SOME of Wirral’s finest restaurants are throwing open their kitchens and teaching members of the public how to make their favourite dishes.
At birthdays and special occasions, it seems a cookery course voucher has replaced a book token as the gift for people who have everything.
“We get a lot of people who are bought vouchers by friends and family,” explains chef Ross Gray, who runs Peninsula Dining Rooms in New Brighton.
“It started off with guests asking how to make certain dishes. We make a lot of speciality breads, and our regulars started asking for the recipes. Then people were asking if we did workshops, and bit by bit we started to run sessions.”
Ross offers a bespoke service to two students at a time, focusing on their area of interest.
“We keep the class sizes small – normally people buy them in pairs – so we can really focus on each person,” he explained.
Vegi-Table has been teaching Wirralians how to make better vegetarian dishes from their base at Claremont Farm Kitchens in Bebington since 2008.
In response to demand, Sarah Kearns and Mo Hall have expanded their range of courses, introducing Moroccan and Mexican sessions, as well as a new Christmas dinner workshop.
‘‘We’re both vegetarians, and you tend to find that restaurants serve up the same old dishes time and time again,” said Sarah.
If you’d rather skip the starters and mains to go straight to the pudding, award-winning baker Ceri Newton runs cake making classes from her shop, Gorg’us, in Spital.
“After the shop closes up, I do baking workshops in the evenings, and a pudding club once a month,” says Ceri, whose sponge and raspberry and almond tart won top awards at the North West Fine Food Awards for the second year in a row.
“I make the cakes I like to eat,” she says. “We always have plenty of willing testers to try out each time we change a recipe slightly. But what people really want are the old favourites.”