We were invited to have a look around the beautiful new cookery school and conference centre, the brainchild of Fiona Lucas, located in the calm and peaceful Lincolnshire Countryside.
From humble beginnings in the1980s Fiona started out what was to be a flourishing career in the catering industry, washing up in a local pub! She has always been interested in food and started out cooking with mum, moving onto catering college in nearby Selby. She has a huge wealth of experience in the food industry having worked in various restaurants and hotels across Yorkshire. Having worked all the way up to being a head chef, she took a break to have her children.
Having the confidence and knowhow she knew she was at a time in her life to go it alone and leased a pub just outside York to run herself – she took on a pub, restaurant and camp site and ran it with the support of friends and family.
Fiona qualified as a teacher with Hull University and took her cookery passion to children. She strongly believes that teaching cookery skills is important for schools to enable children to look after themselves and have the nutritional knowledge to keep themselves healthy. She went onto teach in Pupil Referral Unit’s which she loved and taught in mainstream schools but found it wasn’t teaching children the right amount of practical work.
Life for Fiona and her children took a turn when she met her second husband who was a first-time farmer, with whom she helped to manage farms. Her husband was then head hunted to run a farm in Lincolnshire, and Fiona and her family made the move with him.
Then came a new farm and piggery and farmhouse and she was truly cemented into Lincolnshire life.
Eventually Fiona and her family settled into a new forever home. With vision and drive she got planning permission to turn the 4 horse stables into her very own cookery school where she could provide people with practical skills, fun courses and run the classes that were lacking in schools and the community.
Then the pandemic hit! Fiona, as you may know by now is a very strong woman and that wasn’t to stop her in her tracks. She opened mid pandemic with socially distanced classes and things simply went from strength to strength with interest growing from every direction. She now has a packed events calendar with participants coming back again and again, as well as new clients who have found her online or by word of mouth.
Courses available at the school range from basics to fine dining; there is a breads workshop, Asian and Indian cuisine, and cook together classes perfect for granny and grandkids, parents and children or date nights for couples – where guests dine together afterwards with wine.
Fiona is adamant that the courses are accessible for everyone, not just foodies who already have all the skills. It is perfect for builds self-esteem, making new friends and is brilliant to see kids happy exploring new-found skills.
Another key value of Fiona’s is that everything is sourced as locally as possible. All her butchery produce is from Welton Lakeside Butchers, where course attendees can later get a discount on their ingredients, Coffee is from Seven Districts Coffee, Fish is from a Fishmonger in Grimsby which supplies Lincoln market so pops in on his way there! Fresh fruit and vegetables are delivered 6 days a week from EED Newtoft and Asian produce is supplied by Goldleaf Chinese Supermarket in Lincoln. What’s more all renovations to the cookery school were by local builders, plumbers and electricians, and all glazing, flooring, cupboards and worktops were all sourced from Lincolnshire.
Her newest venture sees the opening of the cookery school’s conference facilities which seats up to 60 people, perfect for team building with homemade lunches and treats from the cookery school for lunch. Room hire prices start from £150 for a half day and £250 for a full day.
With her teaching background and passion for education she offers space for home schooling with structed learning towards AQA awards units.
So, what does the future hold? Fiona is keen to expand and is working towards being able to offer GCSE Food Technology qualifications and well as weddings, so watch this space!