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Food Tour and Single Day cooking classes in London?

I am visiting London in mid-Feb. I'm very interested in taking a food-related walking tour of markets or restaurant kitchens and/or single session cooking class while I am there.

Can anyone make recommendations?

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  1. I strongly recommend Jenny Klinec's classes over at http://www.eatdrinktalk.co.uk/

    As for markets, I'd just turn up at Borough Market early on Saturday morning and have a noodle around.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Howard V

      This sounds like a great suggestion. These classes are all about 70 pounds each. I suppose that's fair, but in US$ that's $140 for a class that's only a few hours long. Are they that good?

      1. re: gochrisgo

        Well £70 sounds very reasonable to a Londoner, but probably doesn't to an American given the exchange rate at the moment (and the fact that things are cheaper in the US anyway). As for the classes, they're very good - Jen knows what she's doing and is a fun and enthusiastic tutor too. Out of the current crop of courses the one with the chef from Les Trois Garcons also looks good. Also check out this for a good description of a class, from a friend of mine who's a pretty mean cook to start with: http://bill-please.blogspot.com/2006/...

        1. re: gochrisgo

          I've been to a few classes in London and I think that Eat Drink Talk are easily the most enjoyable - they manage to be massively informative, educational and great fun. Regarding the cost - the price includes not only instruction but also samples of top class ingredients and a full meal, so I think its pretty good value. Overall, I think that the originality of recipes as well as the high quality of ingredients sets Eat Drink Talk apart - its a new school but already seems to be attracting attention from TimeOut and the like so they're clearly doing something right.

          Borough-wise, early is always best...

      2. Celia Brooks does gastro tours for the American Women's Club from time to time but her tours are also open to the public. See here: http://www.celiabrooksbrown.com/gastr...

        1. i think leiths in notting hill has some good courses . not sure how lenghty they are .

          1. Divertimenti do decent courses (depending what your interest is, of course) at their shops in Marylebone and Knightsbridge. I think Books for Cooks in Notting Hill used to run courses - anyone know if they still do?

            Borough Market might be a bit easier on Friday, crowds-wise, or else go v. early on Saturday.

            1 Reply
            1. re: SpikeyD

              Books for cooks still run the courses (or they did when I was in there pre-Christmas) but both books for cooks and divertimenti's courses have been full every time I have tried.
              As for borough on friday vs saturday, it is busy both days but I find friday more bearable, only trouble is I have to go on the occasional saturday as there are some stalls that aren't there any other day of the week. Brown and Forrest and the Isle of Wight garlic company for example - then I do get there early and leave before I feel the need to shout at the idiot who has brought their double buggy!
              I have a feeling there is something in the back of timeout's London shopping guide (in the food sectino - I know, shocking) about a walking tour - it also has lots of foodie haunts listed. I don't have a copy but someone else may...

            2. I've been on two Books for Cooks courses. One was excellent (Persian cooking), the other just good. They are very good value as you get coffee, good biscuits and lunch of the demonstrated dishes. Also a recipe booklet. They are demonstration courses, not hands-on.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jenny Sheridan

                i have been to two classes at eat drink talk. those classes are totally hands-on. i made myself croissant (rolling the dough with butter, shape them, filled them with cocholate and bake theme). the otherr classes was about fish. i cook the best scallop ever. we got to use live diver caught scallops from scolland. yes coffee was served but also amazing champagne cocktail. it is more than a cooking course. it is a whole fun experience were you learned about food, how to cook it and have a great time. i will be for sure back very soon.

              2. Thanks for all your suggestions. I leave this Friday . . . trying to pick out the classes I'll take this weekend.

                1 Reply
                1. re: gochrisgo

                  Let us know how it goes. I'm very interested in doing some classes, too. Thanks!

                2. I know these aren't in London, but I mention them simply because of the price issue. If gochrisgo thought £70 was expensive, howzabout £740, for two days at Rick Stein's Padstow seafood school? Yes, it includes two nights at one of his hotels, etc., but ding-dong, that's a lotta cash.
                  For those hounds with deep pockets, there's a company called Gourmet on Tour that's always intrigued me. Link: www.gourmetontour.com.
                  -mighty

                  1. I recently attended a class at Eat Drink Talk http://www.eatdrinktalk.co.uk after reading all of the recommendations on this post, and I was really impressed.

                    Jennifer, the instructor, is extremely knowledgable about food and uses only the best quality ingredients. She seems to know just about everyone worth knowing in London and is happy to share lots of good advice about where to buy things. We used fresh wasabi in our class - something no one in the class had even seen before!

                    Probably the best part of the evening is making all the delicious food! Everyone joined in with the chopping and grating and peeling and everything we made turned out fantastic. I made the 'Lamb with Szechuan Pepper Spice Paste' at a recent dinner party and everyone thought I was a genius.

                    For the money - these classes are absolutely excellent value. I don't think there is anywhere else in London like it and I'd really recommend others to try a class at Eat Drink Talk.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pillowfight

                      she didn't by any chance mention where she gets the fresh wasabi from did she? i haven't found any on sale so far in london although was able to buy it from a japanese shop when i was living in Manhattan.

                      thanks.

                    2. I have to agree with the raving posts about Eat Drink Talk. I went to a Thai class here and had a really wonderful evening. We made the most authentic Thai food I've ever had - (what you get in restaurants is no comparison!) - and I learned a lot about the ingredients.

                      It's a great way to spend an evening amongst nice people and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone.

                      link: http://www.eatdrinktalk.co.uk

                      1. I attended a class at Eat Drink Talk after my wife bought me a gift voucher for Christmas. I went to a class on making Indian Flatbreads and Chutneys and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was surprised at how interactive and hands-on the classes are and at how much they manage to fit into a session. Jennifer is a really excellent teacher and really knows her stuff. Her classes seem to attract people who already know how to cook a bit - so maybe not the best for total beginners.

                        1. I second the recommendations for a cooking class at Eat Drink Talk. The instructor really knows what she's talking about and peppers her class with relevant chatter about her travels abroad. All the food is purchased from local butchers/fish mongers so the quality was excellent. We were also encouraged to bring along a bottle of wine to sip on during the class which was a nice touch. Perfect balance of observation vs. hands-on chopping. We came away from the class with a full tummy and a binder with all the recipes from the evening. I would recommend these classes to anyone whether a total novice or seasoned gourmand - there's something here for everyone.

                          1. Food at 52 has various classes - http://www.foodat52.co.uk - which are similarly priced (£70 - £85). They are good fun and Jon Benbow is generous with both his food knowledge and wine pouring. Mind you I have not tried Eat Drink Talk.

                            www.gourmet-chick.blogspot.com

                            1. www.atelierdeschefs.co.uk

                              I haven't been but the classes sound like fun....a half hour to cook lunch etc.