I’ve always quite fancied attending a cookery school. Learning to cook properly and do justice to quality fresh ingredients would be my idea of heaven. Learning to grow, cook, photograph and write about food. Bake, butcher, forage, preserve, and get back to basics is definitely on my bucket list. And to do it in a historical setting, in a private stately home no less, would be absolute bliss.
The courses at The Carlton School of Food take place in the original kitchens of Carlton Towers, an ancestral home belonging to the Duke of Norfolk’s family, and home to the Duke’s brother and sister-in-law, Lord and Lady Gerald Fitzalan Howard. It’s not a hotel but a home, with 16 exquisitely decorated bedrooms, so that you can stay before or after your course and enjoy the rare experience of staying in a stately home.
And if you are a fan of Downton Abbey, you cannot help but notice the similarities in the kitchen.
The Main Furniture & Kitchen Company’s were appointed to be part of a renovation project for the mainly disused servants quarters downstairs where the cookery school is now situated. It’s full of personality and handmade in North Yorkshire, using new, salvaged and reclaimed materials. They wanted to keep the soul of the rooms and reuse as many items as possible; for example, the open shelves on the wall, the racks in the kitchen, the copper sink wooden lid, the housekeeper’s cupboard and the old marble on brick pillars.
Lady Gerald Fitzalan Howard, an interior designer who lives onsite, used existing exquisite antique furniture in the sitting room and dining room where guests meet and eat the produce of their labours. She also chose all the colours for the units and all the other rooms. And it’s all set within 2000 acres of Yorkshire parkland!
It’s sounding better and better!