The Globetrotter: 16 August

Pick up great cooking tips on these courses for novice chefs
It may be a few years since your last domestic science lesson, or perhaps you’d like to brush up your culinary skills or learn some new techniques. Or maybe a loved one who’s aware of your passion for cooking gave it to you as a birthday present.

Whatever the reason you’ve found yourself on a cookery course, they’re always jolly fun, and you can’t fail to come away with some new tips and expertise.

I headed for the cookery school at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Great Milton, Oxfordshire recently, for a day course with Adam Johnson. He is Raymond Blanc’s development chef and a bit of a celebrity himself now, thanks to appearances with Raymond on BBC Two’s Kitchen Secrets, The Very Hungry Frenchman and his new series, How To Cook Well.

The joy of a course like this is you don’t get bogged down with theory; you can watch an expert, then have a go yourself, with him on hand to sort it out if/when it all goes wrong.

More to the point, Adam explained why food behaves the way it does, what you can do to correct a mistake and he also shared many brilliant tips, learned through trial and error – he’s done all the hard work for you.

So, I learnt that if you stack a lamb joint on a bed of bones and veg it cooks more evenly, and you get delicious gravy. Use a sharp knife to slice an onion instead of the old blunt one you’ve had for years, and not so much juice will be released so you won’t end up crying.
Travel-Aug16-02-590Lucknam Park Hotel. Inset: Hrishikesh Desai heads up the Lucknam cookery school
And, for the Žfirst time ever, thanks to Adam, I have successfully poached an egg – you’ll have to do the course to find out how.

The course includes informal lunch in the cookery school and you are presented with a certificate that you can show to friends at your next dinner party.

GET THERE The Hungry Frenchman course costs from £360 per person weekdays, from £380 per person weekends and bank holidays.
Course dates: 30 August, 11 October, 8 November, 6 December. Rooms from £545: 01844-278881,

Meanwhile, Caroline Waldegrave, cofounder of Leiths Cookery School, has launched Dudwell Cookery School, Chewton Mendip, near Bath.

Dudwell Field Farm, the Waldegrave family home, o‘ffers ’five-day courses designed for guests with little cookery experience or those who need to refresh their skills.

Participants cook in the morning, eat lunch they have made, relax in the afternoon then cook supper from 4.30pm. Menus include homemade burgers, soufflés, scones and risotto.

Short courses teaching speci’fic skills – cooking game, working with chocolate – can also be arranged for groups. Up to eight students can stay in four small twin-bedded en suite bedrooms.

GET THERE Five-day courses, from £850 per person, include accommodation, and run from 19 August, 16 December and 31 March; there is also a four-day course, £680, from 27 August: 07860-123827,
Travel-Aug16-03-590Dudwell Cookery School, near Bath. Inset: Cook like a pro at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

Finally, if you have only a day to spare, Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, also near Bath, has introduced a cookery school with 24 daily weekday courses, such as Michelin Star Cooking At Home, Street Food Of India, and The Perfect Afternoon Tea. The school is headed up by award-winning chef Hrishikesh Desai.

GET THERE One-day weekday courses from £175 per person, including lunch and refreshments; Stay And Cook break from £298 per person, based on two sharing: 01225-742777,

Contact Wendy at


Celebrity chef Raymond Blanc is hosting a special seven-course dinner on board the British Pullman, sister train to the Venice Simplon- Orient-Express, on 16 November, for £495 per person.

0845-077 2222,


Hotel El Fenn in Marrakech now o‘ffers guests a four-hour Moroccan cooking masterclass with head chef Ha’ d Aid Chiba, from €55 per person, including lunch. Double rooms from €185 to €550 per night.


Humble By Nature courses at TV presenter Kate Humble’s 100-acre farm in Lydart, Monmouthshire, include some with expert forager Liz Knight, on 28 September and 26 October, £95 per person, including lunch. Stay in The Piggery, a two-bedroom cottage sleeping four, from £395 to £595 a week.