Basic ingredients: Situated down the lane from the local moorland village of Edgworth and just 20 minutes from Manchester, Celia Gaze transformed Wheatsheaf Hill Farm into The Wellbeing Farm when she packed in her stressful job as director of an NHS organisation to pursue a life of rural tranquility. It is the perfect setting in which to promote the farmhouse cookery school’s ‘field to fork’ ethos. While the kitchen boasts premium appliances from De Dietrich, which use the latest energy-saving equipment, the school must be the only one in the land powered by a wind turbine. Seasonality, composting and sustainability are all covered on the courses and the food draws on the rich heritage of the surrounding area, which means it is either sourced from local suppliers or from the farm itself. School director Stephen Whitehead also owns the eponymous local butchers, David Whitehead is the ‘farmer figurehead’ for the school and the highly experienced, award winning head chef Mike Harrison provides class tuition, and a host of other tutors including skilled baker Craig Dugan (bread-making) and Justine Forrest who runs weight-loss cookery courses. Classes mix practical tuition and demonstration, start with homemade farmhouse refreshments, followed by lunch and recipes to take home. There are plenty of options that include entertaining, children’s cookery, cheese-making, raw food and Thai. Regular day courses are around £60, shorter evening courses and classes for kids tend to cost between £25 and £30; while the more specialist options such as fish, vegan and butchery courses range from £110 – £130.
They say: We pride ourselves on being real foodies and aim to bring the artisan country cook out in you! Our courses are hands-on, which could mean collecting eggs for your recipe from our chickens, herbs and vegetables from our polytunnel or going out to meet the farm animals to learn about the rearing process.
We say: The clue is in the title of this ethically-minded cookery school. The aim is to remove the stress from cooking through a focus on ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’, which is to ‘connect’, ‘give’, ‘be active’, ‘take notice’ and, perhaps most importantly, ‘keep learning’. There are not many cookery schools in the Manchester area so this is a welcome venture. Great value, wholesome and fun. There’s even llama trekking for the intrepid.
01204 852113; thewellbeingfarm.co.uk/