Kitchens needn’t always be frantic places in which frazzled cooks stir up last-minute meals. They can also be soothing sanctuaries, relaxing spaces, where friends and family gather together to create feel-good food that nourishes the mind and feeds the soul.
With recent studies suggesting that preparing a home-cooked meal with our own bare hands can have positive effects on our wellbeing, we say there’s no time like the present to dig out the pots and pans, don the apron and get stuck in – whether at home or away.
THE COOKERY SCHOOL AT THE GRAND, YORK
Chic, striking, convivial… taking part in a cooking class at The Grand feels like a fun evening out with friends – with added good mood food! The 2,500 square-foot school is a brand new, state-of-the-art spot where foodies with a love of international cooking and flavours can rustle up mouthwatering meals and stir up plenty of positive vibes. Current culinary highlights include dedicated Curry Nights, Tasty Thai experiences and Around East Asia evenings, perfect for those who aren’t afraid of bit of spice, plus bread, pastry, pie and pasta-making classes for all abilities.
SWINTON PARK COOKERY SCHOOL, RIPON
If you’re in need of fresh, country air and sorry-there’s-no-signal time, then consider Swinton Park Cookery School – one of the most relaxing schools we’ve ever had the pleasure of cooking in. Those behind the dreamy open kitchen, housed in a converted Georgian stable wing opposite Swinton Park Hotel, are passionate about local, seasonal produce and so grab their produce right from the Swinton estate, which sits on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. The nearby four-acre walled garden provides a ready source of fresher-than-fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs for guests to cook with, while the wider estate offers the likes of venison, rabbit, smoked trout and game. The Cookery School runs a packed, but serene, programme of practical half-day and full-day classes, shining a light on everything from baking and dessert-making, to seafood masterclasses and South East Asian, Middle Eastern, Italian and French cooking.
FEATHERS INN COOKERY SCHOOL, STOCKSFIELD
Don’t let the classroom environment fool you! Run by a couple of chilled-out chefs who prefer to focus on simple, fuss-free ingredients and easy-to-make recipes, every class at Feathers Inn Cookery School is go-at-your-own-pace, deliciously laid-back and confidence- boosting. Learn how to get the most out of your meats and poultry, create timeless bakes for Sunday afternoons and special occasions, have a go at making a variety of breads, experiment with seasonal ingredients and dishes, or explore vegan and vegetarian cooking.
LINNELS FARM, HEXHAM
Cooking in the serene surroundings of Linnels Farm is always a treat. Lying just two miles south of Hexham, the pretty-as-a-picture site is nestled in 20 acres of sprawling meadows and woodland, rich with well-kept gardens, lush vegetable plots and gorgeous riverside walkways. The cookery school itself is a converted dairy, in which horticulturalist and gardening goddess, Karen Phillips, delivers chilled-out courses alongside well-known chef Andy Snell. Here you can do all sorts, from learning how to make your own chutneys and jams, prepare your own alfresco BBQ dishes for summer, master affordable one-pot wonders (great for students), grow your veg and rustle up ‘eggcellent’ suppers.
THE MALTON COOKERY SCHOOL, NORTH YORKSHIRE
Malton Cookery School brings the fun-factor, combining expert guidance with stylish, homely surroundings in which you’re free to get your hands dirty and learn a few tips and tricks along the way. The school specialises in game, seafood and baking, so go with what you fancy, but we’re quite partial to a bit of sweetness when it’s time to celebrate! Head to one of the school’s baking classes and create all kinds of yummy home comforts, from Yorkshire curd tart to fine French classics like macaroons and decadent chocolate fondant.
ARCHES COOKERY SCHOOL, NORTH YORK MOORS
It’s a family affair over at Arches Cookery School – and so you can bet the atmosphere is as welcoming and as cosy as can be. Sarah, who heads up all of Arches’ courses, is one joyous teacher, with a library of stories from her 20-something year career as a personal chef to the stars and her mouthwatering classes are as inviting as they get, inspired by her globetrotting adventures. Think gourmet entertaining, Thai masterclasses, sausage-making, easy suppers and Italian, Moroccan and North African cooking, as well as special Mr & Mrs Cook classes for couples. Cooking takes place in an old converted barn on Grinkle Farm, a charming working site owned by Sarah’s brother, Richard, and her mother grows all the veggies and herbs used in the classes.
THE GLASSHOUSE AT WYNYARD HALL, STOCKTON-ON-TEES
Throughout the year, lots of tasty, easy-going foodie classes take place within Wynyard’s glittering Glasshouse – most of which are inspired by what’s growing in the nearby edible garden. Retreat to this bright and airy space for lots of herbal tea and relaxing crash courses in pasta-making, cosy Christmas pud masterclasses and canapés and cocktails workshops.
BLACKFRIARS COOKERY SCHOOL, NEWCASTLE
Classes at Blackfriars are exciting and uplifting – perfect for groups of friends or work colleagues looking to let loose and have fun in the kitchen. Muddle your own cocktails with the help of master mixologists, make your own show-stopping canapés for your next dinner party, create your very own blistering-good pizzas at one the school’s renowned Pizza and Prosecco nights, learn how to temper chocolate and make soft-centred truffles in time for Valentine’s Day, or go head-to-head against other groups of chums as part of a Ready Steady Cook experience.
LOOK OUT FOR… LIFE KITCHEN COOKERY SCHOOL, SUNDERLAND
Sunderland-born food writer and stylist, Ryan Riley, has been taking the foodie world by storm with his new, heartfelt initiative, Life Kitchen, which helps people going through and recovering from cancer treatment fall in love with food again. And now, he’s opening the very first Life Kitchen Cookery School – on home turf. The brand new site, in Mowbray Park Lodge, Sunderland, is due to open its doors this year, offering up free cooking classes for cancer patients whose sense of taste has been diminished by treatment like chemotherapy. Think quick and simple recipes showcasing exciting and unusual flavour combos to wake up the tastebuds. Delish!
For updates, follow @LifeKitchen on Twitter