The Best Vegan Cooking Class in London

Being vegan is becoming more and more prevalent in modern society, but there is an ongoing misconception that vegan food is sub-par to food from animal products. This is simply not the case and there are a number of chefs that are willing to show you how you definitely do not have to sacrifice your favourite meals once you go vegan. You may not even be vegan yourself, but feel like understanding an alternative lifestyle. Either way, these cooking courses will never make you feel like you are getting anything less than the very best.

These kinds of courses are also particularly helpful for people trying to become vegan but struggling with the cost of meat replacement products. Yes, these artificial meat products are a great way to wean meat from your diet, but working with natural, normal ingredients available at shops is not difficult – you just need some guidance. So, here it is.

1. Cookery School at Little Portland Street

Cookery School at Little Portland Street has two vegan cooking courses that are both designed to set you up for a delicious and rewarding time in the kitchen, both on the day of the course as well as once you take your skills home. Both of them are food events in London and worth your undivided attention.

The All Day Vegan course focuses on natural, raw ingredients and how to manipulate them such that you get all the nutrients you need. All their ingredients are additive-free and they do not believe in using meat substitutes. This is the prime place to learn about how to use fresh ingredients and absorb all the nutritional goodness nature has on offer. You will get to gorge yourself on everything you have made at the end of the course, whilst sipping on vegan wine.

A Vegan Winter is a really helpful and relevant course. There is a bit of an incorrect notion that vegan means cold foods, or salads. But this course shows you how wholesome and rich vegan foods can be, keeping you warm and satisfied during the colder months. Hearty soups, pies and quiches are just some of the wonderfully filling and nourishing items on the menu!

Contact: 020 7631 4590

Address: 15 Little Portland St, Marylebone, London W1W 8BW

2. Food at 52

Food at 52 has two courses to show you the wonder of cooking vegan food, and really emphasise how vegan food should not be associated with something being missing, just something different.

The first course is a general vegan class, which puts a heavy focus on new and exciting ways to cook plant-based food. The trouble many people have before attending a course like this is not the motivation or even the access to products, but simply the absence of variation and inspiration. With the number of recipes you will be tempted to try on leaving Food at 52, that should never be a worry again!

The second course is more specific – it is an Italian vegan class. It is so informative and fun that it runs less like a cooking class and more like food events in London. One thing that vegans tend to miss if converting to veganism is dairy products like cheese and milk, which appear to be pillars of Italian cooking. This course shows you that this is not the case and that this ethical-swap does not mean sacrificing your love for the enchanting Italian cuisine. Most importantly for some, you will learn how to make fresh pasta without egg!

Contact: 07814 027067

Address: 96 Central St, London EC1V 8AJ

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3. The Avenue Cookery School

The Avenue Cookery School is arguably your best bet if you are looking to explore the boundaries of vegan cuisine – mainly because it ends up proving once and for all that there are no boundaries and that vegan diets are limitless when you are equipped with the knowledge and know-how.

The following courses are not strictly vegan, but they have the option to be entirely so on request. There is a paella workshop, where you will learn this iconic dish from Spain. Or, if it is more the nationally acclaimed food of India you are after, there is a curry course that shows you how the combination of the right spices and attitude makes for a very simple mealtime. Their falafel class is suitable for vegans – the only requirement is that you are a fan of delicious things. Their sushi and pizza classes are also vegan friendly.

Then we move on to their courses which are specifically vegan, which are particularly educational and wonderfully specific, ensuring you are armed with the best skills and recipes to turn your kitchen into a plant-based haven. There are too many classes to list them all, but the most popular are: Vegan Easy Christmas Class, Vegan Bottomless Brunch Class, Vegan Indian Cooking Class, Vegan Bao Class and Vegan Spanish Tapas Class. None of them even have the potential to disappoint!

Contact: 020 8874 7623

Address: 3 Enterprise Way, London SW18 1FZ

4. Spice Monkey

Last, but certainly not least, is Spice Monkey cookery school. Dedicated to Indian cuisine, you can be sure to learn all the best practices about a plant-based Indian meal. People often find themselves so familiar with the lamb vindaloo and chicken tikka served in most Western-Indian eateries that they forget that a large majority of Indian cuisine is already vegetarian. It is all about the correct spices and flavours, which Spice Monkey are experts of.

The step from vegetarian to vegan is not a difficult one when you know what you are doing, and Spice Monkey make sure of that before you leave their Simply Vegan class. The course puts focus on how you can make delicious, nutritious, protein dense meals without using meat or dairy, as well as helping you achieve the dreamiest dahl recipe. A special feature of Spice Monkey is that it has the option of private lessons, meaning it can be tailored to your diet and requirements. 

