The Mersea Island Cookery School

Interactive, hands-on cooking classes with top chefs from busy successful restaurants in a relaxed and friendly environment.

The school primarily uses seasonal and local produce with classes that range from pastry and baking to seasonal entertaining and cuisine from around the world. You will be shown how to select fresh ingredients and how to prepare them for cooking.

The courses that we offer are aimed at everyone regardless of ability or cooking experience, from the complete beginner to the more experienced. We also offer classes for those with special dietary needs such as gluten free. The classes are small and intimate, to ensure an attentive and informative experience.

More information about our courses and the latest available course dates.

About us

The Mersea Island Cookery School was set up by Amanda Woodcraft. Ben and Amanda Woodcraft run a thriving business on Mersea Island supplying restaurants with fish and other produce called Ben's Fish. With such wonderful ingredients on their doorstep a cookery school seemed like a good idea.

The school is in a restored, listed, traditional Essex barn, with views accross the Blackwater estuary, and lends itself well to a cookery workshop.

With the expertise and help of Ilia Makri and Jo Mould the school offers a unique and special cooking experience.

Where to find us

The Mersea Island Cookery School is situated, as you might guess, on Mersea Island in Essex. Mersea Island is 10 miles from Colchester which has a direct rail service from London Liverpool Street station which takes just 50 minutes. The school is located in the village of East Mersea and can be found in Rewsalls Lane near the Mersea Island Vineyard.

Directions

From Colchester follow the B1025 Mersea Road towards Mersea. When you cross the Strood causeway to get onto the island take the left hand fork, turning towards East Mersea. After about 1 mile (shortly after the East Mersea sign) turn right into Rewsalls Lane, sign posted to Mersea Outdoors and the Mersea Island Vineyard.

Mersea Island Cookery School is located in the converted barn about 200m down Rewsalls Lane on the left hand side.

Find us on Google Maps

Please contact us for more information.

 

