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“Great knife skills class”

Cookery School at Little Portland Street
Ranked #17 of 191 Classes & Workshops in London
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: At Cookery School we focus on demystifying cooking, removing jargon and bringing back good home cooking skills at our school in Central London. At Cookery School the atmosphere is fun and informal. We provide the skills necessary to become a confident and independent cook and all our classes have a very high proportion of hands on practice. We use only high quality, sustainable and primarily organic ingredients and are proud to be the only London cookery school awarded the maximum 3 Stars for sustainability from the SRA. With day and evening classes and courses, corporate events and private kitchen hire, there is something for everyone. Winner of "The Best City Cookery School 2013" and runners -up for "Most Sustainable Cookery School 2014" in the UK Cookery School Awards.
Reviewed 12 April 2016

I thoroughly enjoyed this knife skills class. While I already knew my way around the kitchen quite well, I thought it a great idea to start again with the basics to see if I could get a bit faster and more efficient in my slicing and dicing!

I did learn quite a few new techniques that will save me valuable time in dicing, segmenting and otherwise cutting, fruits and vegetables of all shapes and sizes as well as a much more efficient way of holding a knife and using the correct piston motion for more rapid and fluid cutting.

I also learned how to fillet a flat fish, which I had never previously tried to do. Stefan was a patient and relaxed teacher and had a very delightful attitude.

A bonus of the class was sitting down to enjoy each of the four courses (we sliced and diced and they cooked) with a glass of wine, while chatting with the other class participants (ranging from 12 to 50ish). We were also sent home with a handy packet containing all of the recipes printed on nice cardstock.

Following the class, I came home and quickly made the minestrone soup in no time flat using my new knife skills and the recipes provided. My family thought it was delicious and it took me half the time as usual to prepare. I plan to sign up for more classes.

Thank SPL201
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cookery_School_, Public Relations Manager at Cookery School at Little Portland Street, responded to this reviewResponded 14 April 2016

Dear SPL201

Thank you for the lovely review! We are always pleased when even experienced cooks take away new skills and when people go home and practise what they have made in class. We'll be sure to pass on your feedback to Stefan too and we look forward to welcoming you back in the future.

Best wishes,
The team at Cookery School

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Reviewed 12 April 2016

Attended two courses about Spanish and Middle Eastern foods. An excellent introduction with a lot of hands on cooking. We were able to experience preparation, knife work, cooking on the pans, and then eating the results. Most enjoyable and beneficial.

Thank RDT77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cookery_School_, Public Relations Manager at Cookery School at Little Portland Street, responded to this reviewResponded 14 April 2016

Dear RDT77

Thank you for the great review and we are delighted that you enjoyed both the classes you took. Just out of interest, is there anything we could have done differently to make it a five star experience? I notice you have given us four stars but it sounds like you had a five star time! It always helps us to improve if we know where changes could be made.

Many thanks,
The team at Cookery School

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Reviewed 11 April 2016

I joined the knife skills course, the first time that I've had any formal instruction in cooking. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but was immediately put at ease as our 8-strong group was served coffee and cheese & herb scones on arrival. The group ranged from a 12 year old to rather more accomplished cooks, all of whom were eager to learn new skills.

We prepped fruit and vegetables for an apple cake and minestrone soup. There was lots of fine chopping too for a handmade pesto. More accomplished skills were required for the fish dish, with the filleting knife coming into play.

Everything was cooked by our tutor Stefan, who also provided for the one vegetarian in the group. The cooking smells were delicious, and it was an unexpected delight to be invited to sit and natter over lunch and enjoy the fruits of our labour over a glass of wine.

Whether for you or as a gift for a loved one, I thoroughly recommend this class. My plan is to move onto more complex areas of cooking now, with regional food classes, especially Thai, also on the list.

Thank Porth_man
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cookery_School_, Public Relations Manager at Cookery School at Little Portland Street, responded to this reviewResponded 14 April 2016

Dear Porth_man, thank you so much for the wonderful review! So pleased you enjoyed the class and we hope to see you again soon, perhaps on the Thai class. Best wishes, the team at Cookery School

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Reviewed 3 April 2016

This was the first time I have taken a course at this cookery school and the purpose was a 60th birthday surprise for a colleague.

First of all, I want to give praise to the organisation of the course, choice of entrées that were to be prepared and the excellent chef, Stefan. He was very enthusiastic and had a great sense of humour, which is very important when you have a mix of people at different levels of experience. We also were allowed to take home our boned and stuffed chicken in a cooler bag, which was another nice plus. At the end of the day we were also given a packet of recipe cards which would help us to replicate the entrées we had cooked/tasted.

What I found a bit lacking, though, was the size of the venue and the way the lesson room was equipped. We were divided into a group of 4 which shared a small table and there were only 2 induction stoves that had to be shared and we weren't allowed to come close to the ovens at all. One had to spend a lot of time watching other people taking turns cracking eggs, stirring pots, sectioning oranges and browning meat when, for the money, I expected much more hands-on experience and being able to prepare an entrée from beginning to end.. Some people would be OK with this, but if one, like myself, has taken many cookery courses in larger kitchens where every two people have their own work station with their own stove and oven, the learning level was much lower than expected.

