From perfect homemade pasta to carving jamon like a true Spaniard - you can learn from the pros
It turns out that a number of Manchester’s restaurants, bars, producers and retailers are pretty generous when it comes to sharing their kitchen and bar secrets.
So, if you’ve ever wondered how to polish up your pad Thai, craft divine dim sum or prepare a killer curry, as well as something impressive to wash it down with, here’s a list of places willing to teach you how...
Become a pasta master - Salvi's
Manchester's Neapolitan restaurant and deli Salvi’s are running a particularly special edition of their regular pasta master classes this December, as they team up with Carmela Sereno Hayes of Carmela’s Kitchen.
Carmela is a cookery tutor specialising in the art of creating beautiful pasta. She is also an event cookery demonstrator, recipe developer, food writer and the author of two fantastic cookery books (and she’s currently working on her third.)
The event will celebrate all things pasta using traditional and authentic Italian techniques and ingredients. Carmela and Salvi’s boss Maurizio Cecco will guide the class in how to make two types of pasta dough in the traditional Italian way, before forming them into various pasta shapes including cavatelli, cicatelli, gnocchetti sardi and fresh egg yolk tortellini with a roast pumpkin and amaretti filling.
This special pasta master class will take place on Tuesday 5th December at 6pm and costs £75 per person. Guests will be greeted with a glass of prosecco and Salvi’s famous aperitivo boards before beginning the lesson at 6:30pm. After the two hour class, guests will sit down for a Neapolitan meal and beautiful Italian wine.
Salvi's Mozzarella Bar, Corn Exchange, Manchester M4 3TR
Carve jamon like a Spaniard - Lunya
It might sound straight forward, but to the Spanish, carving top quality aged ham into wafer thin slivers is an art form. For the past seven years, Lunya, the Catalonian restaurant and deli in Barton Arcade, has been putting on special evenings to show lovers of top grade Iberican cured pork how to slice it like a pro.
Always a very popular event, the evening consists of a demonstration of ham carving, a talk by one of their ham experts, a chance to practice having a go yourself, followed by a sampling of Trevélez Serrano, Ibérico and Bellota hams with three matching wines, snacks and a few tapitas.
If you have ever fancied learning about ham carving and love all things ham, then this is a great night for you. The next one is on 6th March 2018. Book here
Lunya, Barton Arcade, Deansgate, Manchester M3 2BB
Craft some dim sum - Yang Sing
Where better to learn all three disciplines of a Cantonese kitchen; dim sum, roasting and wok cooking, than Manchester’s most famous Chinese restaurant, Yang Sing, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
Their regular Chinese cookery classes take place in working kitchens, allowing students to recreate a little bit of restaurant magic in their own home. Classes tend to be smaller group sizes with plenty of one-to-one tuition.
A Cantonese cookery class (£80 per person including dinner) typically lasts between 2-3 hours. Master classes (£120 pp - dining included) are longer and might also incorporate an ingredients shopping trip with executive chef Harry Yeung. Alternatively guests can also arrange bespoke private classes for corporate groups, groups of friends for a party, or simply those with an interest in Chinese cooking.
Classes are sold out for this year but booking is open for those in 2018. See their website for more details.
Yang Sing, 34 Princess Street, Manchester M1 4JY
Polish up on Pad Thai - Chaophraya
Thai food is one of the world’s most balanced cuisines, using sweet, salty, spicy and savoury elements to create unique flavours. Thai restaurant Chaophraya is prepared to reveal some of the secrets behind a few of its most famous dishes with a series of cookery courses in the New Year. It’s a great way to make this popular cuisine accessible to budding cooks by teaching a range of techniques to perfect stir fries, curries and traditional starters. Their friendly instructors will also offer advice on where to buy traditional Thai ingredients and how to skilfully prepare and cook them.
“A lot of people are intimidated by the idea of cooking Thai at home because of the big bold flavours involved,” says Simon Firth, Executive Chef. “This course breaks down those barriers and gives participants the tools, knowledge and confidence they need to ‘wow’ dinner parties throughout the New Year.”
The Chaophraya Thai cooking experience costs £69 per person and includes a welcome drink, an interactive tutorial and demonstration of three popular dishes and a tasting session. It will run every Sunday morning at 10am, starting in January 2018. Buy your voucher here.
Chaophraya, 19 Chapel Walks, Manchester M2 1HN
Knock together a banging curry - Zouk
Punters were often asking Zouk how they made their curries, so they decided to set up a cookery school in their restaurant - outside regular opening hours - specialising in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. Each course takes half a day (10am-1.30pm) and teaches you to prepare and cook two starters, two main courses, a rice side dish and either a naan or roti bread.
