The 130-acre New Forest-nudging estate of Chewton Glen is not only home to one of the UK’s most award-laden country-house hotels, it’s also Hampshire’s go-to spot for culinary instruction – thanks to TV-chef James Martin’s cookery school. Occupying a third of the hotel’s buzzing open-kitchen brasserie, the Kitchen is rustic-meets-industrial in style with a surfeit of timber, utilitarian copper lighting and floor-to-ceiling glazing, offering views of the greenhouse, vegetable garden and the countryside beyond. You might even spy the white bob-tail of a bunny hopping past.
Under the culinary navigation of James Martin, and talented chef-tutor Steve Bulmer, the course calendar offers learning for all ability levels; from kids and grown-up beginners seeking expert guidance from Steve and the seasoned pros on the teaching team, to accomplished cooks eager to tap into the roster of acclaimed visiting chefs such as Galton Blakiston, Tom Kerridge, Mich Turner MBE and, of course, Mr Martin himself. Spanning full-days, half-days and bitesize evening sessions, classes range from specific – such as perfecting puddings or discovering seafood – to world cuisines from Scandinavia to Sri Lanka. Local sourcing is close to the hotel’s heart so you’ll find much of the ingredients you work with coming from surrounding suppliers in Hampshire and Dorset, as well as heaps of fruit, vegetables and herbs fresh from the Chewton Glen gardens. Appliances are state-of-the-art, with Gaggenau stoves, Kenwood mixers and iPad recipe displays at each cooking station. No need to pack an apron; branded pinnies are provided and available to take home as a memento, along with your culinary creations – or what’s left of them, at least.