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Try this: Kent Cookery School workshop

Bring some exotic flavours home for dinner and pretend you whipped it all by your pretty self (we won't tell!), join one of Kent Cookery School's latest 'To Go' series where you can learn your craft by day and then wow your quests by night. PLUS get 10% off!

If you want to bring some exotic flavours home for dinner and pretend you whipped it up all by your pretty self, we can heartily recommend joining one of Kent Cookery School’s latest ‘To Go’ series where you learn your craft by day and then wow your guests with the goods at home. Plus, you get an exclusive 10% discount too…! 

THE WHERE? 

This hidden gem is based deep in the heart of picturesque Kent, close to the North Downs which are part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Kent Cookery School is within the stunning setting of the Mersham-le-Hatch Estate and its 190-acre deer park. You will find the school in the country house’s old, listed barn (which has been spruced up inside) and was the first purpose-built cookery school in Kent – established in early 2011.  

Walk through the cobbled courtyard and discover an idyllic countryside haven packed full of other independent businesses like Blue Anemone, recently voted Best Florist in Kent in our Muddy awards, as well as The Secret Retreat Day spa which we have our beady eye on and The Secret Garden for Afternoon Tea so you could easily go AWOL here for a good day… 

THE WHO 

Husband and wife team, Autumn and James, are the dream team behind Kent Cookery School. James cut his culinary cloth at Sankey’s in Tunbridge Wells and has since worked with renowned names within the hospitality industry such as the Roux brothers plus helped to launch Michelin-starred restaurant Thackery’s in Tunbridge Wells and was the executive chef for Whiting & Hammond for several years.

Autumn devises the packed programme of events throughout the year and is very good at sussing out which classes will appeal to its clientele, so you have everything from East Asian Food (Korean Friend Chicken, alongside Chinese favourites such as Chicken Satay or Prawn toast as well as some healthy light snacks from Japan and Taiwan) right through to Dude Food (mac’n’cheese and fried chicken) for the uninitiated in the culinary world, plus we love the look of Big Chef, Little Chef where you can spend time with your budding cook, learning how to make some delicious dishes plus a good time-filler during the holidays. 

Autumn and James also work with a medley of other guest chefs to host their specialist Curry, Sushi and Patisserie courses so you are in very safe hands – whatever class you plump for! In fact, the choosing is probably the toughest part.  

THE VIBE 

James and Autumn wanted to create an environment where visitors feel welcome and at home so the culinary students can relax and enjoy themselves. You will not find the cold clinical stainless steel of a professional kitchen, instead, you will find rustic oak beams, antique furnishings, and fine china. Make sure to take note of the innovative use of cutlery plus pots and pans within its decoration. 

There are dedicated workstations for up to 12 people, it is an intimate setting so are you never far from the action and you get to know the group around you, or you could just take it over for a private party with everyone taking part in the same lesson.

THE EXPERIENCE 

Our Mexican Street Food ‘To Go’ class was held during the day (11.30 to 2pm) with the idea being that you take home your produce to dazzle your friends and family. As it was one of the boiling hot Jubilee bank holiday days, I was not expecting a full-house but it was a fun group with one gentleman back for his sixth course so a Kent Cookery School convert.  

Our menu focused on Grilled Chilli-Marinated Beef with James guiding us through the different chillies on offer, and making you realize that cooking doesn’t have to be complicated to be tasty. One of the highlights was making our own plain four tortillas – providing therapy for that kneading and rolling of the dough as well as a cost-saving technique for the future as you can batch cook, and freeze. Seabass cerviche was also a highlight and an ingenious technique on how to cut the avocados for Guacamole to make things a whole lot easier. You will have to sign up to discover all these tricks of the trade.  

I went with a friend and it was a very relaxing way to catch up (helped that someone else was doing the washing up) as well as admire each other’s chopping technique, plus offer ‘helpful’ advice when you are attempting to fillet a fish for the first time in your life.  

BTW, don’t go hungry. I somehow forgot to have breakfast and was like a crazed animal at the end ripping up unwanted tortillas and shoving them into my mouth, so eat well beforehand to avoid my unsightly mistake.  

THE NEED TO KNOW 

The cost of the ’To Go’ courses are £60-£65 depending on what one you pick but our Mexican course was £65 per person, and the evening version is £70 per person.  Better still, add ‘MUDDY10’ at checkout when you book, and you’ll get an exclusive 10% off.  

Take note, our Sat Nav took us round the houses as part of the M20 is not recognized as it is so new so it proved a little confusing and we were a bit late for our course. 

Kent Cookery School, The Courtyard, Mersham Le Hatch, Hythe Road, Ashford, Kent, TN25 6NH, kentcookeryschool.co.uk, 01233 501771, info@kentcookeryschool.co.uk

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