Ok, let’s get this straight I totally believe that a way to a child’s heart is to feed and teach them how to cook the way we cook at home. This is because I know that above everything, all kids really really want is to spend time with you. I have also worked out that they also like to learn stuff (especially if it is a grown up skill, think spending their own money at the shop, cooking anything on the hob, a constant fascination with keys and opening doors, and then eventually learning to drive !!), and learning to cook is one of those rather important skills that will take you a long way.
So from someone who is a terrible cook, given the chance, I would happily spend a few hours down at Billingsgate learning how to gut a prawn with my kids or learning how to cook the perfect ragu, as a few hours doing this could possibly cost as much as a family ticket to see Frozen 2. Here is a quick round up of some schools and clubs that offer courses, parties, and holiday clubs. Oh! don’t forget to take a look at my post about where kids eat for free in town here.
1. The Kids Cookery School (Acton)
This school is a charity that offers classes, longer workshops, cookery lessons via their mobile school, and birthday parties. They support outreach programs and an assisted places scheme for those families on benefits. Through practical lessons the students learn about basic nutrition, how to prepare healthy and tasty dishes from fresh ingredients and to cook in safe and hygienic way. They develop social skills, as students become more independent, work together and learn about other cultures though food.
They have purpose-built teaching kitchens in Acton, where the majority of our practical cookery projects take place. They welcome students with special needs (physical, learning or behavioural), as their premises are fully wheelchair accessible.
Classes are split by age, 3-4yrs, 5-7yrs, 8-10 yrs and 11 to 14+yrs. Workshops are priced at £32 a session and run for 2 hours 30 minutes. Classes are priced at £17 a session and run for 1 hour 15 minutes. Check the site here for the latest event schedule.
2. Cookie Crumbles (SW & Central London)
This friendly company run parent and child courses from locations around South West London, mainly in Eddie Catz, Putney. They also offer bespoke (2 hr) birthday parties for up to 35 children, and if you don’t fancy the mess at home, they can host parties in their studios in Kensington, East Sheen or the Intercontinental Hotel in Park lane, London W1. Prices here.
The lessons sound great fun as an introduction, or fun treat. Choose from ‘Cakes around the World’ £25 (2hr), Little Chocolate Factory Workshop’ £25, Toddler Chocolate Cooking class £13 (1hr) or American Cupcakes & Milkshakes £25 (2hr). If you are heading South, then book in for a fun session at one of the workshops in Putney or Wimbledon, and check here for other events.
3. Recipease (South & West London)
With restaurants in Notting Hill, Clapham, and Brighton, they offer a wide range of adult courses covering all options from sushi making to fish filleting. Kids can choose from Pizza Making (Age 12+), Chocolate truffle (7-11yrs), Filled pasta (7-11yrs), Focaccia (7 – 11yrs), Thai green curry (12-16 year olds) Risotto (12-16 yrs), Pancakes (7-11yrs), Pasta master (7-11yrs) but double check what lessons are available at which centres first, before your protege get’s set on becoming a pancake chef.
They also offer birthday parties, and class prices range from £15-20, and last 1.5 hours. Note, children must be accompanied by an adult for classes, although two kids can have one parent with them.
4. Billingsgate Seafood School (City)
One for the more adventurous, chef-kids we know. Here you earn how to prepare various fresh fish and shellfish in the environs of the famous Docklands fish market. Some dishes are enjoyed with drinks for lunch, some taken home. 9:30am to 2:00pm approx, £120
5. Cafe Caldesi (Marylebone)
Children cook a two-course meal at London’s only Italian cookery school, in Marylebone. 10.30 to 1pm. £45.Help to spark your children’s interest in healthy food and cooking by bringing them to our Italian mama’s cookery course. We will teach your children a selection of seasonal Italian dishes to create a tasty 2 course menu of both savoury and sweet dishes, all packed into 21/2hours! This a fun, hands-on cookery class, where everyone has the chance to be involved and to taste what they have made as well as take foodie bites home. If you come to collect your children early, you may even get to taste some of what they have made. This course is aimed at 6 – 12 yr olds.
If you and your little ones have been to other local cookery schools, after school clubs, or courses please share the love and leave a comment below, it’s great to have your personal recommendations — PLEASE let me know about courses across the UK too, we’re not exclusive to London. xo
A little more reading :
Chef Mark Dodson’s advice for Cooking with Kids
http://www.letsgetcooking.org.uk : The Children’s Food Trust, (previously named the School Food Trust), was awarded Big Lottery funding in 2007 to set up and support the first 5,000 Let’s Get Cooking school-based cooking clubs for children and their families. Let’s Get Cooking is now the largest national network of healthy cooking clubs in the country.The Kids Kitchen (Whetstone N20)
Kiddycook website, courses in London and around the UK
Read about the Out To Lunch campaign here.
The Fun Food Academy, North London and Chichester
The Fun Food Academy was established in 1998 and has since cooked with more than 2,000 4-11 year olds in and around London. As the name suggests, culinary thrills and spills include games and taste tests, two-hour cooking parties with foodie magic tricks and primary school sessions on themes such as the Ancient Greeks, Victorians, Aztecs and Egyptians. Workshops are an impressive six hours long and offer good value at between £20 – £25 per child.
They offer kids cooking classes during school holidays. Such a fun activity for kids to get their hands in the kitchen and make yummy Italian favourites like focaccia or gnocchi. Aimed at children 6 to 12 years-old, the classes cost £15 pounds, and include a drink and dessert.
Kids in the Kitchen class : L’atalier des Chefs school : Wigmore Street, W1
Our one hour kids classes are a great way to introduce your children to the joys of cooking. Our chefs will really help them to flourish in the kitchen. We have created fantastic recipes designed to appeal to young tastebuds that are healthy, easy to prepare and, most importantly, delicious! They’ll learn to make recipes including homemade fish fingers and proper mushy peas. Each one hour class will also include a tasty dessert such as banana pancakes, chocolate mousse or classic chocolate brownies. Children’s cooking classes run during the school holidays and are open to children aged between 7 and 14.
MunchkinsKids Cooking, Blackheath, London
Munchkins Kids Cooking offer summer holiday workshops for kids age 4-11, inviting children to have fun and make a mess! With appealing titles such as ‘Food from the stories of Roald Dahl’ and ‘Cooking the Rainbow’, classes are themed over the course of a week but individual days can be bought separately. Held at the brand new Blackheath Cooks shop and school, there are additional after-school classes for teens and ‘munchkins’, which are all very hands-on and offer technical tuition in the making of sushi rolls and lamb koftas. Also on offer are cookery workshops held at primary and secondary schools across London and the South East : After school clubs are £190 and Summer Holiday workshops are £42 per day
Daisy Cakes : Baking workshops : West London
Come and bake with DaisyCakes – Easter Holiday Workshops. Workshops are £18.00 per child and this includes everything. The workshops take place at my home in Chiswick, places are limited to 6 so please book early to avoid disappointment.
Gill Roberts Cookery Workshops (North London : Hampstead Gdn Suburb)
£50 for one day : Come and join Gill for a one or two day cookery course In May Half Term (2013) to develop your basic cookery skills, knowledge of healthy eating and make cooking fun! Cook a range of food like : Minestroni Soup : Home made Pasta with a Tomato Sauce & Parmesan : Stuffed Jacket Potatoes : Filo Scunchies : Shaped Bread Rolls, then to take Home… Toffee Apple Flapjacks : Fruity Turnovers
Italian Mama’s Cookery Club : La Cucina Caldesi Shop : Marylebone