Basic ingredients: This family-run cookery school has recently moved to new premises in Wandsworth, south-west London, and expanded its repertoire to include a range of exciting cookery classes alongside its staple fare of courses for teenagers and students. Diana Horsford is the “absolute driving force” behind the school, an experienced cook and cookery school teacher known for her trailblazing twists on classical dishes. On hand to help her and add an extra dose of fun and enthusiasm in the kitchen are her son and daughter, chef Richard and assistant chef Sophie, and a team of specialist chefs. Hands-on courses include Gluten-Free, Dinner Party Dining, and Vegan Cooking as well as Ready Steady Bake, a Fish Masterclass and Sunday Brunch Club. The latter promises the “best goddamn Bloody Mary you have ever set your taste buds on!”. Well honed courses with young people in mind include Off to Uni, Duke of Edinburgh Bronze to Gold Residential and the hugely practical Really Useful Course and Chalet Host course. The Chalet Host course (from basic to advanced) equips students with a bank of traditional recipes, necessary hosting skills, menu planning and help finding chalet/chef jobs. Evening classes range from £48 to £75, daytime cookery classes during holidays for 8 to 16 year olds cost £85 and the longer chalet course are competitively priced starting from around £690 for five days, with the occasional sale on.
They Say: We aim to teach students of all ages and levels to understand food. It’s time to move away from cookbook dependency and start treating recipes as sources of inspiration and guidance. Individually, and as a team, we have years of experience, skills and handy tips to share with those who want to come and join our kitchen adventures.
We Say: Some cookery schools can be a bit hard-boiled and formulaic but we wholly approve of the way the school’s mission statement “incorporates love and enthusiasm into carefully structured courses”. A friendly and encouraging atmosphere – overseen by “Mother Duck” Diana – can go a long way to transforming even the most nervous beginner into a confident foodie. Bottomless booze (available on some evening classes) is not a bad incentive either.
Read an in-depth Q&A with cookery school owner Diana Horsford to find out what makes her tick in the kitchen.
07958 171 787; theavenuecookeryschool.com