There are plenty of great cooking classes for those wanting to learn. Thanks to popular TV cooking shows (like Masterchef and The Great British Bake Off), more and more people have decided to learn how to cook.
In this article, we've put together a list that includes the best academic courses on cooking (including degrees, master's degrees, and diplomas), great workshops where you can learn about basic cooking techniques, culinary skills, and new recipes, as well as cookery classes from private tutors, who can offer more flexibility to a class than a structured course could.
Le Cordon Bleu London
This is a culinary arts, wine and management school that was founded in the early 1930s with a focus on the cooking techniques that were being taught to gourmet French chefs. The school was initially founded as L’Ecole du Petit Cordon Bleu by Rosemary Hume and Dione Lucas after being allowed to take the Cordon Bleu tradition to the UK.
Did you know that Hume created the recipe for “Poulet Reine Elizabeth” for the Queen's coronation?
This recipe is more commonly known as “Coronation Chicken”!
The longer courses (such as the Grand Diplôme) can cost nearly £35,000 for 9 months. This is the kind of course where you will learn the art of cooking, every single technique, and all the cooking methods that the world's best chefs have mastered. Of course, since you'll learn how to prepare a large variety of dishes, you'll be expected to handle seafood, veal (amongst other meats), and alcohol.
There are four main culinary arts diplomas offered by the school: cuisine, pâtisserie, boulangerie, and gastronomy and nutrition.
- The Diplôme de Cuisine can be studied over 9 months or intensively over 6. This is the course that teaches students classic techniques.
- The Pastry and Confectionary diploma (Diplôme de Pâtisserie) also lasts for 9 months (6 months intensive) and includes cake making and decorating.
- The Diplôme de Boulangerie focuses on making bread dough, viennoiserie, and other baked goods. This course lasts 7 months and is useful for anyone wanting to open and run their own bakery.
Le Cordon Bleu also offers short courses on various techniques, summer cooking courses, wine tasting, and cake decorating. These courses can be as short as two hours or as long as three weeks. These could be ideal for amateur chefs who want to get better at preparing pastry or gain some fundamental knife skills (in the kitchen, of course!).
Tante Marie Culinary Academy
You can find this culinary school in Woking (20 minutes from central London). The main qualification offered is the Cordon Bleu Diploma (not related to the school we previously mentioned). Students have been learning how to prepare the finest cuisine since the programme started in 1954. This course will cost you between £17,950 and £21,850.
If you're already working in the food industry, you might be interested in their Level 2 Award in Food Safety.
If you're looking for something less serious and just want someone to teach you how to make a tasty homemade dish, there are also cooking classes where a chef will can help you improve your skills.
The Tante Marie Culinary Academy's “Lifestyle Classes” are designed for home cooks and come with a 2 course lunch (you get to take the food you make home with you).
There are also lessons for kids and teens learning how to cook. Kids can have their birthday parties there and they get to learn some cooking skills at the same time, too.
The academy also offers corporate events for offices and workplaces. If you're thinking about putting together a team building function, this is the option for you.
There are several options in terms of corporate events: a cooking demonstration with an option for canapés and champagne beforehand or dinner afterwards. The second corporate option includes a cookery class with a meal afterwards. There's also cookery class that lasts an entire day and the options for what you cook are quite varied.
Westminster Kingsway College
Westminster Kingsway College offers both academic and vocational courses for children over 16 and adults.
This is the college Jamie Oliver attended to get his NVQ and Professional Chef Diploma. Other famous alumni include: Selin Kiazim, Antony Worrall Thompson, Sophie Wright, and Ainsley Harriott.
Their Professional Chef Diploma is the UK's first professional cooking qualification. There are three main options for students to focus on when they reach their third year of study: cuisine, patisserie and confectionery, or restaurant management.
In addition to the focused pathways available in the third year, students get instruction in butchery and fishmongery, practical cuisine, pâtisserie and bakery, health, safety, and food hygiene, etc.
Younger chefs (those aged between 13 and 15) can attend the college's Young Chef Academy on Saturdays at the college's central London Victoria Centre. The course lasts for 5 weeks at a cost of £100 per attendee. This is useful for kids considering moving on to the Professional Chef Diploma.
Royal Academy of Culinary Arts
The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts was set up in 1980. It focuses on promoting the best practices of the hospitality industry and attempts to improve people's awareness of where food comes from and the quality of food.
The academy offers a Master of Culinary Arts. This is a highly selective course and only for those with at least 10 years of experience as a chef, pastry chef, or in restaurant management and service. Three of these years need to be at a senior level!
There are also apprenticeships offered by the academy. This option is for some very serious chefs.
University of West London
The University of West London offers a variety of different culinary degrees and diplomas such as the BSc (Hons) in Culinary Arts Management, MA in Food Business Management, Diploma in Chefs Apprenticeship, and Certificate in General Patisserie and Confectionery.
The Culinary Arts Management degree focuses on learning kitchen and patisserie techniques as well as food theory, focusing on diet, nutrition, and gastronomy. Additionally, as the name suggests, there are also management modules taught on the course.
The Food Business Management master's degree is more so for those that wish to innovate within the food industry. It's ideal for those wanting to join large hotel groups, restaurants, or catering firms.
The Chef Apprenticeship diploma will have you working in the industry (while attending the university one day per week). This is the option for those that want to improve their cooking skills in prestigious cooking establishments.
While this university offers a broader range of levels for those wanting to cook professionally, there aren't many options for those who just want to improve their cooking with a hands on demonstration (like a cooking class).
Private Cooking Tutorials
Don’t worry if you don’t live near a cooking school, you can learn to cook no matter where you live thanks to private tutors. The main benefit to working with a private tutor is flexibility; you can choose what you learn and you have more control over the recipes you cook.
If there's a certain cookbook you want to work on or a certain cooking skill you want to master, a tutor can put together a plan for your tutorials with these in mind.
Private tutorials are also a better option for those with dietary requirements. If you're vegetarian, vegan, or have any allergies or intolerances, your cooking instructor will be able to help you with the preparation of menus that adhere to your requirements.
A cooking class london will tend to follow a theme or cooking style. Anyone who wants to learn how to create meals from certain countries should look for private tutors.
Online Cooking Tutorials
Thanks to VOIP technologies like Skype, you can now get cooking tutorials from anywhere in the world (as long as you have a relatively quick internet connection). These types of cooking tutorials are useful for those who work irregular hours or have busy schedules.
Since your tutor can be anywhere in the world, this also means that if there's a very specific type of cooking you want to learn how to make, you can find a tutor from a specific country. Additionally, if you live in the country, you or your tutor mightn't be able to meet one another in person for your cooking tutorials.
In terms of cost, online tutorials tend to be cheaper since neither you nor the tutor have to incur travelling costs. However, there are certain things that are easier to learn in person.
Here is more on the history of cooking.
Check out the various types of cooking classes.
Presenting the top 10 cooking classes around the world.