Otherwise, the food tasted great and there was a lot of it. The wines which were offered were excellent and spending time with my fellow students was very enjoyable.

I would highly recommend this cookery school to people that are beginners looking for a good time with limited hands-on work in the company of other lovely people. But if you have had lots of cooking experience and seriously want to work on perfecting your skills, I would recommend looking for another venue which offers larger and better-equipped kitchens and more advanced hands-on learning.

One small thing that would make a great difference is offering some kind of fresh sallad or fruit during the dinner. When having a meal consisting of only meat and poultry with rice/risotto, most of the colors/textures are shades of brown and rather soft. To be able thoroughly enjoy the delicious meats, one has to be able to cleanse the palate with something crispy, crunchy and/or acidic between the tastings.

Thank MissDRM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cookery_School_, Owner at Cookery School at Little Portland Street, responded to this reviewResponded 5 April 2016


Dear MissDRM

Thank you for your valuable feedback. It helps us understand the needs of our students which are diverse. I must apologise for the fact that you did not have a green vegetable or salad. That was an oversight and, as you so rightly point out, necessary with a meal that is protein and starch heavy. We do usually provide these necessary components so will ensure that in future lessons, this does happen as arranged. This class is a wee bit of an anomaly as we suggest that everyone uses smaller amounts of protein in their meals and lots of vegetables and pulses as this is healthier and far more sustainable. As sustainability is at the heart of all that we do, doing a meat and poultry only class is unusual. It is therefore even more strange that no green veg or salad was provided.

It is probably worth explaining how our teaching works as we do this differently from many other cookery schools that provide individual or small group work stations for their pupils. We do not as we believe that it is more important to cover the range of dishes that we do rather than have each person or couple making only a few in the allotted time. If we worked in the way that you are accustomed to in other schools, we could not cover the scope that you did. During the 5.5 hours of cooking you all individually deboned and stuffed the chicken that you took home on ice, you learnt to make grilled duck breasts with a fresh orange sauce, braised guinea fowl served with herbed Basmati and wild rice, a chicken liver pate, grilled spatchcocked chicken, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, a Provencal lamb stew and grilled steak with a bearnaise sauce. The dishes are many and diverse and the way that we manage to teach that number – so that everyone leaves us understanding the various techniques that can be applied to cooking meat and poultry - is to allocate dishes to each small group to make. We stop everyone periodically, at critical times in the making of the various dishes, so that everyone in the class can see what their peers are doing in cooking a particular dish. That way, not only does everyone make their dish (or two) but learns how to make all the other dishes too. The teacher also has everyone participating in some techniques that are vital to good flavour eg learning how to brown meat and poultry and browning onions. We have been teaching this way since our inception and find that it has worked well as it gives an overview and knowledge of a particular topic in a relatively short space of time – in this case, of meat and poultry.

It is only fair to explain why we do what we do and our equipment policy. I am sure that you did not find that you ran out of equipment at any time. Because of our strict Food Hygiene and Health and Safety policies, we keep all our equipment behind closed doors and supply it as required. The only people with access to storage areas or cupboards are our staff. If someone has, for example, been touching a contaminant and they touch the cupboard doors or clean equipment within cupboards, everything becomes contaminated and can be a risk to health. You probably noticed that we have a huge number of processors and mixers out. We have the same volume of equipment stored out of public view. We take huge pride in the way that our kitchens are kept and that we have 5 star hygiene rating from Westminster Council.

The kitchen that you were in is 1000 square feet in size and we regularly have classes of 16 people or private parties of 30 people cooking in it. Perhaps because this class was not using all of the space, it may have appeared to be smaller than it really is. There were 10 people in the class so it ought to have felt very spacious and comfortable. Many of our clients ask if they can use our smaller kitchen when there are up to 12 people as they find that they ‘float’ in the kitchen that the meat and poultry class was held.

We offer a range of courses and classes aimed at different levels of experience and try, as far as we can, to describe accurately on our website what is learnt in each class. If you feel that your learning was lacking, we would happily invite you to another class aimed at a more advanced learner. Please do make contact with us if this is the case and we will sort this out.

Stefan is a great cook and teacher and was happy to know that you enjoyed the food that was cooked along with our carefully chosen organic wines.

Cooking with lovely people is a treat and the conviviality that results is part of what makes them so memorable so we are pleased that you left having had an enjoyable time at Cookery School.

Please do come back to us either here or on info@cookeryschool.co.uk if you feel that we have not addressed any of the issues that you brought to our attention.

Best wishes
Rosalind

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Reviewed 12 March 2016 via mobile

Received a voucher for fish classes from my wife. Used it today and it was great even for someone who cooks for 10 years. Exchanging ideas and recipes with chefs was one thing, making even easy and common food with a bit of twist was the other. Highly recommended for anyone! Well done John and Stefan!

Thank Bart L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cookery_School_, Public Relations Manager at Cookery School at Little Portland Street, responded to this reviewResponded 16 March 2016

Hi Bart L,

Thank you so much for the wonderful review! I will pass on your compliments to John and Stefan who will be delighted to hear that. We hope to see you back here again soon.

Many thanks,
The team at Cookery School

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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