A LONG-STANDING dedicated cookware shop in Worcester has officially launched its own cookery school in the heart of the city.

Cookmate in Broad Street, which stocks a huge range of cooking aids and equipment from tea strainers to Le Creuset pots and pans, has this week officially opened its own cookery school above the shop.

The shop owners for the past six years Caroline and Andrew Gregory had started having informal cookery demonstrations at the back of the shop where they have an Aga cooker.

They were very popular and the pair decided to convert a storage area above the shop and offer a few different cookery classes to see how well they went.

They have now recruited a number of Worcestershire-based chefs to offer classes in the newly converted rooms and officially launched the new venture with an Italian cookery class for a few special guests including some food bloggers.

The class was taken by Droitwich-based chef and cookery equipment sales rep Paul Bough, who demonstrated Italian bread-making followed by homemade pasta with rocket pesto. The day’s students then got a chance to try the recipes for themselves.

Other chefs who will be offering their expertise at the school are Felice Tocchini (who owns Feli’s restaurant and bar at Stoulton); Steve Lyons (who runs Worcestershire catering firm All About Food); Holly Daffurn (who specialises in Asia food); Bromsgrove-based Anita Sharma James (who has her own cookery school and specialises in Indian cuisine); and Richard Swift of Swifts Bakery in Ludlow.

A spokesman for the cookery school Pam Ballone said a council grant had played a big part in getting the cookery school off the ground. “We got a business development grant from Worcester City Council to help develop the website and a business plan. We have five or six chefs we use and they have a very good pedigree and specialise in particular types of cuisine.”

She said it is hoped to take bookings for private groups, general bookings for anyone wishing to learn about particular style of cookery and corporate entertainment bookings. Once the school is in full flow, it is hoped to have a course – usually two to three hours – every fortnight and if demand is high this will become once a week.

Each course will have a different theme but the students will always have a chance to pick up some new cookery skills. Pam described it as “a place to eat, meet and learn”.

Each course can accommodate about 12 people over the age of 18, but here will be some wine and food events which can take up to 25 people. She said they hoped to attract men and women in equal numbers and would be offering gift vouchers for anyone wanting to buy a place or places on a course for a gift.