The food on a cruise holiday is always amazing but how about actually learning how to cook those mouthwatering dishes for yourself? I got the chance when I went to The Cookery Club on my last P&O cruise.
In March 2015 P&O launched its newest ship Britannia and my family and I cruised to the Canary Islands, Morocco and Portugal during its maiden season. We’ve sailed with P&O before on the Ventura and one of the things that we appreciate about P&O ships is the food. It is excellent quality, they pride themselves on offering a wide variety and they also work very closely with modern British celebrity chefs to bring their influences onboard.
The Cookery Club is Britain’s first cookery school at sea – a new concept driven by P&O’s ‘Food Hero’ – celebrity Chef James Martin alongside Head of The Cookery Club Rob Cottam and Deputy Head Lizzie Kennedy who was my tutor on the day! The Cookery Club is equipped with the best kitchenware, state-of-the-art workstations and floor to ceiling windows so your view is of the beautiful ocean as you cook up a feast!
I love to learn new kitchen skills as I taught myself to cook a few years ago after years of having no confidence in the kitchen before that. I have come a long way with my knowledge and abilities, although I’m still learning so when I saw that I could take a class onboard, I was hooked!
The courses available on my cruise ranged from a seafood masterclass with celebrity chef Nathan Outlaw (£100 per course) to Dim Sum, Portuguese Street Food and Perfect Pasta amongst others (these courses were £45 each) but I decided to try Macarons. I’ve never made them before and didn’t have an occasion in mind when I’d like to show off my skills but I just fancied it because (if I’m totally honest!) I love the way they look and I thought they’d photograph well!
On the day we docked in Gran Canaria, my hubby took the kids to Aqualand waterpark at Maspalomas whilst I went to Cookery School!
We were each provided with an apron and chef’s hat to look the part and were advised to wear a long sleeved top, trousers and flat shoes. We got a folder with information about The Cookery Club to take away which also contained the recipes from the day, and we were allowed to take photos during the lesson.
The workshop was very hands on and after a brief demo we got to work! Chef Lizzy was on hand to demonstrate each stage and offer assistance and her support team helped by taking away the used utensils and bringing out fresh supplies. All the measuring out and prep work is done for you, so you can concentrate on the techniques rather than measuring sugar and other ingredients!
My workshop was an afternoon class and lasted for two and a half hours. You can book the courses before you travel on your P&O Cruise Personaliser or onboard during the holiday.
The Cookery Club is located on Deck 17 aft, onboard the P&O Britannia. To book your P&O Cruise visit their website.
Closer to home, there are baking groups popping up all the time, inspired by the success of the Great British Bake Off. I enjoyed reading about this one in Manchester recently, as they have a photo similar to my macarons!
Finally let me leave you with a video I recorded on a rare date night which my husband and I enjoyed on the Britannia. With the children in kids club and a great choice of restaurants and entertainment options, we were excited to get a ‘night off’ to enjoy our date!