Whether you’re a kitchen novice or domestic goddess, you’ll find something to whet your appetite while learning tricks of the trade at these fantastic Essex cookery schools and nationwide schools too…

The Mistley Kitchen, Colchester

Beautiful Georgian townhouse. Check. Stunning setting. Check. Idyllic village backdrop. Check. There really is little not to like about The Mistley kitchen workshop. Established in 2001 by American born chef Sherri Singleton, the well designed kitchen has space for up to 12 pupils in each workshop with a regularly updated menu of courses and host demonstrators there’s even a course to help you hone your knife skills. We suggest combining your course with a stay at the Mistley Thorn, an award winning restaurant and hotel… It would be a shame not to, right? Prices start from just £40 per person.

Where: 6-8 High St, Mistley, Manningtree CO11 1HA, Tel: 01206 391024

The Mistley Kitchen

Rick Stein's Cooking School, Cornwall

Whether you’re aiming to master new skills or perhaps try something entirely different, the vast choice on offer at the Stein cookery school means you could choose a different course every week. Seasonal courses and holiday courses for kids are also available with accommodation on-site. Prices start at £70 for an adult half day course, rising to 2K+ for a course with Rick himself.

Where: South Quay, Second Floor, Padstow PL28 8BY, Tel: 01841 532700

Rick Stein's Cooking School


“Known as the ‘Oxbridge of the food world’, Leiths School of Food and Wine really is the crème-de-la-crème of cooking schools, having trained everyone from Diana Henry to Lorraine Pasquale and Gizzi Erskine since Prue Leith started the school in 1975. The Leiths Diploma attracts serious chefs from around the world. Prices from £95 for one-day class to £685 for a one-week boot camp cooking course, with a three term professional diploma costing £21,905.

Where: 16-20 Wendell Rd, White City, London W12 9RT, Tel: 020 8749 6400.

Visit Leiths


With over 30 years of experience under his belt, head tutor Mark Peregrine is well equipped to teach the range of courses on off er at the stunning Le Manoir aux Quat’saison. There’s something to suit all abilities at this world famous 2* Michelin restaurant; an amazing experience for cooking enthusiasts. Treat yourself to a stay at the hotel for a completely indulgent experience. Courses range from £185 for half day course to £4500 for 4-day residential course.

Where: Church Road, Great Milton, Oxford, OX44 7PD, Tel: 01844 278881.

Visit Raymond Blanc


Run by the super-friendly Jo Wheatley - winner of the Great British Bake-Off 2011 - from her charming home in Magdalen Laver in rural North West Essex. Jo’s courses are run on more of a demonstration basis, although she does also teach the odd hands-on cooking class with anything from six to ten people per class. A range of gourmet treats and refreshments will be provided to keep you nicely topped up. Bring an apron if you’re attending a hands on course, the rest will be provided. Starting from £100 for a full day course. Private classes available on request.

Where: Jo's home in Harlow, Essex.

Visit Jo's Blue Aga

Ann's Smart School of Cookery

Owned by 2009 Masterchef contestant Ann Hood, the Smart School of Cookery offers an intimate setting for up to 20 guests throughout the UK, including Danbury, and Chelmsford. Each course is run by a different specialist chef tutor and includes all food and equipment required. With a huge range of courses on off er, you’ll be able to select from workshops such as Vietnamese cooking, Spanish tapas, sushi, cheese making. Is anyone else’s mouth watering?

Where: Unit 2, Phillows Barn Business Centre, Hammonds Rd, Little Baddow, Chelmsford CM3 4BG, Tel: 01245 227527.