Course Dates

Stocks and Sauces
Tuesday 6th November
Learn what makes a great sauce and how to choose the right sauce that will complement your meal. You'll make, Brown chicken stock, Fish stock, Chicken and thyme jus, White wine and tarragon sauce, Hollandaise, Mayonnaise, Salsa Verde, Crème Anglaise
Fish: how to prepare and cook
Thursday 8th November
Learn how to choose fish, prepare it and cook it. Based on what is seasonally available, we'll have two types of fish for you to fillet and cook, plus some seafood. The course involves demonstrations, instructions, guidance and hands-on experience.
Christmas Cakes and Puddings
Tuesday 13th November
Make and take home for you to enjoy on Christmas day, a Christmas pudding, a Christmas cake and traditional mincemeat. We'll also make a mincemeat and pear tart with amaretto cream that you can cook for your guest some time during Christmas.
Gluten-free Christmas baking
Friday 16th November
In the 'Gluten-free Christmas baking' course, you'll learn how to make a delicious frangipane topped mincemeat and pear tart, a yule log and ginger nut biscuits that are perfect as Christmas gifts.
Pastry for Christmas Entertaining
Thursday 22nd November
In the 'Pastry for Christmas Entertaining' course, you'll learn how to make two of the most fundamental pastries for creating festive dishes made to impress. During the five hour workshop, you'll make puff pastry and choux pastry.
Artisan breads
Friday 23rd November
In the 'Artisan Breads' course, you'll learn how to bake light wholemeal and rye loafs as well as sweet brioche buns. You'll also learn how to enhance the flavour of your breads by using pre-ferments such as biga and sponges.
Seasonal Festive Entertaining
Thursday 29th November
Prepare and cook some festive dishes designed for elegant entertaining. The aim of this workshop is to prepare pre-dinner canapes with aperitif and a 3 course meal for the festive season using seasonal ingredients and classic cookery techniques.
Vegetarian Christmas
Friday 30th November
In the 'Vegetarian Christmas' course, you'll find some great tasting vegetarian dishes for entertaining during the festive season. We'll cook with seasonal ingredients to create dishes that will look and taste delicious so that Christmas lunch is special for everyone.
Gluten-free Christmas baking
Monday 3rd December
In the 'Gluten-free Christmas baking' course, you'll learn how to make a delicious frangipane topped mincemeat and pear tart, a yule log and ginger nut biscuits that are perfect as Christmas gifts. The Yule log and the tart can be frozen and served at a later date.
One pot wonders
Tuesday 4th December
We'll be cooking some delicious informal meals, perfect for everyday dinning with friends and family. During the workshop we'll make beef bourguignon with herb dumplings, basil and garlic baked chicken, a Fish stew with garlic rouile and the ultimate sticky toffee pudding.
Christmas Baking
Tuesday 11th December
Join Ilia Makri for a day, preparing and baking some traditional Christmas cakes and breads. In this class you'll learn the techniques involved in making a Yule log, a Christmas Stollen and some festive biscotti that are perfect as gifts.
Festive Children's baking workshop
Thursday 20th December
In the 'Festive Children's baking' workshop, our young chefs (8-12) children will make Christmas star pizza, pull apart sausage roll Christmas wreath, Fruity Santas and Christmas pudding chocolate pops to take home.
Teenager's Christmas cooking workshop
Friday 28th December
In the Teenager's Christmas cooking workshop, our teens (13-17) will make festive sausage rolls, turkey fillets parmigiana with spaghetti (vegetarian substitutions available, please let us know at time of booking) and a Christmas yule log to take home.
French Bread
Friday 11th January
Learn how to make three different types of French breads: a baguette, a Fougasse and a Pain aux noix (walnut bread). Make, shape and bake a selection of French breads using fresh yeast, pate ferment and a poolish (two different pre-ferment starters).
Healthy Family Meals
Saturday 12th January
Focusing on good quality ingredients and home cooking techniques we'll show you how you can make nourishing and exciting meals for your family. Discover new healthy alternatives that will become part of your everyday meal repertoire.
Vegan Winter Flavours
Tuesday 15th January
Learn how to transform ordinary ingredients into delicious and comforting dishes. With influences from the Mediterranean and the Middle East, you can create some great tasting food to share with friends and family.
Indian Curry with Sandhya Oza
Wednesday 16th January
Learn how to cook your favourite Indian curry dishes. Sandhya helps learners understand the use of spices and helping them build up confidence in creating new dishes that suits their palates and level of spice.
Greek Winter Flavours
Monday 21st January
In the 'Greek Winter Flavours' course you'll learn how to make some truly authentic dishes. You'll make Tiropsomo, Psari Plaki, Papou salad, Stifado( beef casserole with caramelised shallots) and Ravani (Orange-scented Semolina Cake and Spiced Syrup).
Chocolate Patisserie
Tuesday 22nd January
Build a repertoire of impressive chocolate confectionery, cakes and desserts by learning how to make chocolate truffles, salted caramel chocolate cake and chocolate tart with orange and hazelnuts praline. The course will involve demonstrations, instructions, guidance and hands-on experience.
