookery School, Penzance
Get back to nature with this wild and rugged cookery school where you can improve your kitchen skills while enjoying time in the beautiful Cornish countryside. The Gourmet Wild Food Weekends (£195) take you from hedgerow to plate, with a foraging session to gather ingredients as well as cooking demos and hands on teaching sessions, not to mention a wild feast with hedgerow cocktails round the fire.
There’s also a one day Game Cookery course (£125), delivered by Mark Devonshire, former head tutor at Rick Stein Seafood Cookery School, where you can learn to butcher a rabbit, pluck and draw a game bird, make a traditional game pie. Or why not try the Wild Food Cycling Day (£95), which includes four hours cycling and foraging before learning to cook something like seaweed poached mackerel or sea buckthorn berry cakes.
Philleigh Way, Truro
Run by brothers-in-law James Martin and chef George Pascoe, the philosophy of this cookery school is based on local food and recipes handed down over the generations. There’s a real range of courses, with taster sessions starting at around £60 and including things like ‘filled pasta’ and ‘hot smoking at home’.
If you want something a little bit more in-depth, there are full day workshops such as game or fish cookery (£150 each), where you’ll get a combination of demonstrations and practical sessions. For a real local experience, try the Cornwall in a Day course (£135) where you’ll learn to make dishes such as dressed crab and Cornish pasty.
James and George have great connections with local experts, who are often invited in to run a course – like Pig in a Day (£145), with tutor Gavin Roberts, owner of he Kernow Sausage Company. There are also bushcraft and foraging courses available if you want to indulge your wild side.
Padstow Seafood School, Padstow
If you really want to learn about cooking seafood, you should probably head to Rick Stein’s Padstow Seafood School. Here head chef lecturer Mark Puckey will teach you the techniques the professionals use, as well as recipes that will make your mouth water. And it’s not just seafood on offer – courses here include everything from Far Eastern to Italian, Indian street food and Spanish tapas.
There’s a real range of options depending on how much time and budget you have available too. You could learn to make a tarte tatin in an evening for £40, or stay for four days to do the Ultimate Fish and Seafood course (£780). For something in between, try the half day Fish and Shellfish course (£95), where you’ll learn techniques such as cleaning and cooking live clams, recipes like pan-fried fillet of monkfish with garlic and fennel – and get to eat everything you cook.
Duchy College, Stoke Climsland
As well as running a number of full and part-time foundation courses in collaboration with Plymouth University, Duchy College offers a series of short courses where you can learn to make everything from pasties and pies to sugar paste decorations under the expert guidance of professional tutors.
There are a range of courses available to suit everyone, with many ideal for day visitors with an interest in food. For example, for just £55 you can learn to make a range of sausages using traditional skills, with samples and recipes to take home at the end of the day.
Others would suit those looking to go more in-depth or even get into the food business, such as the three day practical cheese making course (£450), taught by local expert Liz Whitley, which will arm you with enough skill to produce cheese worth selling.
Little Kitchen Magicians, Redruth
If you’ve got a budding Jamie or Nigella in your family, make sure to check out the courses at this children’s cookery school, based near Redruth. Run by Lizzie Heath, who grew up on a local farm and is passionate about giving children the information to make good choices about food, they’re a great chance for families to spend quality time together and learn about health and nutrition.
As well as longer courses during the term time, Lizzie organises one off holiday workshops ideal for visitors to the area. Aimed mainly at youngsters aged two to 11, they usually run for two hours and cost around £14. Each workshop is themed to the season, so you could find yourself making fruit flower bouquets in spring, hot cross buns at Easter or samosas during Diwali.
The workshops usually take place at Heartlands, a converted mine that now houses a heritage site where you’ll botanical gardens and interactive exhibitions, as well as a cafe where you can relax while the kids get stuck into their cooking in the conservatory.
Know of more cookery schools in Cornwall? Let us know!
By Rin Hamburgh