Are you ready to pate? The Grand Hotel, York, has launched a new Cookery School. Savour gets the low down.
Based in York’s finest hotel, The Cookery School at The Grand has opened its doors to welcome guests.
“Our motto is ‘it’s a place to relax, have fun, make friends and try something new’ and that’s what it’s all about,” explains head tutor Andrew Dixon.
As part of a £15 million development of the gorgeous, five-star hotel, The Cookery School at The Grand offers a range of cookery classes including half days, full days, evening sessions and parent and child classes. “In our full day classes you can learn everything from how to prepare fresh scallops and fresh fish in our Seafood Extravaganza class, to world cookery with Sensational Spanish, South American Travels and Flavours From France classes,” says Andrew.
“We have half day classes like Bread & Pastry or Beef Wellington, which has become really popular. People think it’s quite difficult to make beef Wellington, it’s not. It’s just about preparation.”
Another class that is already proving popular is the steak class. “Guests can learn how to do dinner party steaks, fillet steaks with a peppercorn sauce,” explains Andrew. “It’s classical stuff, and wouldn’t look out of place in any top restaurant but we’re just making it easy for people to understand and do.”
The Cookery School caters for 16 people in each class, with each person getting their own kitchen space to use. “We have one kitchen designated for wheelchair users too,” says Andrew. “The whole cookery school is wheelchair accessible. So everyone can have the same experience.”
As well as coming for leisure, The Cookery School at The Grand York also caters for corporate groups. “There has been a lot of thought put into who we want to visit, and that’s everybody from Mr and Mrs Smith who want to learn a bit of cooking, to our corporate clients who want to come for a full day and have a strategy meeting in our private room with fully interactive screens, and then do some team building which is a bit different but fun at the same time.”
With 30 years’ worth of experience behind him at some of the country’s top restaurants, as well as recently running a cookery school in Scotland and training as a teacher, Andrew is the right person to lead the way as head tutor and has a goal to establish it as a centre of excellence.
“My vision is to teach people new skills on how to cook,” says Andrew. “It’s not about the recipes. It’s more about the skills. We focus heavily on the skills we’re teaching them, and a lot of the skills are transferable. So if I teach you how to make a traditional English custard, we’ll also show you how to transfer that skill and make an ice cream, and constantly throughout the classes we’re pointing out where you can transfer the skills we’re teaching.”
The Cookery School is ran by a small team of four, but Andrew says “they trust us and know we’ve got the right team in place to do it justice.”
“I think once we get going, you’ll be seeing a lot more to come from The Grand York. It’s not just a cookery school – we also hope to do chefs tables in the future. We have to be good at what we do and stand out. It’s not just the teaching, but making great use of the space as well.”