The Grand in York opens The Cookery School
PUBLISHED: 00:00 25 January 2019
One of Yorkshire's finest hotels is teaching home cooks to be five-star foodies
Andrew Dixon has a grand plan. Hungry to share his passion for cooking, he’s firing up his stove (and several others around it) to offer 43 culinary classes for all ages and competencies – yes, even toast-burners and egg-droppers.
As head chef tutor at The Cookery School, opening in March at The Grand in York as part of a £15 million expansion and refurbishment scheme, he’s determined to ‘create engaging and educational experiences for guests’ in a relaxed, friendly environment with the focus on fun. In other words, he is the anti-Gordon Ramsey.
Students will be encouraged to travel the world, learning how to make everything from Yorkshire classics (you know what we’re talking about) to Persian mezze with interesting diversions into traditional baking and modern vegetarianism.
Andrew, originally from Newcastle, is bringing nearly 30 years of experience with him to York. He started his own culinary journey on a YTS placement, which he completed alongside a daily milk round and Saturday job in a butcher’s.
He went to hold senior positions at highly-regarded restaurants like Homewood Park Hotel in Bath, The Crown Hotel in Exford and Congham Hall in Kings Lynn. And, in 1999, he and his wife opened their own restaurant with rooms, The Weir in Somerset.
Andrew became a part-time tutor in 2014 and, later, took on a full-time role at a Scottish cookery school. Those of you now shouting ‘haggis and neeps’ can (bag)pipe down.
He has now arrived in Yorkshire with a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and a vision to establish The Cookery School as a centre of excellence.
The Grand – York’s only five-star hotel, which opened in 2010 in the Edwardian gloriousness of the former North Eastern Railway HQ – is also bringing in all manner of culinary experts to lead a range of diverse and diverting courses.
Award-winning British-Iranian food writer Sabrina Ghayour will be sharing moreish mezze-style recipes designed to nourish the body and mind in April. And, in May, renowned Doncaster forager Alysia Vasey will be showing students how to conjure up crab cakes with sea purslane, sea aster and sitkatip pesto (when you’ve done the course, pop back and tell us what this is).
The new school boasts more than 2,500sq ft of cooking space, with 16 workstations equipped with state-of-the-art induction hobs and electric ovens. It also has a separate screening room for lectures, talks and non-cooking demos; a relaxing tea and coffee area; and a courtyard herb garden.
The innovation is part of multi-million plan that also includes 100 new bedrooms and the refurbishment of The Grand’s two restaurants, The Rise and Hudsons by Craig Atchinson.
‘The nation’s love affair with cooking shows no sign of abating,’ said general manager Philip Bolson. ‘Our new cookery school promises to satiate the appetite with an array of courses, experiences and events to inspire and impress.’
Sessions range from £65 for a half-day course to £145 for full-day expert tuition. For full details, visit thegrandyork.co.uk