Like many Tandridge businesses, Limpsfield Cookery School had to adapt quickly when the pandemic hit in 2020. Founder and owner Jacqueline Derbyshire started her new enterprise as a cookery school in February but, after the country began to close down in March, she realised that there was a vital service she could offer local residents:
"People were starting to panic about not being able to get food from the supermarkets, and we had a brand new kitchen standing idle. So, we began by launching a range of high-quality, additive-free, home-cooked ready meals, often cooking until 3am to keep up with demand."
Jacqueline then invested in a bank of freezers, so her team were able to batch cook, freezing everything on the day it was made. Once the rules were relaxed, Jacqueline was able to start up her classes again, and now the cookery school offers classes in a large array of different cuisines (Italian, Indian, Spanish, Chinese and Middle Eastern) and disciplines, including patisserie and breads, and game, fish and meat masterclasses. Other courses are geared towards children, students, vegetarians and vegans, and complete cooking beginners, as well as those tailored for specific events, such as Christmas and Easter entertaining. The diversity that Jacqueline offers has also led to enquiries about another type of venture:
"I was asked many times if we offer catering services, which we have been able to do. The popularity of this has led to us launching a sister business, called The Limpsfield Events Company. We can cater for anything, from weddings and funerals to private dining experiences, and we also run a once-a-month pop-up restaurant in the courtyard by the school."
New for 2022 is the exciting addition of an onsite shop, offering the frozen ready meals alongside new ranges of homemade cakes, pastries, jams, chutneys and relishes. All products can also be ordered from the website, with delivery within a five-mile radius of the school.
Find out more at thelimpsfieldcookeryschool.co.uk.