Setting up Cookery workshops & Cookery Experiences

My blog followers will know that since 2014, I have been teaching Indian Vegetarian and vegan Cookery to adults in local colleges as well as one to one classes with clients in their homes.

Before I started teaching, I have forgotten the number of times I had  been told that I should think of  teaching Indian Vegetarian cooking to budding chefs.  This got me thinking and I started doing some research on how best to start teaching.  And whilst it’s true you don’t actually need any qualifications to start giving private cookery lessons, you do need need experience and confidence to do this.  You would have  to share all your expert knowledge to your learners and be ready to share some of the family secret recipes too.  You also need to make sure that you have all the essential Insurance and Hygiene Safety certificates to be able to teach.

I have been very lucky that our local colleges have evening classes for adults where vegetarian cookery has become very popular.  Having the college’s facilities and staff’s backup, I started off by teaching  2 hour lessons one evening a week and enjoyed it so much that these have now continued and also been replicated in other colleges where we have even started to have Saturday Workshops on various themes. Last Saturday we had cooked a full Indian meal in 6 hours.  The menu was:

1. Tadka Dall – using split mung beans
2. Pilau Rice
3. Potato Stuffed Parathas
4. Raita – flavoured with dessicated coconut and spices
5. Mixed Vegetable Jalfrezi Curry

How did  I plan my lessons and decide the length of the lesson?  I started off by teaching just two complimentary dishes in a  two hour lesson so that students would not get overwhelmed with too much information.   Once the lessons start, I ask the students what dishes were on their wish list and often make changes to the planned lessons to include what the students would like to learn.  For example, I have now  learned that Tadka Dall, Alu Gobi and Saag Alu are always on every one’s wish list.

How did I plan what I was going to teach?  I started off by ensuring that the dishes we made were familiar to the students so I chose all the popular vegetarian dishes you get in an Indian restaurant and also ensured that the ingredients would be available locally. I always gave them the list of ingredients in plenty of time to enable them to buy the products. At the same time, I gave them a list of extra equipment they will need such as Kitchen paper,aluminium foil or casserole dishes so that they could carry home what they had cooked.  During these lessons I often too some home made dishes for them to taste and that’s how we included the theplas, farsi pooris and various other pooris in our cookery lessons.

How did I plan the lesson so that it finished on time?  I always make sure that my lesson plan is written down so that the lesson has structure and  finishes on time.  The lesson plan includes time for introduction, finding out a bit about the students and what their expectations of the day are etc.  With Indian cooking, often preparation is important so each step is written down so that nothing gets missed.

What is my  unique selling point?  I teach very easy to make vegetarian and vegan dishes with locally sourced ingredients. All the items we cook are demonstrated by me first and students get a chance to taste them too before creating their dishes.

Future Plans:  I would love to setup my home as an AirBnB and offer vegetarian and vegan cookery lessons to guests who stay with us. Hopefully, I will be able to make changes to our home to make this possible.  Watch this space for more details.  You must be wondering how I got this idea? My son who helps my blog a lot behind the scenes, is travelling to Japan and was looking for a vegan cookery experience and we got details of airKitchen who provides foreign travelers with a chance to visit ordinary Japanese family home’s to cook and eat home-cooked meals together with local hosts.  It has an Airbnb-esque in the fact that you can book cooking classes at local’s homes all over Japan.  They have a lot of  vegan and vegetarian friendly cookery classes all over Japan. Whether you go for a full  day or just an afternoon of the cookery lesson, it is a brilliant way to get the local experience. I am sure these lessons will provide lots of  entertainment whilst  learning from the professional chefs,  I wish I had had the opportunity to try this out when I went to Japan.

Would you be interested in a Cookery Experience whilst on Holiday? Contact me for more information.

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