Ready, Steady, Cook, the Northern Ireland way.


Have you noticed how many cookery schools and food tours there are in Northern Ireland these days? We haven’t been on any yet, but we have no doubt that will change. Northern Ireland isn’t just known for the good old Ulster Fry any more as the vibrant and exciting NI food scene is gaining a world-renowned reputation on the culinary map. We have an abundance of high quality home grown produce and the seafood, beef, lamb and dairy produce can be ranked amongst the best in the world.

With food becoming a key ingredient of Northern Ireland’s identity and the numerous food schools and tours, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) are helping things along a bit, and they said,

“With such excellent produce, it is little wonder that a number of cookery schools have popped up in recent years.”

“These schools offer a fun way of learning new skills and with many of the cookery schools offering gift vouchers this could be the perfect treat for a loved one this Valentine’s Day”

So where can we all learn how to cook?

The most recent addition to cookery schools in Belfast is Cookery School at James Street South. Watch and learn from professional chefs and people involved in the food industry with cookery sessions that range between two hour demonstrations to five hour practical classes.

Belle Isle School of Cookery in Co. Fermanagh, have diploma courses available as well as one day and weekend courses for all levels of cooking ability. There are also evening demonstration classes which are accompanied by a glass of wine and plenty of tasting.

In Kilkeel (known as the ‘seafood capital of the Mournes’) you’ll find the Mourne Seafood Cookery School. The school has state-of-the-art teaching kitchens and courses available under the supervision of head chef Jonathan Hall. Visitors can also opt to take a deep-sea angling trip to catch their own fish to cook.

Lizzie’s Kitchen in Drumbo is where Lizzie Kennedy, who has a cordon bleu diploma from the Tante Marie cookery school, invites people to cook with her in her own home. Classes include themes such as dinner parties, al fresco entertaining, cooking for crowds and seasonal entertaining.

Orchard Acre Farm in Irvinestown, Co. Fermanagh, concentrates on all things eco friendly – including courses which encompass beauty, craft, food, cookery and gardening. Here you can learn about baking Irish breads and making butter as well as traditional stews and soups.

My Little Kitchen Cookery School in Greysteel, Co. Londonderry is the only cookery school in the North West area. Run by husband and wife team Phillip and Nuala Ford, it offers a range of fun and contemporary cookery classes and demonstrations in a relaxed environment.

Cook with Norah (Norah Brown MBE) in her kitchen at Grange Lodge Country House, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, and see first-hand how entertaining is made easy and cooking for a family needn’t be difficult. There are specially arranged morning, afternoon and evening programmes showcasing the best use of seasonal local produce.

As you can see there are plenty of opportunities to learn how to cook across NI, and some great Valentine’s gift opportunities as well! Tomorrow we’ll bring you some more details on the various tours available.

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