Sustainability is a hot topic amongst all fields of business so when we saw that Cookery School had launched a new class called Sustainable Kitchen we
Sustainability is a hot topic amongst all fields of business so when we saw that Cookery School had launched a new class called Sustainable Kitchen we were interested. Cookery School has attempted to bring sustainablity to life by having lively discussions on the elements that we need to consider on a day to day basis and a practical component. I thought instantly turn to the businesses who are interested in the events but also are interested in environmental causes. With the raft of articles on millennialis seeing corporate social responsibility ethical reasons for selecting a workplace, we decided to take a look and speak to the owner and founder of the cookery school, Rosalind Rathouse about how the business works.
Can you tell us a little about how the classes started and any key people in the business
Cookery School started because I was working as a study skills tutor, teaching a boy who wanted to learn to cook but as there were only a few cookery schools in London at the time, he was unable to find a place. As I had a cookery school many years before in South Africa. The idea progressed and Cookery School at Little Portland Street was born. Jacob, the student, did a summer course the following year and learnt the rudiments of cooking.
Why do you stand out in the space?
Cookery School has become well known for the quality of its food using best possible ingredients (and they really are the very best possible, most of them organic and there is never any compromising on quality and provenance of our ingredients). Our flour comes straight from Shipton Mill, dairy from Yeo Valley, eggs from Rookery Farm, Kent, organic meat from Rhug and/or Sheepdrove Farm, all of our fish is British and line caught and so on. Our corporate menus change seasonally and we use as much locally grown produce as we can throughout the year. This is so important as it reduces carbon footprint hugely.
We no longer use cling film and tin foil only very occasionally and then it is recycled foil. More than 85% of our waste is recycled, even oil and coffee grounds!
We use Good Energy which emanates from wind farms and as much grey water as we can for rinsing off utensils which are then put through our efficient automatic washing machines.
Our cleaning products are supplied by Delphis and are chlorine and sulphite free – as well as being perfume free. We have used these for many years and love them.
These are a few of the more outstanding initiatives that we have implemented and try to share with those attending Cookery School.
Sustainability seems key for you.
Last year we had a L2 single unit course called Sustainable Kitchen accredited by OCN. We are rolling it out this year to the public as teaches those that are keen on learning more about sustainability in the kitchen how very easy it is to achieve it. So far it has been completed by our staff, our suppliers and one tranche of our professional Cook’s Certificate students. Everyone has been surprised at what fun they have had and how much they have learnt!
When people come to us for a corporate event, whether team building or purely entertainment, they leave us having learnt something as well as having fun.
What are your classes all about?
Good home cooking. We do not do fussy restaurant food that myriads of sauces that do not work together or topped with bits of greenery but teach those visiting Cookery School at Little Portland Street how to cook delicious food using best possible ingredients.
We do a range of courses and classes from those for rank beginners to those wanting to learn advanced skills of all sorts. We offer a range of classes and course, from our best sellers – Meat & Poultry and Fish & Shellfish to regional food classes such as Indian.
Our corporate events offer team building with the opportunity for a competitive element. With the rise in popularity of baking shows like Great British Bake Off, many of our corporate clients are keen to introduce a competitive element to their events and a corporate bake off competition is the perfect way to do this! Over the years we have had corporates from all sector, from banking to fashion.
What kind of people are booking?
We still see mainly those in the mid twenties to mid thirties age range. However we have an increasing number of men coming to classes – sometimes there are even more men than women in them. More recently we have seen an increase in older people wanting to learn and also very keen kids.
Do you see an increase in bookings at a certain time of the year?
Christmas time sees us booking huge amounts of corporate parties and the first months of the year see a huge surge in people wanting to learn to cook. In the summer we do lot of gap year classes and once the weather changes and people are no longer outside as much as they were in the summer, their thoughts turn to indoor pursuits and from September onwards classes are super busy again.
What are the benefits of attending?
The benefits of attending Cookery School at Little Portland Street classes is that the fear (that some people voice) is taken out of cooking and we show our easy it is to acquire new skills and to replicate them at home with confidence. Once people learn about us, many return over and over again to hone their cooking skills and to learn new recipes and techniques.
Would you classify your classes as an employee reward or in the team building space, or both?
Definitely both. We often have teams coming in where they are given a great event as a thank you for work well done. It is also a really good opportunity to catch up in a relaxed environment with colleagues whilst cooking alongside each other. Once the cooking is done, there is something very special about sharing a meal that the whole team has had a hand in producing. Our food is really delicious and everyone leaves us feeling that their time at Cookery School has been memorable.
What sort of feedback have you been getting?
We have wonderful feedback – here’s a recent review from this month on Trip Advisor “We held a corporate outing at the Cookery School in January 2017. We think it was our best outing yet, and we plan team-building events all the time! We had about 23 employees participate in a cooking competition. We chose the Italian menu because we thought tortellini, lamb, and profiteroles with chocolate would be good choices. We were right! After putting our cooking skills to the test, we all sat down for a nice dinner and were able to enjoy the food we prepared. Everything was delicious, especially paired with lots of wine 🙂 In addition to the food being great, the staff was amazing. They were entertaining and great teachers. The event was a great team-building activity because we worked in teams where everyone had a role, we had to communicate effectively because it was a competition, and we were able to relax toward the end of the night and catch-up over a delicious meal. We are already thinking about doing another outing there.”
What is the benefit of cookery over a different day out or reward?
The main benefit is that everyone, apart from having lots of fun and having time to know colleagues better in an out of office environment, leaves us having learnt a worthwhile skill. Everyone takes away a pack of cards with recipes of all dishes made during their time at Cookery School. We often have groups returning who tell us that they are still making dishes that they learnt on their last visit – sometimes even a few years prior to their current visit.
What plans have you got for this year?
This year the Cookery School Handbook will be launched. It is quite the opposite to a coffee table book but one that begs to be taken into the kitchen and used. It reflects our ethos of being direct and straightforward in all that we do. That is one of the corner stones of sustainability and that pervades all that we do from time of booking through to the event itself where dietary requirements are all taken into consideration and everyone is made to feel at ease and to know that they will turn out truly delicious food.
How and where can people book?
Bookings for corporate events can be made through our corporate website www.corporatecookery.co.uk where a contact message is sent. Someone in our office makes immediate contact and the booking made. Our site contains details of the type of events that we do and menus.