A lovely new business is about to launch in Limpsfield, and it will hopefully whet your palette and get your taste buds going! The Limpsfield Cookery School, founded by former stockbroker, Jacqueline Derbyshire, launches on February 8th and aims to bring out the inner chef in everyone.
We chat with Jacqui about the new business and have a nose round the beautifully refurbished “Old Printworks” (opposite Memorial Stores) that the Limpsfield Cookery School will be calling home.
Have you always been interested in food/cookery?
I’m a retired stockbroker, having worked in the City for 33 years, joining as a school leaver when I was 16. Cooking has always been a massive hobby…. my sisters and I all learnt to cook at home, when we were always helping to prepare family meals. I was lucky enough to have Domestic Science lessons at school, and that cemented my love of cooking, particularly baking.
What sparked the idea for a cookery school?
I have attended quite a few cookery schools myself over the years and it’s always been clear that there has never been a dedicated cookery school in the area.. I’ve always had to travel far and wide to attend courses, including Cornwall and Bath…..I knew that the Oxted area would be a perfect place.
I love the village of Limpsfield. It is such a picturesque place and a village cookery school seems such an obvious thing to have. I saw that the Old Printworks, which we now call our home, was vacant, and I was thrilled when the Titsey Estate, who own the barns, were as enthusiastic about the idea as I was. They have been wonderfully supportive.
What’s your history with Limpsfield and what brought you back?
I moved to Limpsfield when I married 31 years ago and my children attended Hazelwood and Laverock Schools. When I retired from the City 4 years ago, I moved to Cornwall to work on a property renovation project. However, I soon realised that my heart (and my very extensive family) was still firmly placed in Surrey, so I moved back to the area a year ago.
What do you hope your Cookery School will bring to Limpsfield?
I truly hope that the whole community will benefit from the cookery school. We will host a few social events throughout the year but our main mission is to teach people that good, healthy food can be easy to cook and prepare, especially for people living such busy lives nowadays. I’m really looking forward to holding children’s/teenagers’ cookery classes during school holidays. So many children don’t get the opportunity to cook at school nowadays, which I think is so short sighted of our educationalists….how can we complain about childhood obesity (and adult too) when no-body has been taught how to cook a nutritious meal.
What will you be offering and who will be teaching the classes?
We will be offering a huge range of courses, to suit a variety of abilities and cuisines. We have a wonderful Vegetarian/Vegan/Sustainable Food chef called Jenny Chandler, who’s written several cookery books, on board and a fantastic Patissier, Lucie Bennett, who will be teaching patisserie and chocolate skills, from complete beginners to advanced Entremet work.
Our Executive Head Chef, Oliver Thompson (who also happens to be my son-in-law), trained in some of the top 3-star Michelin restaurants in the world, and he will be teaching our meat, fish and fine dining courses. We have wonderful Asian and Indian cuisine chefs and the amazing Andy Tyrell, from The River Cottage will be teaching Artisan bread-making.
I will be teaching all things to do with cakes and I have a delightful cake decorator, Sue Wilcox, who will be teaching all types of cake decorating…Truly there will be a course for everyone – the list goes on and on – and we’ll keep adding in more according to demand and feedback.
When will you launch?
Our official launch night is the 8th February (Saturday) and we open our doors to classes the following week. Lucie Bennett will be kicking off the classes with a Beginners Patisserie Day.
We love the idea of this fabulous new business and are sure it’s going to be a huge success. Get cooking Limpsfield!