A labour of love from husband-and-wife duo Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi, La Cucina Caldesi is the educational outpost in their trio of culinary enterprises, alongside Caldesi in Campagna, their restaurant in Bray, and La Caffé Caldesi, next door to the school in Marylebone. Tucked away on a cobblestone lane, La Cucina specialises in teaching authentic Italian cooking to small groups of students in its easygoing modern kitchen (with frequent classes in the Bray restaurant and the Caldesi home in Gerrard’s Cross, Buckinghamshire, too). As you’d expect, fresh pasta and Neapolitan pizza are the school’s bread and butter, and Giancarlo’s Tuscan heritage definitely makes its presence felt on the course menus. Whether evening, weekend or daytime, Caldesi’s convivial classes typically see a menu of 5–8 dishes divvied up between about eight students, with everyone getting an opportunity to get stuck in and hands on with fresh, seasonal ingredients. By the end of the session, the group has collectively conjured up a banquet, so it’s only fitting that each class culminates in a relaxed lunch or dinner, accompanied – naturally – by Italian wines. As well as Katie and Giancarlo, the tutoring team includes a stellar roster of Italian chefs and cookbook authors, including award-winning patissier and head chef Stefano Borella, regional pasta specialist Carmela Sereno Hayes and prolific teacher, writer and Italian cuisine evangelist Ursula Ferrigno. La Cucina Caldesi is especially good on children’s cookery classes, with regular courses for 6–12s and teens, and offers bespoke classes for groups.
Italian Street Food (evening): £45
Fresh Pasta for Novices (evening): £95
Pizza Pizza Pizza!: £110
Sicily: Recipes From an Italian Island: £160
The Essential Italian: £160
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