Taking time to stir a mixing bowl, slice some vegetables or toss a salad with dressing might seem like menial tasks. It’s something you do all the time to get dinner on the table, out of necessity more than enjoyment. However, taking time to do these tasks allows you to concentrate on something other than the million things that your brain has to focus on throughout the day, which can lead to stress.

Cooking is a good mindful activity – allowing you to being present in the moment – because we have to make sure not to let that pot of water boil over, the food burn in the pan or let that knife slip. The best part is you get rewarded with a delicious meal at the end of the activity, and a sense of calm and accomplishment too.

Of course, not everyone is a natural home cook, and often trying to find inspiration on what or how to cook can be discouraging. Cooking classes are a great way to learn new recipes and skills. We’ve selected a few around the country that are worth checking out.

1. Neven Maguire Cookery School

You’ve seen him on television, now learn from him in person. Irish Country Living’s resident chef Neven Maguire runs a year-long schedule of courses that cater for all levels and occasions in his cookery school in Blacklion, Co Cavan. Neven opened the state-of-the-art school in 2014, a lifelong dream come true for him.

Always sticking to his passion of supporting Irish producers, you will not only learn skills and recipes in the kitchen, but you’ll get top tips on sourcing the best ingredients and produce too. Perfect summer entertaining for family and friends and how to barbecue like a master griller with his classes that are lined up over the coming months. Don’t waste time in booking as places fill up fast.


Paul Flynn

2. The Tannery Cookery School, Dungarvan, Co Waterford

Chef Paul Flynn is one of Ireland’s most-loved and well-known chefs. The Tannery Restaurant in Dungarvan has been in business for over 30 years and together he and his wife Máire

have forged a reputation for great Irish food and hospitality. The Tannery Cookery School is an extension of this and where Paul gets to share his wealth of knowledge to participants while having the craic and enjoying a meal at the end together too. Courses vary from learning cooking skills to cuisines like Italian and Middle Eastern and there are private days available.


Shane Smith

3. Shane Smith Online Cooking School

‘Unleash your inner baker’ – that’s the message from pastry chef Shane Smith, who wants participants to fall in love with baking by learning his secrets to making perfect pastries, desserts and cakes. Cook along with Shane as you learn choux pastry, the 80s biscuit tin recipes, or gluten-free spring baking. Monthly membership is €9.99 which includes one class a month, access to hundreds of recipes, regular live zooms on his private Facebook page, and lots more; annual membership is €99.


4. Terra Ignis Fermentation Workshops, English Market, Cork

Gut health has been linked to physical and mental health issues and eating a range of fermented foods is one way to help keep your gut happy. Terra Ignis is a fermentation food company based in the English Market in Cork city centre. Created by Cork couple chef Ivo Duarte and mixologist Linda O’Flynn, they wanted to combine their passions for nature, creativity and taste into one unique expression, and thus Terra Ignis was born. Workshops are offered to all levels and you can sign up for a one-to-one workshop if you prefer. Prices start at €70.


Helen Finnegan

5. Knockdrinna Cheesemaking Course, Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny

Who doesn’t love cheese? Here in Ireland, we have incredible cheesemakers and in this one-day course with Helen Finnegan in Knockdrinna Farm, you can learn how to make cheese yourself. You will be guided through the basics of cheese making, maturing cheese at home and the history of cheese. You can also stay on the farm, as they offer accommodation and there’s a café that’s open Tuesday to Saturday. Classes are priced at €90 per person.


6. Regan Organic Farm ‘Introduction to Butchery’ Course, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

Have you ever considered learning butchery skills, so you can get the most from your meat? This ‘Introduction to Butchery’ course is ideal if you do and it is designed with chefs, keen cooks, hunters and small holders in mind.

Learn how to break down a carcass, brush up on your butchering skills, new techniques to upskill, and for those who send animals to the butcher, you will learn how to put together a cut list to best describe how you would like the carcass broken down into various cuts. Course price is €175, which includes all course materials, lunch and some meaty treats to take away.


Fiona Egan and her husband Michael

7. Fiona Egan Cloughan Farm & Cookery School, Abbeyshrule, Co Longford

At Cloughan Farm, Fiona Egan and her husband Michael offer the opportunity to reconnect with food and the land. You’ll get to prepare and make delicious recipes for brunch, lunch and dinners using much of their hand-reared or locally-produced meat, poultry and home-grown seasonal vegetables. There are evening, half-day and full-day classes available, plus they range from hands-on-demonstrations to workshops. Also learn how to make breads, preserves, desserts and cakes and to entertain at home. Prices start at €90.


Erica Drum

8. Erica Drum's online cookery course

‘Springing into Summer’ is chef Erica Drum’s newest cooking course, which is taking place every Wednesday (7.30-9pm) for four weeks from 24 April to 15 May. Each evening, Erica will demonstrate delicious spring/summer recipes.

Erica will also be hosting an in-person ‘Springing into summer cookery demo day’ at Thyme Studios, Rathmines, Dublin 6 on 4 May (10.30am-3.30pm). This will include coffee and treats on arrival and cookery demo, plus buffet-style lunch.

•Contact Erica directly to book, ericadrum1@gmail.com

9. Neantóg Kitchen Garden School, Cliffony, Co Sligo

Gaby and Hans Wieland named their home Neantóg (the Irish word for nettle) Farm because when they moved there in 1987, it was surrounded by nettles. Through courses, workshops and tours at their Kitchen Garden School, Gaby and Hans aim to provide a safe space and a relaxed atmosphere for learning skills and sharing experiences.

Courses include plant-based cooking, how to use herbs all year round and for medicinal purposes, foraging, preserving, gardening and lots more. Prices start at €110 and include refreshments, lunch and course material.


10. Multyfarnham Cookery School, Mullingar, Co Westmeath

Owner and chef Kamalika Ranasingha, likes to keep things casual and fun in her cookery school classes in Multyfarnham. Originally from Sri Lanka, Kamalika was first introduced to cooking by her grandmother when she was eight years old. As a teenager, she worked in her mum’s bakery and restaurant and she went on to qualify as a chef before finding her way to Ireland.

Kamalika teaches classes in multiple cuisines from Italian to Japanese, and Middle Eastern. She also has classes for children that range from camps for 5-16-year-olds to students heading off to college.


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