If you give them some notice, they might even be persuaded to teach you how to make your personal favourite. The Zouk Cookery School is growing in popularity and now attracts students from around the country. December classes have sold out, but start again on 6th January where they'll be revealing the secrets behind classics such as chicken tikka, seekh kebab, onion bhaji, lamb rogan josh, Britain's favourite chicken tikka masala and vegetarian classic channa masala. Classes cost around £80. See the full range of classes here.
Zouk, 5, The Quadrangle, Chester Street, Manchester M1 5QS5
Be fine with steak and wine - Gaucho
Premium Argentinian steakhouse Gaucho don't have an actual cookery school, but offer groups of six or more dining guests an optional 'Beef & Ceviche' twenty minute add on. These food master classes reveal the secrets behind some popular Gaucho dishes from the experts who create them, going deeper into particular ingredients as well as cooking and preparation techniques.
For £45 per group, the head chef will come out and describe how their steaks make the journey from the Pampas plains of Argentina to your plate, walking you through the maturing, preparation and cooking processes. For bookings of nine or more guests (booking ahead, to make sure the headchef is available) Gaucho can incorporate this tableside class into your dining experience, free of charge.
Along with steak, Argentina is just as famous for its wines and the country's wine-making region spans an area stretching the same distance as from London to southern Italy. Gaucho offer various wine tastings and tutorials for groups covering red and white wines from particular areas, an introduction to five of Argentina's wine making pioneers and an in depth exploration into its most well known grape variety, Malbec. See here for more information and prices
Gaucho, 2A St Mary's St, Manchester M3 2LB
Great cake off - Slattery's
Slattery offers a range of courses based at their Whitefield bakery. Beginners can learn a few basic techniques with fun half day courses, or there are more advanced one, two and five day courses for sugar craft, chocolate and baking skills.
One of their most popular one day courses covers chocolate celebration cakes and will teach impressive skills to create stunning designs that you can bring out for countless future birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and school bake sales. This course covers how to create a coating sauce and the smoothest way to cover a cake as well as creating decorations like chocolate curls and "cigarillos", fans, ruffles and even coloured chocolate pieces and cocoa butter.
The day finishes with the chance to experiment with all the techniques you have learned and create your own unique and personalised cake to take home.
The full day course (9am – 4pm) cost £185 and includes drinks, lunch, course notes, all ingredients and finished work. Click here for course dates and more info.
Slattery, 197 Bury New Rd, Whitefield, Manchester M45 6GE
...and the booze
Mix a mean cocktail - Blackhouse
Blackhouse are best known for their premium quality steaks, but they also know how to knock up a decent cocktail and they’re willing to share the skills. Grill on the Alley offer fun cocktail making classes with their top bar staff in a private area of the restaurant. Their cocktail classes also involve interactive cocktail games where you can learn new skills before drinking the fruits of your labour.
For £20 per person each guest can choose two of their favourite cocktails from the classics section of the cocktail menu; Pornstar, French or Espresso Martinis, as well as the Cosmopolitan, Long Island Iced Tea and Amaretto Sour. Master mixologist will then talk you through exactly how, and what you need, to recreate them yourself at home.
For £25.00, they’ll even throw in a classic Bellini on arrival and for £30 they’ll add bar nibbles on top. A deposit of £10 per head will secure your booking.
Grill on the Alley, 5 Ridgefield, Manchester M2 6EG
Watch 'em brew
Manchester Brewery Tours have been going since 2016 and describe themselves as 'an informative introduction to beer brewing and tasting, rather than a piss up in a brewery'. Tours currently take place one or two Saturdays per month (1pm - 5pm) and combine a walking tour to visit three local breweries, meet the brewer talks and samplings.
The first stop of the day is at Beer Nouveau to meet Steve who will talk you through what goes into making great beer whilst giving you the chance to smell the hops before taking you on a guided tour of his full tour of his brewery – with tastings too.
Then you'll move onto Alphabet Brewery’s taproom, a short walk away, to taste the beers whilst you get chance to grab some delicious munch from the weekly food festival. With live DJ’s inside the brewery and amazing street art on the walls this makes for a great stop on the tour.
The last stop of the day takes you to the taproom of Unit 101 brought to you by Beer Merchants. After an introduction and tasting, you are welcome to spend the rest of your evening doing 'extra studies' in the taproom.
Tickets cost £50 per person. See the full list of tour dates here