Restaurants Reviews

Underground Cookery School

Obviously, I am pretty into food. And by that I mean both making it and eating it. When you read my blog it’s also fairly obvious that I have zero formal culinary training; so when I was invited to attend a bloggers event at the Underground Cookery School I RSVP’d without even really reading more than the first sentence! I’ve always harbored the not-so-secret desire to go to culinary school (or at least pastry school) and have my own bakery but due to the fact that I’ll be paying off my BA and my MA for the rest of time, this is pretty much out of the question. Unless I become a famous actor that turns to the foodie industry, a la Gwyneth Paltrow and her cookbook.

The Underground Cookery School is located close to the Old Street Tube Station, and since 2003 they have been holding parties teaching people how to cook in a super relaxed, cheesy-jokes-galore atmosphere. One of the chefs even had a pretty sweet playlist going on through the night. The school is aimed at parties; company events, birthday parties, hen and stag do’s (bachelor and bachelorette parties), etc.

All 18 bloggers were cheerfully plied with prosecco (the easiest way to my heart) and a delicious arancini canape that I ate more than my fair share of. (Also, that’s a recipe I’d love to get… mmm…) And  then we got stuck into the cooking.  The menu had a starter of sea bass with lemon dressing, asparagus and peas; a main of chicken breast with broad beans, jersey royals and salsa; and a dessert of strawberry meringue roulade. Trust me, these guys definitely know their food.

I’m pretty proud of some of the skills that I learned there, and Sam is now pressuring me to cook him fish. I also got to meet some fantastic London bloggers and had some really genuine conversations. I can honestly say that I had a blast! This is exactly the kind of experience that I’d want for my bachelorette party. And I’m not even saying that because I was given free food and unlimited drinks. It was a great night out and I can totally understand why it’s so popular.

underground cookery school blogging event
So many DSLRs in one room.
underground cookery school blogging event
 Getting our first tidbit of information.
underground cookery school blogging event
 Some fellow blogger chopping herbs and shelling peas.
This might not shock most readers, but it flabbergasted Sam. Not only did I pick up a fish, but I was also taught how to correctly fillet and debone a fish. Which I did with my own bare hands. (And a knife, but you catch my drift.)
underground cookery school blogging event
Which one of these beauties is going on my cutting board?
 Sorry if it grosses you out, but I am just so proud of having conquered my own fishy fear.
After filleting our fish, we were taught how to correctly butcher a chicken and we all had our own chicken to practice on. I packed away my camera to hid it from my chickeny hands.
underground cookery school blogging event
Spreading the meringue for the roulade.
underground cookery school blogging event
Some excellent team-effort roulade rolling!
After learning the proper filleting, butchering and meringue-making skills, we were served the delicious dishes that we had helped to prepare.  My only qualm with the night was that it wasn’t the kind of dessert that we could all help make. If that’s the biggest issue of the night, then it’s a pretty good night.
Long-time readers will know that I don’t actually eat seafood, but never fear! A fellow blogger had my portion so it didn’t go to waste.
underground cookery school blogging event
The sea bass starter.
underground cookery school blogging event
The chicken breast main dish.
underground cookery school blogging event
Our three awesome chefs/teachers entertaining us to the last.
underground cookery school blogging event
Plus we left with an awesome gift of chili oil and mango chutney!

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Just doing their thing. Juggling chicken parts.

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  • Yes! Awesome dream (haha because we share it 😉 ) Maybe one day in the future we can join forces! xx

  • Amy @ the tide that left

    The food looks amazing. I’ve never thought about that kind of thing for a bachelorette/hen party scenario but you’re spot on, it would totally work.

    • My dream hen do would be spa day with my girlfriends then followed by something like this with unlimited booze and baking some awesome sweet treats. xx

  • I also have cooking school dreams so when you open your patisserie and need someone to do soups and sandwiches let me know!

  • ha, I love this. Do you know how much it typically costs to attend? This looks so fun. 🙂

    • I don’t think you can go as an individual, you have to go as a group, so then it varies according to how many people are in your group and what type of food you want to cook. x

  • Did you get to use the chili oil?! I’ve never seen that before. What do you cook with it?

    • If you love spicy food you’ll love chili oil! Sam and I have been cooking with it / making our own for years. (Sam makes an extremely potent dose!) Basically, we use it in place of olive oil for anything that needs an extra kick. Searing chicken in it, pasta sauce, etc! xx

  • As good as that food looks, I’m paying closer attention to your handsome instructors…

    • Ha! Well there’s an even better reason for you to go there one day, right? 😉 x

      • Absolutely! Though I looked online and they don’t have any prices listed. Still, that would be an EXCELLENT birthday party venue.

        • Unfortunately you can’t just pop in, you have to go as a group. That’s why you have to request the price because it depends on the number of people in your group and the type of food you’d want to work with, I think 🙂 x

  • That sounds like so much fun! I wish there were fun blogger events near me. :o(

    Love the idea of an Underground Cookery School! Reminds me of a place in London I used to go and sometimes organize company events, Vinopolis. Very cool place if you’re in to wine. Nearish Borough Market.


  • What an awesome experience. I would love to take some cooking classes to learn some new skills!

