Master the art of the perfect negroni or discover white truffles with a Michelin-starred chef – our pick of masterclasses in Mayfair and St James’s will expand your culinary horizons
Words: Alice Cairns
Shaved over pasta or grated into butter, the white truffle is a coveted delicacy. On December 6, you can visit three Michelin-star Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester for a masterclass in how to source, prepare and enjoy truffles, led by chef Jean-Philippe Blondet and Meera Corteseon (London’s first female truffle dealer). Chef J-P will share tips and tricks on how you prepare white truffles at home, while Meera will tell you how she went from private banker to ‘the queen of truffles.’
£350 per person, alainducasse-dorchester.com
Get festive at Fortnum’s
If you’re hosting a festive feast this year and you’re searching for some inspiration, look no further than Fortnum & Mason’s packed programme of seasonal masterclasses. Learn German baking techniques from Great British Bake Off semi-finalist Jurgen Krauss; whip up gluten-free festive treats with best-selling author Becky Excell; and prepare a hand-raised pork pie with Calum Franklin, previously executive chef of Holborn Dining Room. Children will enjoy a fun-filled class with chef Riger Pizey, who’ll instruct them in the art of gingerbread decoration.
Want to cook like an Italian? Visit Theo Randall at the InterContinental for a crash course in Italian flavours and techniques, led by Theo himself. You’ll sip on prosecco and snack on cicchetti while Theo passes on tips and tricks drawn from his 20 years of experience. After working up an appetite in the kitchen you’ll sit down for a four-course dinner with wine pairings guided by a sommelier, and leave with a special gift from Theo. Alternatively, the 90-minute Negroni Masterclass will teach you how to make three different negronis: the Classico, the Sbagliato and your own signature twist.
Cookery masterclass: £185pp; Negroni masterclass: £110pp, theorandall.com/masterclasses
Corrigan’s Mayfair is running a special festive edition of its Cook with Corrigan masterclasses on December 16. Michelin- starred chef Richard Corrigan has served his food to the Queen and Barack Obama. In this class he’ll welcome you into his kitchen with coffee and pastries, before sharing tips, tricks and advice. You’ll prepare and cook a signature seasonal dish with help and advice from Richard, before enjoying a delicious three-course meal and a glass of champagne.
You’ll leave with a signed copy of the chef’s book, A Clatter of Forks and Spoons. £250 per person, corrigansmayfair.co.uk
HR Higgins in Duke Street has been serving coffee and tea connoisseurs since 1942. The Royal Warrant holders offer a coffee tasting masterclass with an evening that begins with an espresso martini, before you taste three of the shop’s most exquisite single-origin beans. David and Tony will draw on their lifetimes of experience to teach you about how coffee should be brewed, tasted and appreciated. You’ll leave with a coffee taster kit, three packs of coffee, tasting cards and a brewing guide.
£45 per person, hrhiggins.co.uk
Looking to elevate your Christmas cheese board? Paxton & Whitfield runs the Academy of Cheese, drawing on its 220 years of experience to teach you how to taste and talk about good cheese. You’ll learn how cheese is made and matured, how to taste it like a pro, how to select and present the perfect block, and how to pair it with food and wine. The course takes place in Paxton & Whitfield’s Jermyn Street store, and takes a full day in addition to an online exam. You’ll leave with a certification too.
£195 per person, paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk
Learn how to put a festive twist on your baking at Sauce by the Langham, the hotel’s very own state-of-the-art cookery school. On December 8 you learn how to make edible gifts, including torrone, Florentines, shortbread, gingerbread, and festive jams and chutneys, while on December 16, florist Farima Perry will help you create a beautiful Christmas wreath while baking sugar cookies. You’ll leave your course with a Sauce by The Langham tote bag and apron.