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

Easter Breads
Friday 16th March
Learn how to make, shape and bake three different types of enriched doughs. With these skills you'll be creating some savoury filled brioche buns, an Easter almond and citrus filled wreath, and of course the seasonal favourite, hot cross buns.
Spanish Tapas
Friday 23rd March
We will prepare some famous Spanish tapas dishes using a range of authentic ingredients from Spain's diverse regional cuisine. These include Gambas al pil pil, Albondigas, Romesco, Croquetas de Jamon, Patata bravas, Migas del pastor con espinacas , Pimientos de padron.
Baking for young chefs
Tuesday 10th April
In this hands-on class, aspiring young bakers, will learn essential baking skills. They'll make a savoury pizza and a sweet biscuit pizza. The workshop is designed to teach children how to follow a recipe and equip them with techniques that will instill them with confidence and enthusiasm.
Cooking for Teenagers
Wednesday 11th April
In this class aspiring young chefs, 13-17 year old will learn how to make pizza and pasta dough. They will then make mozzarella filled dough balls, pizza and ravioli with a filling of their choice. For pudding they will make meringue baskets with Chantilly cream and fresh fruit.
Seafood
Monday 16th April
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.
Afternoon Tea
Friday 20th April
The perfect way to get together with friends or family and do something a bit different. You will learn to make your own afternoon tea, including a range of quintessentially British cakes, sandwiches, pastries and, of course, scones. Then enjoy your creations with a cup of tea.
Curing and Smoking
Monday 23th April
Spend the day with the lovely Mike Keen. Learn how to make your own cured and smoked meats and fish. Mike will guide you through the process of curing, hot and cold smoking, and how to build your own smoker at home.
Flavours of the Middle East
Tuesday 24th April
Take a gastronomic journey through Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt and learn how to make some truly authentic dishes from the region. These include: Pittas, Boreks, Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Tabouleh, Ta'miyya, Kofte and Baklava.
Gluten-Free Advanced
Thursday 26th April
Learn how to make delicious gluten-free brioche, rough puff pastry and choux buns. Demonstrations, instructions and guidance on how to achieve good results with gluten-free ingredients. Make brioche buns, a savoury pie with rough puff pastry and chocolate profiteroles.
Spanish Tapas
Friday 27th April
We will prepare some famous Spanish tapas dishes using a range of authentic ingredients from Spain's diverse regional cuisine. These include Gambas al pil pil, Albondigas, Romesco, Croquetas de Jamon, Patata bravas, Migas del pastor con espinacas , Pimientos de padron.
Artisan breads
Monday 30th April
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. Make, shape and bake a wholemeal loaf, a rye loaf and brioche buns.
Pastry
Tuesday 8th May
Learn the tricks and techniques to make three classic types of pastry. You'll make shortcrust pastry, pate sucre and flaky pastry, and put them to good use creating three delicious dishes; a Leek and Gruyere tart, a Salmon en Croute and a Lemon Tart.
Introduction to Bread Making
Thursday 10th May
In the 'Introduction to Bread Making' course, you'll learn how to make, shape and bake three different types of doughs. With these skills you'll be creating a white loaf, a Focaccia bread and delicious Chelsea buns.
Fish: how to prepare and cook
Friday 11th May
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.
Healthy Family Meals (spring)
Monday 14th May
Focusing on good quality seasonal 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.
Vegetarian Spring Flavours
Tuesday 15th May
One of our most popular courses. We cook vegetarian dishes from the Mediterranean and the Middle East. If you are looking for new ideas, or just for some great tasting alternatives to meat dishes, you'll find it all here and build an impressive vegetarian repertoire.
Introduction to Patisserie
Tuesday 22nd May
Learn how to create a selection of patisserie classics. You'll make Profiteroles, Millefeuille with crème patisserie and Glazed fruit tarts. At the end of the session you will take home the pastries you've made in the class, with a recipe and method booklet to remind you of what you have learnt.
Spanish Tapas & Paella
Thursday 24th May
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 including Chorizo en Vino Tinto, Calamares fritos con alioli, Tortilla Espanola, Champinones al Ajillo and Paella.
French Bread
Monday 4th June
Learn how to make three different types of French breads: a baguette, a Fougasse and a Pain aux noix (walnut bread). Includes demonstrations, instructions and guidance on how to make, shape and bake a selection of French breads using fresh yeast, pate ferment and a poolish.
Greek Summer Flavours
Thursday 7th June
Learn how to make some truly authentic Greek dishes. You'll make Tzatziki, Dolmades, Spanakopita, Greek salad, Moussaka (vegetarian alternative for those who prefer) and Galaktoboureko.
Gluten-Free Beginners
Monday 18th June
Learn how to make delicious gluten-free bread, pastry and cakes. 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.
Vegan Summer Flavours
Tuesday 19th June
Learn how to transform ordinary ingredients into delicious, comforting dishes. With influences from the Mediterranean and the Middle East, you can create some great tasting food to share with friends and family. The course will involve demonstrations, instructions, guidance and hands-on experience.
Flavours of the Middle East
Tuesday 26th June
Take a gastronomic journey through Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt and learn how to make some truly authentic dishes from the region. These include: Pittas, Boreks, Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Tabouleh, Ta'miyya, Kofte and Baklava.

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