Sharpen Your Skills – 18 of the Best Cookery Schools in Ireland
Ireland is fast gaining a reputation as a culinary destination, with not only amazing restaurants, artisan producers, and an array of food festivals but also world class cookery schools across the country.
You don’t need to be a visitor to our shores to indulge in a culinary adventure though, and with many of these schools run by some of Ireland’s most revered chefs however good you think you are in the kitchen, there’s always something new to learn.
So, whether you’re looking to gain more confidence in the kitchen, learn some new techniques to impress family or friends, or to kickstart a new career, we’ve rounded up 18 of the best cookery schools in Ireland to help make choosing your next culinary course a piece of cake.
KOOKS is what Kevin did next, Kevin Thornton that is. One of Ireland’s most celebrated, passionate and intriguing chefs, through KOOKS Kevin gives curious and knowledge hungry home cooks the chance to learn from a master in an intimate setting – his own home. Absorb a serving Kevin’s wisdom at one of his full day courses, afternoon classes, group supper clubs, or demonstration evenings. Read TheTaste’s review here.
Where: 63 Moyne Road, Ranelagh, Dublin
Catherine Fulvio grew up in Ballyknocken House, the charming B&B in Wicklow run then by her mother, so she is no stranger to inviting people into her home. Taking on the business Catherine has added her own stamp to Ballyknocken by opening a cookery school, which has gone on to win the title of International Cordon D’Or Culinary Academy of the Year. Make a day of it by joining one of her courses and then staying on for dinner and the warmest of hospitality in the seven-bedroom 1850s farmhouse.
Where: Glenealy, Co Wicklow
Located above The Bar + Grill on James Street South, the cookery school run by celebrated chef patron Niall McKenna and his team offers you the chance to learn the tips, tricks, and recipes behind one of Belfast’s most acclaimed restaurants. With a maximum of just ten students per class each gets their own work station and hob, from where they will learn from Niall himself as well as head chefs Cathal Duncan and David Gillmore.
Where: 21 James Street South, Belfast
JP McMahon likes to keep himself busy, it seems. On days when the Michelin starred Aniar is closed, the chef patron behind four restaurants in Galway refuses to rest and runs a boutique cookery school from where he furthers his drive to educate people about Irish food. With just six students per class you can join JP for a one day courses in How to be a Better Cook or Planning a Dinner Party on Sundays, and six week courses in Bread, Fish, Pork and Beef that take place each Mondays.Read TheTaste’s review here.
Where: 53 Lower Dominick St, Galway
Ballymaloe Cookery School is an institution in culinary education in Ireland. Set on a 100 acre organic farm, the school run by brother and sister Rory O’Connell and Darina Allen, Rachel Allen, and other family members has gained a cult status and global recognition in particular for its 12-week certificate course which has educated well-known chefs, food producers and food writer in the signature Ballymaloe culinary ethos. Shorter courses, day-long and evening classes, and guest chef demos are also key features on the exciting and ever-changing calendar of events.
Where: Shanagarry, Co. Cork
Frequently scooping awards and topping ‘best of’ lists, Dublin Cookery School is run by Lynda Booth who in 2007 converted a disused warehouse in Blackrock, Dublin into the purpose built facility it is today. As well as Pop Up Restaurant Nights, which always sell-out, Dublin Cookery School runs Saturday and evening classes, full-time one-week courses and one month courses and the high regarded professional three month cookery course. Guest chef tutors include the likes of John Wyer of Forest Avenue, Chapter One’s Darren Hogarty, and pastry queen Aoife Noonan of Luna.
Where: 2 Brookfield Tce, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
Cloughjordan House Cookery School has a host of unique perks up its sleeve that make this historic house in Tipperary a culinary destination. Named Cookery School of the Year at the the Irish Food Awards 2017, whether you join them as part of hen party, family get-together or corporate group, or get involved in one of their varied classes you’ll get hands on experience, make use of ingredients from their walled gardens, and be treated to Cloughjordan’s signature warmth of hospitality.
Where: Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary
Leaders in the ‘real bread’ revolution, Firehouse is an artisan bakery, cafe and bread school on Heir Island, West Cork, with a second bakery in Delgany, Co Wicklow. You can get a slice of baker Patrick Ryan’s knowledge during an evening course in Delgany learning how to make sourdough breads, yeasted doughs, soda breads and sweet baking, or, to really immerse yourself in the art of bread making, you can head south, hop on a ferry to Heir Island, and take part in their extremely popular one-day course.
Where: Heir Island, Co. Cork; and Old Delgany Inn, Delgany, Co. Wicklow
The coastal town of Kinsale, Co. Cork is regarded as a hub of great food and chef David Rice of Ballinacurra House has played a big part in establishing that status. The house is home to a purpose-built cookery school, Kinsale Gourmet Academy, that has a mission to make gourmet simple through its broad range of hands-on classes. Based in Kinsale there is of course a big emphasis on seafood and local West Cork producers, though there are also bread making workshops and classes that cover tapas, sushi, and curries.
