How to find the best cookery schools in the UK
Fancy learning bread making, butchery or going on an Italian skills course? There’s so much to choose from, and here’s how to find the best cookery schools in the UK, with ICSA.
Have you been on a cookery course and come away from it a little bit deflated? Did you want to want to get hands-on but ended up just watching someone else cook? The truth is pretty much anyone can set themselves up as a ‘cookery school’ and start selling courses to unsuspecting individuals. So how can you tell if a cookery course is a good one? ICSA can help.
What is ICSA?
ICSA is the Independent Cookery Schools Association. It’s the only independent, non-profit, regulatory body for cookery schools in the UK. Founded by some of the most established and outstanding cookery schools, as well as a board of top-notch directors from various foodie backgrounds, ICSA is there to help maintain the quality of cookery schools.
About their schools
In order for a school to become a member of the association they have to be assessed and accredited to the highest standard. You can be confident that if you go to an accredited school, you will receive the best teaching in a professional environment. The schools are in unrivalled locations, including Billingsgate Fish market, The Artisan School of Food at Welbeck Country Estate in Sherwood Forest, and Ashburton Cookery School on the edge of Exmoor. You can see all the schools on their website.
Accreditation is typically based on criteria such as the quality of produce used and supplier relationships, size of classes, the workspace available for attendees, seasonal use of ingredients, social and community engagement, but most of all, accreditation depends on the excellence of the teaching and the expertise of the tutor as well as the passion and engagement from within the school. If a cookery school carries the ICSA kitemark seal of approval, you can be sure that they’ve met the relevant criteria of excellence as an educational training establishment and that they belong to an association of cookery schools you can rely on to deliver consistent high standards in all areas of teaching and practice.
About their chefs
ICSA’s accredited chefs range from Michelin recognised and TV celebrity chefs through to industry leaders including Caroline Waldegrave OBE founder of Leiths School of Food and Wine, Rosemary Shrager, Jean Christophe Novelli whose Academy was voted as top 25th cookery school in the world.
So, no matter if you’d like to learn nose-to-tail butchery, or cook a Michelin show-stopper at home, or you may even be a complete beginner. And whether you want a half day, full day, a residential vocational courses at one of the great teaching kitchens or a luxury weekend in a stately home, each accredited school can offer something for every skill level or taste.