The roast of Christmas yet to come

Home cooks, wanting to impress guests with a little culinary wow-factor this Christmas, can hone their skills at a series of cookery classes this autumn.


In the run up to the festive season, The Cookery School at The Grand, York, will be teaching food lovers a whole host of skills – from baking the perfect festive pie to adding a little Christmas spirit to sweet, teatime treats.


And a highlight of its menu of festive workshops and masterclasses will undoubtedly be The Ultimate Christmas Dinner, on 9 November and 14 December.


This full-day class, led by head chef and tutor Andrew Dixon, will show participants how to add a little fine dining flair to the traditional three-course feast.


Each cook is given their own, Masterchef-style workstation and, under Andrew’s guidance, they will construct a cocktail of Scottish langoustines as a starter.


They will then be taught how to make crispy roast potatoes, honey roasted carrots and parsnips, creamed Brussels sprouts with bacon and – in a nod to the county – proper Yorkshire puddings.


Meanwhile, Andrew will demonstrate the roast turkey centrepiece before showing how to make an indulgent steamed orange and chocolate sponge with Baileys custard to round off the meal.


“And, as with all our classes, we all sit down at the end to enjoy what we’ve made – with a good glass of wine,” said Andrew.


November’s Ultimate Christmas Dinner kicks off a packed programme of festive classes which continues, on 15 November and 20 December, with A Small Christmas Feast.

This half day class is aimed at more intimate Christmas celebrations and comprises turkey escalopes with sage and onion stuffing, followed by Christmas Bread and Butter Pudding.


For those wanting to add a little continental flair to their Boxing Day catering, the Little Italian Boxing Day class, on 15 November and December, provides a creative alternative to leftovers in the form of turkey saltimbocca with spiced cranberries and Marsala sauce


And the pies have it on 24 November and 13 December when Andrew will show another trick to use up leftovers – a pork and turkey pie made with traditional hot water pastry.


On 8 December, vegetarian dining takes centre stage with Andrew taking learners through a hearty alternative to the traditional roast dinner; baked root vegetable pithivier, herby mash and thyme gravy.


He will then demonstrate and serve a traditional baked crème brûlée, with Viennese biscuits.


Baking is also on the agenda on 10 and 22 November and 15 December, when rich chocolate brownies will be served up with mulled fruits and spiced carrot cake will be given a festive kick with some Cointreau frosting.


Places on the classes range from £55 for an express course and £79 for a half day, to £159 per person for the full day class.


For further information, or to book, email The Cookery School at, call 01904 380038 or visit