Visit The Smart School of Cookery

A Guide To Michelin

From its humble beginnings as a tyre business’s travel guide, the Michelin star rating has become the highest and most sought after accolade in the restaurant industry. Our food editor, Richard Brown, explains the recipe for success in the guide and why there is hope for Essex chefs. Édouard Michelin and André Michelin bought us the first Michelin guide in 1900. It was originally designed to help promote their tyre business and guide French drivers to a garage stocking their tyres. In the 1920’s, the restaurant guide along with star ratings were added. Little did the brothers know that this ‘little red book’ would become a culinary icon. Chefs dedicate their whole career to achieve Michelin status – the highest accolade in the industry. How are Michelin stars awarded? This process is highly guarded by Michelin and only known by the 127 Michelin inspectors worldwide. Inspectors go to great lengths to maintain their anonymity. To achieve Michelin recognition, the food must be faultless and creative. Restaurants should demonstrate value for money and consistency. The overall experience, from booking the table to leaving, must be seamless. The UK is widely regarded as one of the gastronomy capitals of the world and a breeding ground for Michelin quality chefs. Currently, 169 dining outlets in the UK have stars. Only three have been awarded three stars.  As yet, we don’t have a Michelin star restaurant in Essex. What we do have is plenty of Michelin recognised establishments and many high profile outlets with talented chefs, so surely it’s only a matter of time. With this in mind, here’s our round-up of the one’s to watch… Essex restaurants to watch… We believe that the following Essex restaurants could be in the running for Michelin stardom: The Flitch of Bacon Head chef at The Flitch, Daniel Clifford, already has two stars at Midsummer House in Cambridge and has worked alongside some of the most influential chefs in the world. The Woodford After being open for just a few months, The Woodford is highly likely to be on course for a Michelin star. It was named as Restaurant of the Year at the Evening Standard London Restaurant Awards on the 15 June, confirming just how exquisite this restaurant is. The Green Man The Galvin brothers will soon be adding a pub to their successful restaurant empire. With Michelin starred restaurants already to their name, the successful siblings have added a touch of Galvin magic to this 18th century inn opening in summer 2016. Le Talbooth Le Talbooth is located by the riverside in the heart of Constable country. Head chef Andrew Hirst, uses the finest local produce to create his classic seasonal menu with an extensive wine list to match.  The Anchor Riverside The Anchor, with its picturesque riverside location, has already been recognised by Michelin and awarded a Bib Gourmand. No other restaurant in Essex has achieved this award. Only restaurants that demonstrate the highest standards, good quality food and superb value will be awarded. Hayward’s Epping With a number of awards under their belt, Hayward’s are certainly stamping their authority on the Essex restaurant scene. Keeping it local and seasonal, head chef Jahdre Hayward, has worked at kitchens at The Ritz and the OXO Tower.

Food In Season Series: Turbot Fillet

Turbot is the one of the best seasonal dishes… Turbot is commonly known as the ‘king of fish’, and for very good reason. Caught out in the North Atlantic and some parts of the Mediterranean, this sandy-coloured flatfish is large in size and as such, can yield decent sized fillets that are clean, white and firm. With a delicate, fresh, taste-of-the-sea flavour, you will often find turbot on menus at this time of the year, usually a prime and expensive cut. However, there is no reason as to why you shouldn’t order Turbot from your local fishmonger and try cooking at home. Baking whole is the easiest option, on a bed of sliced shallots, sliced lemon and dill sprigs, with a spritz of dry white wine. Paoching or cooking en papillote is also another way of cooking the turbot to perfection as it is a wet fish. To test that the fish is cooked, insert a knife and if it comes out hot and the fish feels tender, it is ready!  Pairing meatier steak cuts with anchovies, cream and rosemary is also an excellent way forward – pan-roasted for an indulgent and vibrant result. If you’re wanting to impress guests, why not try to fillet the turbot yourself, filleting can be easy with the right equipment!. TURBOT ON THE MENU Best in the UK: The Seafood Restaurant, Padstow The Dish: Roast Tronçon of Wild Turbot with Hollandaise Sauce, served with Minted Cornish Potatoes. Contact: Riverside, Padstow, PL28 8BY, Tel: 01841 532700 BOOK NOW TURBOT AT HOME Exquisite price: 1kg: £20, feeds 4 Why we love it? Freshly caught in Shetland in Scotland, this meaty fish is incredibly filling! Contact: Osborne & Sons, No.8 The Cocklesheds, High Street, Leigh-on-Sea SS9 2ER, Tel: 01702477387 VISIT NOW

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