Cooking in isolation with White Pepper

MOST of us – whether or not we enjoy cooking – are spending a lot of time in the kitchen in these difficult times, and there are chefs and cookery schools all over the country doing their best to help with tips, hints, recipes and guidance on making the most of what you have and what you can buy locally.

From the “bootstrap cook” Jack Munroe – now finally getting the television exposure she deserves – to big-name Michelin-starred chefs cooking for NHS staff, there is plenty of inspiration out there.

One of our local cookery schools, White Pepper, at Bere Farm, Lytchett Matravers, is marking its tenth anniversary this year. In the middle of the Covid-19 shut-down, founder Luke Stuart and his team have come up with some tasty ideas to help us, while all courses as well as birthday celebrations are inevitably on hold.

The new Cooking in Isolation project offers help and ideas for home cooks, whatever their level of ability or budget – the first recipe a Chick Pea Curry, from the cookery school’s Authentic Indian course. The online videos have been made by Crispin at Thin Reel media.

Launched in 2010 from two disused horticultural buildings, one of which was an old bakery, White Pepper is now a leading UK Chef Academy with an international appeal – around one-third of students come from overseas – providing professional training as well as a wide range of recreational courses.

Successes include UK Cookery School of the Year 2018, voted by readers of Food and Travel Magazine, the 2018 BAPTA Education Award for Bournemouth and Poole district (+ 50 miles radius), becoming one of the Independent Cookery School Association’s top 30 UK Cookery Schools in 2016 and voted Britain’s Favourite Small Cookery School in 2015 British Cookery School Awards by the general public.

Luke Stuart says: “We genuinely transform people’s lives and enable positive change. We’re grateful and proud that we can empower individuals and provide a real platform for them to develop quickly.”

For more on Cooking in Isolation, and the White Pepper Cookery School and Chef Academy, visit