A long-standing collaborator of Prue Leith’s, Lesley Waters led the chef’s life in London for many years, working first in restaurant kitchens, then donning the head tutor’s whites at Leith’s School of Food & Wine – so you know you’re in good hands when it comes to teaching. Having swapped the city for the rolling fields of West Dorset, Lesley now runs her own cookery school from a panoramically endowed patch of countryside just south of Yeovil, where she leads hands-on day and half-day classes for up to 12 at a time. Patient, relaxed and brimming with energy, Lesley makes a terrific tutor, and her courses are a great option for tentative cooks who need a little coaxing into the kitchen, as well as more confident home chefs keen to try new cuisines or techniques. Focused on authentic, heartfelt cooking using fine fresh ingredients rather than fanciful fine-dining flourishes, the school’s course calendar spans the nitty-gritty of seasonal entertaining, with frequent forays into regional cuisines including Italian, Indian, Thai and rustic French. For those who prefer to watch and learn, demonstration days offer an opportunity to sit back and take note as Lesley and the team take you through an array of dishes step-by-step, but whatever you plump for, you’re guaranteed a hearty lunch, a glass of wine, and a few laughs along the way.