    • I thought I was pretty competent in the kitchen, but I learned some really neat tricks so I’d love to take a longer course! x

  • This is so awesome. What a great experience and the opportunity to meet new bloggers as well.

    • It was so nice. Especially because there was a lot of time to mill around and speak before starting cooking and before eating dinner! x

  • This looks like such a fun bloggers event! I love baking but don’t really know much about cooking! Not sure I like the idea of touching and de-boning a fish though…

    • I didn’t like the sound of it either, really. I think 75% of people there had looks of disgust on their faces but everyone got stuck in and it felt gross but cool that I’d learned something that I never would have taught myself otherwise! x

  • That is so cool! Always wanted to learn how to attend a cooking class – it just fascinates me! That dessert meringue/strawberry looks delicious! 🙂

    • Oh my goodness it tasted delicious! I wish I had been allowed another portion *shifty eyes* x

  • That looks like a great event, though I’d be the one running away from the fish for sure.

    • There were a LOT of girly squeals, but I think everyone in attendance ended up participating! (Although a few used rubber gloves 🙂 ) x

  • That looks like so much fun! What a great idea for a blogger event!

  • amitygardens

    Super cool. I just bought three Nigella cookbooks so be prepared if I start shipping you cupcakes.

  • How fun! I’ve always wanted to attend a cooking class with my husband. I always forget about it though… definitely need to make a list of things to do (date night?) so I don’t forget!!!

  • Shannon Johnson

    That sounds like a lot of fun and looks delicious! Even though I have never been a huge fan of fish with the scales still on. I imagine it was pretty hilarious watching everyone with their cameras out!

    • The best part was trying to watch everyone take their photos while not really touching thier cameras with their dirty hands! x

  • Alex @ She’s His Co-Pilot

    I love that there were other bloggers there too! Not sure I would have been able to touch that fish though.. Its eye was still intact!

    • It felt so weird. There were lots of girlish squeals (not just from me) but everyone ended up getting involved! It was great. x

  • Awesome!! I can not cook to save my life, so would love to do something like this to pretend for a night I can 😉

  • The Starving Inspired

    Oh my, this looks like SO much fun!! How I would love an opportunity like this.

    Country Girl’s Daybook

    • I hope you get the chance! I’ve found twitter to be my greatest ally in finding out about events. x

  • Wow! I saw this event reviewed on another blogger’s post, but that had more people pictures and no decent food pictures. So you’ve made my belly happy with those food pics! I definitely want to learn how to handle a fish…it frightens me as well. My first step is to get over my fear of visiting my local fish monger…what can I say, I like to eat fish, but my fear runs deep with the actual purchase and cooking of them! x

    • Besides the happy chefs playing with food I didn’t get any people pictures. Maybe that’s a blogger fail? But I hadn’t had dinner and I was really hungry… I learned some tips on picking out the right fish (like make sure their eyes aren’t cloudy, etc) which are only useful to me in that I can pass them on to you! Who else has blogged about it? I’ve been trying to read everyone else’s posts about the event because I genuinely loved it and would really recommend it. x

  • Oh that is right up my alley! I would absolutely love to do something like this a night out. I love it. I should look around and see if there’s anything like this nearby. I would love to learn anything that would help my cooking! I cook alright but the more you learn and do .. the better!

    • It’s so true! Even with the chicken I learned some things about butchering that were super interesting/helpful. Especially in regards to finding the drumstick and wings to but them out, etc. x

  • Love this! I recently did a group class at Jamie Olivers Recipease, and it was delightful! We made filled pasta from scratch, which I never would have done on my own before. Aren’t cooking classes fantastic? That roulade looks amazing!

    • There used to be a Recipease around the corner from a flat I used to live at and I loved going in there and just ogling the delicious takeaway food. I always wanted to take a class there. Did you think it was worth it?! x

  • This sounds like a blast! I want to go to a cooking class!

  • We keep talking about taking a cooking class, they always look like so much fun, even better when you’ve got great people to hang out with so a bachelorette party like this would be great!

    • It was a blast with strangers so I know that with people you knew well it would just be awesome! x

  • a) I just bought 3 lbs of broad beans. I AM SO EXCITED TO EAT THEM ALL.
    b) ugh, raw fish. unless it’s sushi, it freaks me out – and I love eating fish!
    c) prosecco <3
    d) my grandparents got me a one-off cooking class when I was in college – it was Provence-themed! The only think I really remember is how to do things to garlic – super useful 🙂

    • Their broad bean recipe was sooooo tasty. I can email it to you if you’d like? I want to know more about your secret garlic skills. I use the effective, but not very pretty method of smashing the garlic with the flat of a knife and my fist to peel and crush it at the same time.

  • Nikki Langworthy

    This is amazing!! I didn’t know this place existed! My boyfriend is a chef so I am lucky in that sense but I would love to attend a place like this. It sounds like so much fun. Fish is my favorite option for dinner so super jealous you learnt how to prep and cook!! x

    • How lucky! Does he cook for you all the time, or is he sick of it in his free time? I felt so incredibly lucky to be able to attend this event. I loved every minute of it! x

      • Nikki Langworthy

        Yes, he cooks quite a lot when he has evenings off! Its such a huge passion of his so he never gets bored! x