Fish: how to prepare and cook
Monday 28th January
In this course, you'll learn how to choose fish, prepare it and cook it. Based on what is seasonally available, we'll have two types of fish for you to fillet and cook, plus some seafood. The course involves demonstrations, instructions, guidance and hands-on experience.
Winter Flavours of the Middle East
Monday 4th February
Take a gastronomic journey through Turkey, Morocco and Egypt and learn how to make some truly authentic dishes from the region, including Lavash, Moroccan Lamb tajine, Grilled fish Chermoula, Aubergine Imam bayildi, Persian Pilaf and more.
Gluten-Free Baking
Tuesday 5th February
Learn how to make delicious gluten-free bread, pastry and cakes. This workshop includes demonstrations, instructions and guidance on how to achieve good results with gluten-free ingredients. You will make a loaf of bread, a leek and bacon tart and a Devil's food cake.
Sourdough, 2 day Artisan Breads
7th & 8th February
Learn how to enhance the flavour of your breads by using pre-ferments such as biga, poolish and sponges, how to create, look after and use sourdough starters and how to bake wholemeal, rye and enriched breads.
Introduction to Patisserie
Monday 11th February
In the 'Introduction to Patisserie' course, you'll learn how to create a selection of patisserie classics. During the five hour workshop, you'll make Profiteroles, Millefeuille with crème patisserie and Glazed fruit tarts.
Macarons & Marshmallows
Wednesday 13th February
Make some beautifully coloured French macarons and create some delicious marshmallows in various flavour combinations. Learn tips and tricks on how to introduce flavour variations giving a contemporary twist to your confectionery creations.
Pastry
Friday 15th February
Learn the tricks and techniques to make three classic types of pastry. You'll make shortcrust pastry, pate sucre (a sweet shortcrust pastry) and flaky pastry. Having mastered these, you'll create three delicious dishes; a Leek and Gruyere tart, a Salmon en Croute and a Lemon Tart.
Spanish Tapas & Paella
Saturday 16th February
In the 'Spanish Tapas & Paella' course you'll take a gastronomic journey through Spain's diverse regional cuisine. We will prepare some famous Spanish tapas dishes using a range of authentic ingredients from the region.
Seafood
Monday 25th February
In this Seafood course, you'll learn how to choose, prepare and cook different types of seafood. We'll prepare and cook dishes with prawns, scallops, clams or mussels, and calamari. The course will involve demonstrations, instructions, guidance and hands-on experience.
Artisan breads
Tuesday 26th February
Learn how to bake light wholemeal and rye loafs as well as sweet buns. You'll also learn how to enhance the flavour of your breads by using pre-ferments such as biga and sponges. Demonstrations, instructions and guidance on how to make, shape and bake a wholemeal loaf, a rye loaf and brioche buns.
British Pies
Tuesday 5th March
Learn the tricks and techniques to make three classic types of pastry. You'll make suet pastry, short crust and rough puff pastry. you'll put them to good use creating three delicious dishes; a steak and onion pudding, a chicken and leek pie, posh sausage rolls and a double crust apple pie.
Vegetarian Flavours
Friday 15th March
One of our most popular courses, where we cook dishes from the Mediterranean and the Middle East, using seasonal ingredients. Discover some little known gems from these regions, and build an impressive vegetarian repertoire.
Fish: how to prepare and cook
Saturday 16th March
In this course, you'll learn how to choose fish, prepare it and cook it. Based on what is seasonally available, we'll have two types of fish for you to fillet and cook, plus some seafood. The course involves demonstrations, instructions, guidance and hands-on experience.
Spanish Tapas
Monday 18th March
In the 'Spanish Tapas' course you'll take a gastronomic journey through Spain's diverse regional cuisine. We will prepare some famous Spanish tapas dishes using a range of authentic ingredients from the region. These include Gambas al pil pil, Albondigas and more.
Gluten-Free Advanced
Friday 22nd March
Learn how to make delicious gluten-free brioche, rough puff pastry and choux buns. There will be plenty of hands-on experience during the class, in which you will make some brioche buns, a savoury pie with rough puff pastry and chocolate profiteroles.
Introduction to Bread Making
Tuesday 26th March
Learn how to make, shape and bake three different types of doughs. You'll create a white loaf, a Focaccia bread and delicious Chelsea buns. You will take home the breads you have made during the workshop along with a recipe and method booklet.
Afternoon Tea
Thursday 28th March
The 'Afternoon Tea' course, you will learn to make your own afternoon tea, including a range of quintessentially British cakes, pastries and scones. The course will conclude with a sit down meal, enjoying the dishes we've made.

Children's Parties

If you fancy doing something a bit different for your child's party why not try a Cooking Party?

Parties can be booked Monday-Friday 4pm-6pm.

For more information please contact us.

Ilias's Kitchen