Contact: 07956 468541

Address: 191 Victoria Rd, London N22 7XH

Food events in London go deeper than just food festivals or restaurants – courses such as these show that food events and experiences come in all shapes and sizes. Yes, these courses are extremely helpful for vegans looking to recreate some of their favourite dishes as well as learn how to make plant-focused meals, but it is also useful for those just looking to vary their diet, or make sure they are always able to cater for vegan guests. It is a course for everyone, that benefits everyone – especially the people you are cooking for!

The Best Sushi Cooking Class in London

One of the most popular elements of Japanese food is sushi, with sushi restaurants and conveyor belts on almost every high street in London. Though it may seem simple given its few ingredients, the process of making sushi is more complex than its small and bite-sized aesthetic lets on. Getting the seasoning of the notoriously sticky rice just right, selecting the best possible quality of fish and rolling it so that nothing drops out are just some of the tricks of the trade that you will learn about, transforming you into a food host in London.

1. School of Wok

School of Wok is the go-to for Asian cooking classes in London. It covers everything from Thai curries to Chinese wontons, from ramen to sushi. The sushi-making class on offer is three hours long, and will make you realise that you can never buy supermarket sushi again now that you know how easy it is to make it perfectly from your home!

The class, run by experts in the sushi-making field – and therefore a joy to watch in action – will focus on two major things: the sushi’s shape and its seasoning. The shape may not seem that critical, but it is the make-or-break of most pieces of sushi. You can’t have your maki unrolling in your soy sauce container, nor do you want the contents of your hand roll seeping from the bottom as soon as you take a bite. Rolling, using the sushi mat and all these elements are covered, and the hands-on approach of the teachers means that even if you are struggling, you will eventually come right. The seasoning is the next feature and this is very important. If your rice isn’t seasoned with the right balance of vinegar, you end up with a bland and boring filling to your sushi.

Contact: 020 7240 8818

Address: 61 Chandos Pl, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HG

2. Atsuko’s Kitchen

Japanese cooking made simple is how Atsuko’s Kitchen describes itself, and it is exactly what you get. Though they flourish in all-things-Japanese-cooking, as it is their only focus, their sushi-making classes are world-class. They offer two major sushi classes and both are worth your consideration, as they will both transform you into the perfect food host in London.

The first is the regular sushi-making class. The second is their vegetarian class. While the latter is less traditional, it is a great way to learn how to adapt a well-loved technique into something you too can enjoy, if you are not a fish-eater. Both courses include the basics in rice seasoning and rolling, as well as delving into the slightly more complex elements such as knife skills and sourcing sustainable fish locally. This may be in Shoreditch, but you will feel transported to the streets of Tokyo.

Contact: 07921 397792

Address: 35 Charlotte Rd, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3PB

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3. Sozai Cooking School

Naturally, all Japanese cooking schools will offer a sushi-making course, or incorporate it in one of the courses. In fact, most non-Japanese cooking schools will offer courses too – the food is that popular and the mystery behind making it that shrouded. Sozai, however, take their sushi classes to the next level, cranking things up a notch in terms of the teaching of technique.

There general courses are all available and excellent. But they offer a special class called Fish to Sushi, which is entirely dedicated to knife skills and taking a freshly bought fish from a market and transforming it into filleted chunklets, ready to be rolled into a salmon california roll. For Sozai, the process in its entirety is as important as the end bits, or the seasoning. If you want to own the creation from start to finish, then this class is unmissable.

Contact: 020 7458 4567

Address: 5 Middlesex St, Spitalfields, London E1 7AA

4. Cookery School at Little Portland Street

Cookery School at Little Portland Street is a prime example of a Western, non-specific cookery school that offers a sushi course – because, well, why not? It is delicious. But it would be unfair to say that they are not masters of this class. The number of class variety in no way detracts from their specialist approach, and their sushi class is a high contender with any of the others with a heavier Japanese focus.

A great feature of this course is that the teachers will give you a bit of a briefing about what you need in your home kitchen to make sushi-making a possibility. Not many people have a cupboard stocked with sushi rice, rolling mats and seaweed. But the course will have more tools than you can imagine, all included in the price. So, they will show you which of the equipment is mandatory, and where you can go without. They will offer tips on how to recreate techniques as well as give you a list of all the stock ingredients you need to have in your cupboard. From start to finish, you are involved and active in this course and will hopefully take a mad sprint home in order to get cracking on the next batch.

Contact: 020 7631 4590

Address: 15 Little Portland St, Marylebone, London W1W 8BW

5. London Cookery School

London Cookery School keep things simple – they do a couple of things, and they do them brilliantly. One of those things is a sushi-making class to blow your socks off. Even though the course is described as a beginners course, you leave having made as many as five different types of sushi in a mere three hours! Your beginner status doesn’t stick for long, in other words.

