Wellies aren’t the first thing you might think to wear when you’re signing up for a cookery course, but they’re a good idea for this course, run by Fat Hen in Cornwall. For children who prefer learning outdoors, it focuses on the natural origins of food. The company’s Children’s Cookery Club class teaches children how to forage during a short walk to pick up safe, easily identifiable wild foods and garden flowers including blackberries, crab apples, nettles and wild strawberries.
The foraging trip is then followed by a cooking session where parents and children learn together how to prepare a two-course lunch with the ingredients they have gathered. Expect to make anything from bread with wild herbs and blackberry jam to nettle pizza and elderflower ice cream. The course is for children aged 5-12 years old; those younger than seven must be accompanied by an adult.
Edinburgh New Town Cookery School
Located in the heart of Edinburgh city centre, Edinburgh New Town Cookery School offers a diverse range of courses. It’s particularly good for teenagers, offering one-day and week-long courses for those aged between 13 and 17 who want to get to grips with basic cookery skills.
During the one-day course, students cover topics such as weighing ingredients accurately and how to read recipes before making a range of simple, seasonal dishes to take home. The one-week course provides a more in-depth introduction to cooking skills and techniques, including pastry making, cooking meat, baking bread, cake making, cooking vegetables and more.
The Little Kitchen Cookery School
If you want to keep the kids entertained over the school holidays, The Little Kitchen Cookery School in Bristol regularly runs a Holiday Cooking Club for children aged 8-12 years old where they can learn how to make simple dishes from scratch and pick up new kitchen skills.
Simple step-by-step instructions are given for each recipe so children should come away having learnt how to create dishes like veggie burgers in homemade buns or spring rolls with a dipping sauce (sweet treats such as homemade toffee ice cream or ice cream cone cupcakes are also on the schedule). Students can take home everything they make on the day and they will also be given recipe cards so they can recreate their new signature dishes at home.
The Chocolate Museum
Mention the word ‘chocolate’ and the kids will be sold! The Chocolate Museum in Brixton regularly runs creative drop-in workshops for adults and children where participants can learn how to make their own delicious chocolate creations.
Within the grounds of the luxurious Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, just outside Bath, is a dedicated cookery school. Alongside classes for adults is a general half-day skills course for both adults and children. Suitable for children aged 6-13 years old, in tandem with a parent or grandparent, it focuses on the basics of cooking and working with fresh ingredients.
During the session, children will learn how to make a variety of recipes, from pork meatballs with homemade linguini to pancakes with hot chocolate sauce and blueberry cupcakes with buttercream icing. The fee includes tea/coffee, pastries, lunch, a take-home recipe folder and a cookery school bag.
Becketts’ Farm Cookery School
In Birmingham, Becketts’ Farm run a variety of children’s cookery courses throughout the year, designed to show 8-15 year olds how to create nutritious two-course meals as part of a healthy diet.
If you’ve spent many a year rustling up children’s party food you’ll be please to hear they also arrange children’s birthday parties; guests make their own pizzas and cupcakes and decorate gingerbread men and women. Afterwards, they get to enjoy their creations along with extra party food and a personalised birthday cake.
Leiths School of Food and Wine
Leiths School of Food and Wine, in London, offers short, evening and one-week courses, including an exciting range of classes for teenagers. In the Let’s cook! Teen Challenge class, students can put their technical skills to the test to create a three-course menu with a special prize for the most restaurant-worthy winning dish.
Through a combination of chef demos and hands-on cookery, students can expect to create dishes such as Thai salmon en papillotte or chocolate roulade with fruit coulis and put their own personal twist on the final dishes. With top tips and support to guide those along the session, this course is a great opportunity to experiment with new dishes and be creative with unique flavour combinations.
The Cheshire Cookery School
The Cheshire Cookery School in Altrincham holds a Kids Cookery Club over the school holidays for children aged 6-14. During the course of the workshops, students will learn about the origins of ingredients, how they are grown and what they taste like. They will then create speciality dishes from countries as diverse as England and India. And learn some tips and tricks for baking bread, cakes and biscuits.
The Kids Cookery Club runs on a weekly basis from Monday to Friday but individual days can also be booked. Lunch and drinks are provided and children can take everything they make home to share.
For a fun and messy afternoon, BKD offers a range of themed baking workshops for little bakers aged three years and up. Googly eyes, sprinkles, buttercream, fondant and all manner of other decorating supplies help children follow a theme (think pirate biscuits, Easter cakepops, unicorn cupcakes…) and events take place regularly in BKD’s Peckham bakery.
Best of all, each child will leave with a box of delicious handmade treats to take home.
The Jamie Oliver Cookery School
There’s a vast range of courses on the timetable at the Jamie Oliver Cookery School, in London, and some are specially designed with children (between 8-14 years old) in mind. In its Become a Pasta Master class, for example, children can get stuck in learning how to create all sorts of fresh pasta shapes from scratch. Then there is a Pizza for Pros class where children can make their own pizza dough and learn how to combine winnning toppings
For truly dedicated young cooks, the school also offers a Junior Sushi Master course that covers sushi rolls with spicy wasabi and smashed avocado or pan-fried salmon and cucumber, served with a homemade cucumber pickle. Children must be supervised by an adult for the duration of the course or you can book your own place and cook along together.
Words by Eileen Malone
Written April 2017