Freelance journalist in Birmingham and the West Midlands with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
Published August 22nd 2012
With the Great British Bake-off and Celebrity Masterchef back on our TV screens, cookery is back on the weekend hobby menu. Where can you learn new culinary skills in the Midlands? Here are my top five.
1. Sushi Making Class at Yo! Sushi in Selfridges, Bullring Shopping Centre
This lesson just over two hours takes place from 9am on Thursday mornings at Yo Sushi and is a casual, fun and quick introduction to the world of rice-rolling sushi.
Sitting at the Yo! Sushi bar, a chef takes you through how to make about five types of sushi. It's very hands-on, plus you get to take away some of your efforts as well as try various food along the way. I never realised just how easy it was, or the top secrets of making sushi rice. A good way to impress your friends with an alternative dish at a dinner party.
Weekly three hour evening courses are on offer and range from working with chocolate to a curry course, Thai food or creating gastronomic delights with seafood. They are priced around £60 to £70 for one or £110 for two people at one workstation.
The children's classes, for those aged eight and over, really get youngsters into food in a fun way with chef's hats to wear and a focus on healthy meals, not just the usual cupcakes or biscuits.
3. Chocolate Making Class
Gooey, tasty and very, very messy, this is probably one of the most fun cookery classes you can indulge in.
Classes take place at venues including the Strathallan Hotel, in Hagley Road, Edgbaston, and last for around two hours, for £25. They include instruction on how to temper chocolate and make extravagant treats.
Father and son team Ray and Luke Green run the course and are down-to-earth, friendly, helpful chocolatiers. They show you the simplest way of making chocolates and tell you secrets about where to buy the cheapest or best ingredients. I was delighted to learn that I could easily make my own version of handmade chocolates to rival the likes of Thorntons, and give a very personal gift to a loved one.
Ray also emails everyone after the class with notes from the course and recipes to try at home.
Chocolates made at The Chocolate Workshop
As well as chocolate gifts, they also can give ideas about making chocolate favours for weddings.
For more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07530 444385.
4. Indian Cookery Course at Lasan Eatery
A sister-restaurant of Lasan, the award-winning Indian restaurant where TV chef Aktar Islam works, holds master classes to get hands-on experience of how to took some of their key dishes.
Budding chefs get to pick which dishes they want to make and get to take home some of the special ingredients so they can replicate it again at home.
Lasan Eatery is based at 1355 Stratford Road, Hall Green. Contact Lasan's cookery class manager for individual prices by emailing email@example.com or calling 0121 777 9090.
5. Lesson in Fine Dining Cuisine at Simpsons
At the top price end of the range is the class offered by Michelin-starred Simpsons Restaurant in Edgbaston.
This is about fine dining at its best and includes extra perks like a three course lunch in the wonderful surroundings, wine tasting with the sommelier, and a glass of champagne.
It is also a fantastic chance to see how the kitchens and chefs work in one of the highest-rated restaurants in the country, and to make some of the dishes that have made it so renowned with the chef tutor.
This one day course with the extras described takes place on a Saturday mornings from 9.45am and is priced at £125 per person. It is so popular that it is recommended to book four months in advance.
If you have any other cooking class tips, leave a comment.