Cornwall is now well established as a culinary Mecca, with Padstow right at the heart of the revolution thanks to the likes of Rick Stein and Paul Ainsworth. What better souvenir could a foodie hope to take away from their trip than a little of that kitchen magic? Happily, North Cornwall has some fantastic cookery schools and courses suited to every ability and every taste.
1. Rick Stein’s Seafood Cookery School
Originally a training academy for chefs at his seafood restaurant, Rick Stein extended his knowledge of preparing and cooking fish and shellfish to the general public. And they’ve been a runaway success for over 20 years.
Among the myriad courses on offer, you’ll learn skills such as scaling, boning and filleting. You can choose lessons in your chosen cuisine and Stein also caters for vegetarian cooks, bakers and game lovers, with children welcome for special half day courses. It goes without saying that these courses are hugely popular, so make sure you book well in advance of your stay.
2. Mahé Cookery School
With four separate eateries and a boutique hotel in and around Padstow, Paul Ainsworth is now a serious rival to Rick Stein. Adjoining his well-established restaurant No. 6 is Mahé, an upscale establishment offering a unique, intimate insight into the art of world class gastronomy.
‘At the Chef’s Table’ gives you an up close experience as you sit just centimetres away from the kitchen while your host cooks and offers insight and details into the production of your food. Mahé also runs day long courses for up to five students, with past subjects including dinner party cooking, desserts and pasta making.
3. The Cooking Academy at Lusty Glaze
The restaurant at Lusty Glaze offers an exclusive cookery experience amid the setting of a privately owned beach tucked away at the north end of Newquay.
With access to Lusty Glaze’s excellent cooking facilities, Head Chef Richard Mason aims to provide students with the skills they need to create inspirational dishes from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Class sizes are kept small, guaranteeing personal tuition from Richard. Aspirant cooks of any ability are welcome.
4. The Journeyman Indian Cookery
If you’re fed up with fish and hankering after something a little spicier, we recommend a course at The Journeyman Indian restaurant in Wadebridge, just five minutes from Padstow.
Chef Steve Lloyd offers private lessons for small groups. These provide you with an excellent introduction to authentic Indian cookery, including the preparation of homemade sauces. By the end of the day you’ll be able to produce your favourite Indian dishes from their base ingredients and spices.
Near Cornwall’s most northerly point at Home Farm, a 200 year old farmhouse in the village of Welcombe, you’ll be warmly welcomed by Ali Migliorini-Stubbs of the CookSimplyCook school.
Ali aims to help her students create healthy, enriching food from nourishing ingredients sourced from some of the region’s outstanding food producers. Both experienced and amateur cooks are welcome, with straightforward recipes and advice on nutrition, store cupboard staples and budgeting on offer.