With a total of 12 restaurants, bars, and cafés in the south-east, Rick Stein is the unofficial emperor of the Cornish coast. His imperial seat is the once-sleepy village of Padstow, now a point of pilgrimage for gastronomes in search of superlative seafood – and for those who want to know how to cook it. Since it opened on the banks of the Camel Estuary in 2000, the Rick Stein Cookery School has offered its acolytes expert-led low-downs on every aspect of preparing and serving fish and seafood, from boning and filleting round and flat fish to cleaning and cooking clams. As you’d expect from a school with a fleet of fishing vessels at its disposal, the raw ingredients are as fresh as it gets, coming straight from the sea to the kitchen with nought but a boat ride in between. The two-, one- and half-day classes are led by head chef tutor Nick Evans – a stalwart of Stein’s restaurants – and his team, and take place in a spacious, spotless and thoroughly modern classroom, teched out with big screens over the demo area so students don’t miss any out on the action. Despite its fishy forte, the school’s courses extend beyond the ocean, encompassing regional cuisines such as Indian, Italian and Thai, as well as landlubberly fare including meat, baked goods and game.