TAKE A COOKERY COURSE
Dudwell Cookery School, near Bath ( dudwellschool.com) Few cookery schools are in locations as beautiful as Dudwell, or have teachers as qualified as Caroline Waldegrave, its owner and the former principal of Leiths.
Caroline (above left), who has written more than 20 cookbooks, is patient, encouraging and knowledgeable. The classes include one-day, weekend and five-day courses. They take place in a fully equipped converted barn for a maximum of eight students, and are very hands-on.
Her specialty is teaching teenagers. On the five-day course, she takes them through the basics – omelettes, bruschetta and ‘proper’ roasts – while ensuring they learn such basics as knife skills, how to clean fish and how to read a recipe properly. Students prepare their lunch and supper daily, and on the final night, parents are invited to come for supper and enjoy dishes such as soufflés or homemade pasta.
I saw students acquire skills and become competent, confident cooks while having a good time. I also learned that preparing everything – equipment, ingredients, space – before you start makes cooking less stressful. Cost £900 for a five-day course, including food and accommodation. Verdict Caroline is a fabulous teacher, and Dudwell is a relaxed yet professional haven. This course will make you more confident and equip you with great recipes. Henrietta Green