Sabbaticals are about more than just travel. They can be used to spend time with family, achieve a life goal or to learn a new skill.

It is on that final one we are going to focus in on today, with a guest post from Cookery School at Great Portland Street in London, who offer one month courses that would be perfect for a sabbatical.

If you’re not in London, don’t worry, there are schools across the world that offer similar courses to transform your culinary skillset.

Without further ado, I’ll hand over to Emily from Cookery School at Great Portland Street to tell you more.

Cookery School at Great Portland Street

Picture this….

…..You’ve invited friends over for dinner and promised a culinary extravaganza. While it may seem a lot of pressure to some, you’re cool as a cucumber, ready to serve dishes that are balanced and beautiful, impressing every single friend around your table.

How?

You’ve just completed the ultimate cooking course!

And if you’re in the UK, there is no-where better than Cookery School at Little Portland Street in London.

A cooking course is a great option for those looking to take a career break or sabbatical, providing an opportunity to learn something new whilst also building on your passion for food. People take sabbaticals for all sorts of reasons, it isn’t just to travel, and learning a new skill is high up that list. From improving your slicing and dicing skills, to becoming the baker you’ve always dreamed of, there’s a course for every interest. Could this be an option for your sabbatical?


About Cookery School at Great Portland Street

Just a two minute walk from Oxford Circus time station, the London Cookery School is a fantastic place to learn to cook. Founded on solid teaching principles with a straightforward, hands-on approach, students leave Cookery School with the skills to become a confident and independent home cook.

Cookery School’s aim is to take people back to honest, homely, delicious cooking. There is nothing cheffy or fancy about our food – we simply love sharing our ideas for delicious home-made food, using common utensils that can be found in most home kitchens. Our focus is on demystifying cooking, removing jargon and bringing back solid cooking skills, using high quality, primarily organic, sustainable ingredients.

Need to Know

  • Cook’s Certificate runs three times a year, in autumn, spring and summer
  • Total cost is £7,750 (inc. VAT) and includes the cost of OCN Level 3 certification, WSET (wine) Level 2 qualification, health & safety award, all necessary ingredients and equipment as well as a daily fresh apron. You will need to purchase your own chef’s jacket and trousers but aside from this, there are no hidden extras. 
  • It runs for six weeks, 8:45am-4:30pm from a central London kitchen and includes a week of work experience
  • No prior cooking experience is necessary, but a passion is a must!

Why Learn to Cook?

One of the most popular reasons for taking a sabbatical is to learn a skill. Why not make it one that serves you every day of the year and could potentially change your life?

Everyone has to eat, and yet, in this age of convenience, preparing meals from scratch continues to be a neglected skill. A study by HelloFresh found that Brits struggle with confidence in the kitchen, with only four in 10 knowing more than nine recipes.1

However, the benefits of cooking go beyond taste. Cooking can exercise the brain and provides an excuse for social interaction, while also ensuring our bodies receive the correct nutrition – all essential attributes for encouraging cognitive fitness.

With a little bit of time on your hands, a sabbatical is the perfect time to conquer the culinary mountain, learning a lifelong skill that will positively impact your everyday life long after your break ends. 

A comprehensive course, such as the Cookery School’s Cook’s Certificate, is a great foundation on which to build your skills. It’s a six-week, full-time, intensive programme that comprehensively covers all aspects of cooking, arming you with both the competence and confidence to get creative in the kitchen. You’ll spend each day immersed in cooking, learning as much as you can and most importantly, tasting as much as you can!

While culinary trends will come and go, the core principles have remained unchanged for centuries, meaning that once you’ve got the basics down pat, you’ll be able to manoeuvre your way around a wide range of recipes. Should you discover a particular passion for one element – such as baking or cooking sustainably – you can then add to your knowledge with specialised classes. 

As with any skill, practice makes perfect. Luckily, as long as you have access to a kitchen, you’ll have ample opportunity to refine your craft, ensuring further learning and ongoing development. 


What you Could Learn

Cook's certificate cookery course in London

Programmes such as the Cook’s Certificate aim to provide extensive culinary training, imparting you with knowledge that lasts a lifetime and allowing you to build on your culinary passions. As London’s most sustainable cooking school, it also has a huge emphasis on reducing your footprint and cooking in a way that doesn’t negatively affect the environment. 

A sample of topics covered on the Cook’s Certificate include:

  • Fish & shellfish
  • Meat & poultry
  • Salads, dressings and vegetables
  • Roasts & Yorkshire pudding
  • Pasta, risotto, gnocchi
  • Indian food
  • Middle Eastern food
  • Thai food
  • Pastry: puff, shortcrust, sweet shortcrust & choux 
  • Bread
  • Cake making
  • Biscuits, macarons, scones, muffins & pancakes
  • Gelatine, custards, mousses
  • Eggs
  • Ice cream & sorbet
  • Chocolate: moulding and tempering
  • Preserves and pickles
  • Catering planning 
  • Recipe sourcing
  • Budgeting 
  • Sustainable & seasonal sourcing

The wide range of cooking courses available mean that whatever your interest, there’s bound to be something that takes your fancy. 


Where Could it Take you?

A course like the Cook’s Certificate will generally result in a formal qualification, meaning it could also prove helpful should you be looking to change careers completely. It can provide a foot in the door to many restaurants, catering companies or other hospitality businesses, or even provide the foundational skills to open your own endeavour.

If food remains solely a passion, the experiences you gain on a cooking course will put you in good stead to be a brilliant home cook! Depending on the type of course you do, you could be whipping up beautiful baked goods, tasty three-course dinners and work lunches that will have everyone in the office salivating in jealousy. You’ll be entertaining with ease, impressing friends left, right and centre with your creations. 


What Next?

So, you’re ready for a break. The first thing is to identify what type of cooking course you’d like to do. This will influence when you take your sabbatical, how long you take it for and how much money you’ll need. For example, if you opt for something like the Cook’s Certificate, you’ll need to consider the start dates, whether you’d like to do something else (and therefore need more than six weeks off) and if you have the financial means to complete it. Should you wish to complete a shorter course, covering specific elements such as baking or vegetarianism, then it could serve as an accompaniment to a wider activity. 

If you do decide to complete a longer-form course, it’s best to register your interest as soon as possible. That way, you’ll be able to secure a place – after all, you don’t want your precious time to go to waste!

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