Where: Ballinacurra House, Kinsale, Co. Cork
Founded in 1997 by celebrated chef Paul Flynn, the Tannery in Dungarvan is one of the South East’s leading restaurants. With the same focus on cooking the best of local and seasonal produce he established the adjoining The Tannery Cookery School, running courses year round including the popular Advanced Masterclass with Paul himself. The third string to The Tannery’s bow is the Townhouse boutique style accommodation, making this triple treat a must visit for any food lover who wants to spend a day or two fully immersed in great food and hospitality.
Where: 10 Quay Street, Dungarvan, Co, Waterford
Lady Eve is the culinary alter ego of Ballymaloe-trained chef Nikki Walsh. The chef turned food stylist and recipe writer also shares her experience through cookery classes, a mix of demos and hands-on sessions, that she hosts in her Donnybrook home. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to up skill, given Nikki’s eye for food styling you can be guaranteed the likes on Instagram food posts will get a boost too.
Where: Donnybrook, Dublin 4
Belfast’s first purpose built cookery school from the people behind the iconic Mourne Seafood, Belfast Cookery School has brought a fun, fresh approach to teaching people how to cook to the city. Chef Stephen Jeffers leads a highly-experienced team that not only specialises in taking the fear out of cooking fish but offers a diverse range of cookery classes. With 16 cooking stations the venue is also perfectly equipped to host team building sessions, and ‘Cook your own’ evenings whereby you get together as a group and cook your own evening meal along with one of our chefs.
Where: 53 Castle St, Belfast
Step off the hustle and bustle of Dublin city centre’s South William Street, up a steep flight of stairs, and into the bright and airy Cooks Academy and settle in for a full-day or evening hands-on cookery class. The ever changing selection of courses on offer, as well guest chef demos, and might mean you find yourself climbing that stairs all too frequently. Run by husband and wife team Vanessa and Tim Greenwood there are also four or eight week professional certificates in cookery on offer.
Where: 19 South William St, Dublin 2
If you’re based down south Hook & Ladder couldn’t make it any easier for you to upgrade your kitchen skill set. Not only do they have two cookery schools, in Waterford and Limerick (as well as four cafes across the counties), but they also have a choice schedule of courses and classes that are designed to cater for all levels and tastes. Whether you’re a veggie signing up to the Modern Vegetarian class, or a hoping to finally figure out how to fillet fish you’ll be in safe hands with top tutors like chef Michael Quinn formerly of Waterford Castle.
Where:7 Sarsfield St, Limerick; and Westgate Retail Park, Tramore Rd, Waterford
The foodie haven of Dingle is not only home to one of country’s most popular food festival and top seafood restaurants but also one of the most interactive cookery schools. Owned and operated by chef and Fáilte Ireland Food Champion Mark Murphy, at the Dingle Cookery School you can take to the kitchen for a more traditional class, or you could hop on a boat for a two-hour fishing trip on Dingle Bay, or take to the seashore for a foraging class before returning to the school to turn your haul into a delicious feast.
Where: An Choill, Dingle, Co. Kerry
Situated on the north side of Dublin Bay in the beautifully restored Georgian kitchen of a 12th Century castle the award-winning Howth Castle Cookery School is one of Ireland’s most unique, atmospheric cookery schools, thatcombines old world charm with a state-of-the-art cooking facility. Take on a week long intensive cookery course or a short hands-on class, where you’ll take to the kitchen for two hours before getting the chance to sit down to eat all that you have prepared with a glass of wine.
Where: Howth, Co. Dublin
While the coastal views from Kevin Dundon’s Drunbrody House may be dramatic there’s less drama in the kitchen at the adjoining cookery school. The one or two-day, half-day and evening courses as well as the Five-Day Masterclass are all designed by Kevin and carried out by cookery school chef Julien Clemot who will in a friendly, relaxed manner will impart his expertise. Choose from courses like The Art of Slow Cooking, One Pot Wonders, or the 2 day Dinner Parties for 6 course – but be quick, that one frequently sells out.
Where: Arthurstown, Co. Wexford
Spend a few hours at the Neven Maguire Cookery School and you’ll soon realise why fans of the well-known chef often utter ‘thank heaven for Neven’ as they put another one of his no-fuss, delicious recipes to work. Students at the school, which is set alongside the incredibly popular McNean House and Restaurant, will get hands-on kitchen time with Neven himself or get to watch the man in action, who shares tips on sourcing the best ingredients and produce and specially selected recipes.
Where: Blacklion, Co. Cavan
Previously known as The Tasty Tart, the East Coast Cookery School is run by Cordon Bleu trained Chef Tara Walker, a familiar guest chef on TV3. Far from the formal cooker education she received herself at the Cordon Bleu Tara is all about a relaxed, informal, homely approach to learning new cookery skills. You can choose to sit back and soak up Tara’s knowledge at a demonstration, or get hands-on on day long courses like Healthy, Fast and Fresh, Firm Family Favourites, or A Taste of Italy.
Where: Sandpit, Termonfeckin, Co. Louth
Erica grew up with a baker and confectioner for a father and a mother with an instinct and love for good food. It is little wonder then that, after completing a law degree, she went on to do a Masters in Food Business at UCC. With a consuming passion for all things food, nutrition and wellness, working with TheTaste is a perfect fit for Erica; allowing her to learn and experience every aspect of the food world meeting its characters and influencers along the way.