You leave not only with all the sushi you made over the three hours – and the platter is large and plentiful, be assured – but also with the skills to see you through a lifetime of sushi-making. Your homemade canapé selection will be transformed forever! The real focus for the chefs at London Cookery School is to say yes, it is true that the people you see making sushi in restaurants have decades of experience and mesmerizingly swift and speedy knife skills. However, that does not make it unachievable for your everyday home-chef – it just requires a clear mind and a different approach.

Contact: 07756 289779

Address: 296 Holloway Rd, London N7 6NJ

Food host in London with the most incoming on your part – your friends will have you rolling sushi for them every day once they hear how you have mastered it! Forget what you thought you knew about sushi-making’s difficulty – it can be really easy with the right guidance, and these courses have it sussed.

11 Essential Ingredients for an Italian Spread

Italian cuisine is a sensational blend of fresh produce, subtle spice and textured flavouring. For the uninitiated, Italy is synonymous with Pizza and Pasta, but Italian cuisine is way beyond these two. If you’re planning to put together an authentic Italian spread, make sure to stock your kitchen with the following essential ingredients:

1. Olive Oil

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This popular golden oil, is the first crucial step to getting your Italian flavours right. Used in almost every dish, it is recommended to select Extra Virgin Olive Oil for its potent taste. In Italy, Olive Oil is not only used as a base for cooking, but is also popularly served as a dip for fresh breads.

2. Herbs

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Flavour, texture, aroma and color – fresh herbs add all of these to the dish, and Italians know this only too well. The key ingredient for a classic pesto sauce, Basil leaves are one of the most prominent herbs used in an Italian kitchen. Along with fresh herbs, it is a good idea to keep dried herbs handy as well to add to sauces and salads. Some must have herbs besides basil are rosemary, oregano, parsley, thyme and sage.

3.  Garlic

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This should go without saying, but the all-important kick of flavour in an Italian dish is that of fresh garlic. Although it’s pungent & spicy to start with, garlic is softened in flavour when cooked right with olive oil. Always go for fresh garlic over powdered or jarred alternatives, to get the right note of spice that garlic has to offer.

4. Tomatoes

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Tomatoes are used extensively in Italian cuisine – be it soup, salads or sauces. In summers, Italians use the fresh fruits whereas throughout the winter they use canned tomatoes – so don’t be afraid to pick a can if you can’t find your ideal bunch in the produce aisle. Different recipes may call for different varieties of tomatoes so pay heed to the instructions!

5. Fresh Produce

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Italian preparations may not be very complex, using only limited ingredients but the dishes are packed with flavour that is fresh. Vegetables such as zucchini, peppers, artichokes and onions are used in plentiful. Another popular feature of Italian cuisine is mushrooms, in particular the porcini mushrooms which are a common replacement for meat in vegetarian preparations of the dishes.

6. Pine nuts

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These edible seeds of pinecones, known as pinoli in Italy, are used to add a nutty and crunchy texture to Italian sauces – most prominently the pesto sauce. They are also used as a garnishing element for dishes.

7. Prosciutto

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Prosciutto, the famous dry-cured ham product of Italy can be served on its own (crudo or raw) or can added to dishes such as pizza or pasta (cotto or cooked). If you’re a meat lover, then this should be a compulsory addition to your Italian spread.

8. Fish

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Italy has plenty of regions with long stretches of coastline, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that fish is primary ingredient in many traditional Italian dishes. Most popular type of fishes include anchovies, sardines and tuna.

9. Cheese

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Arguably the most popular cheese of Italy, Parmigiano Reggiano (known as Parmesan if made outside of Italy), is what elevates Italian dishes to a whole new level with its unmistakable salty and nutty flavor. Fresh Mozzarella is another cheese that features significantly in Italian dishes. Other cheeses used commonly in Italian cooking are ricotta, gorgonzola, pecorino romano and mascarpone.

10. Balsamic Vinegar

A common fixture on any Italian dining table is the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. This dark, concentrated vinegar is often mixed with olive oil and sparingly drizzled over salads, pizza, fish and meat dishes to enhance the flavour.

11. Wine

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If you’re going to be serving an authentic Italian meal, then you simply cannot leave out a bottle of wine from your shopping list. Not only does wine pair extremely well with Italian food, it is also a popular ingredient that adds depth to Italian food. Both white and red wines are used for cooking, and each add their distinct flavour to the dish. Some recommended wines for cooking are Chianti, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and of course, the Marsala.