16 October 2016

Forestside Cookery School

A cookery school in a shopping centre? On first saying this, it might sound like a crazy idea but when you factor in free parking and ease of access, it's actually a genius idea (Plus, the Dunnes Stores in Forestside is fantastic... I went and bought a few things before my class..... Oooopps!). 

Chef Stephen Jeffers is the brain child behind this fantastic new venture. Located upstairs in the shopping centre (you grab the lift beside Sainsburys), the Forestside Cookery School is a beautiful hidden gem. The fit out of the cookery school is stunning - light colours, funky prints by Rory Jeffers and Smeg appliances (I have a life long obsession with Smeg fridges!). Local supplier Musgrave MarketPlace NI is supporting Stephen in his new endeavour by providing locally sourced ingredients for many of the cookery classes. Plus, the school also has a fun Cookery Shop were you can stock up on ingredients on your way out! 

The school runs classes practically every night of the week ranging from Asian to a Sunday Roast. There are also visiting expert chefs who specialise in things such as sushi if you want to learn how to make your favourite rolls! The school also is great for private parties and work team building days. 

Stephen Jeffers himself is a powerhouse. I really took to him when I met him a few years ago when he headed up another cookery school. He's a man who has really lived life - from working in some of Belfast's best restaurants to eventually owning them. His passion for cooking comes from working in restaurants since he was 16 and now he wants to give back these skills & knowledge to a new generation of budding chefs. 

At our particular class, we made a stunning salmon dish for starter. The whiskey smoked salmon from Musgrave MarketPlace NI was absolutely incredible, as was the fillet steak used for the main course. Stephen makes you feel like the cooking is easy, especially as you are assisted by two lovely Forestside Cookery School members (who also do the washing up for you!). I felt I learned so many new skills - chief among them that you oil your steak and not the pan.... who knew? A tip for life! 

The best bit about the experience is eating the food you have created with such a sense of pride. There is a really simple & fun sitting area where you enjoy your food accompanied by some outstanding wine.

The Forestside Cookery School experience is one not to be missed - it's fun, something a little bit different and a great laugh. I highly recommend it for a birthday present or team building exercise. I know I certainly can't wait to return and learn more new skills. Stephen can also create a private class for you if there is something special you want to learn or would like a family day out to create some classic heirloom recipes! 

To book your class, visit