Dean Close Cookery School is proud to offer a unique professional cookery facility nestled within the traditional school campus. The state of the art cookery school offers an extensive menu of culinary opportunities for pupils across all year groups, embracing the ethos that excellent education includes a broad preparation for life as well as academic qualifications. Led by Maria Taylor, Head of Dean Close Cookery School, the programme seeks to develop confident, capable cooks whilst providing valuable life skills, an enjoyment of fresh food and an understanding of healthy eating.

Maria’s aim is that pupils will leave Dean Close with the confidence to find a recipe, shop for ingredients and get stuck into cooking – be it a birthday cake for a friend, meal for flat mates at university or a celebration dinner for family and friends. A knowledge of the many benefits of preparing and cooking fresh ingredients and the pleasure that comes from sharing a meal together is also top of Maria’s agenda, as well as an understanding of shopping seasonally and on a budget.

In addition to a wide range of whole school events from ‘The Great Dean Close Menu’ house cookery challenge to individual house baking sessions for charity cake sales, all pupils at Dean Close have the opportunity to cook throughout their time at School.

  • Fourth Form Cookery has a place in the Personal Development carousel, where all pupils will learn a range of basic cookery skills and an understanding of the Eat Well Guide (the Government’s Healthy Eating Strategy) through some classic recipes such as Tomato basil pasta sauce and Chicken fajitas.
  • Remove and Fifth Form have the opportunity to study a brand new Food Preparation and Nutrition GCSE, full of current and varied content including food science, health related food issues and a range of useful cooking skills.
  • MAA (Monday afternoon activity) sessions offer pupils the chance to cook a wide range of classic and contemporary dishes in a more relaxed and informal setting. The Remove ‘Cake and Bake’ classes cover favourites such as Victoria sponge cake, chocolate biscuit slice and homemade bread with the emphasis purely on baking. Fifth Form ‘How to Cook’ teaches classics such as shepherds pie, pesto topped salmon, lasagne and Pavlova; and Sixth Form ‘Cooking for Life’ covers healthy budget recipes including a Thai sweet potato and chicken curry, traditional apple crumble and everyone’s favourite spaghetti bolognaise.
  • Sixth Form have the opportunity to study the professional ‘Leiths Basic Certificate in Food and Wine’ run at Dean Close in conjunction with the prestigious ‘Leiths School of Food and Wine’ in London. This professional culinary qualification is offered on timetable as part of the Enrichment Programme and off timetable during lunchtimes and evenings for students. At the other end of the spectrum is the Sixth Form ‘Sunday Roast Club’ offering the chance to learn how to cook a roast dinner with all the trimmings, together with a fresh fruit crumble, before sitting down to enjoy together on a Sunday afternoon.
  • Skills Week brings an opportunity for pupils to choose a variety of half day hands on practical cookery courses such as ‘Summer Baking for Picnics’ or ‘A Summer Dinner Party’ as well as the ever popular ‘Eat for a week for £25’which introduces the Lower Sixth to delicious new budget recipes for university from sausage and bean hotpot to sweetcorn fritters with fresh tomato salsa.
  • Holiday Children’s Cookery Courses complete the wide and varied menu of cookery opportunities – from pasta making to Halloween baking there is never a dull moment at Dean Close Cookery School – where cooking and enjoying good food really is at the heart of our home.