Love Leeds- A cooking masterclass

Last week the lovely team at conferenceleeds invited me to attend a ‘love Leeds’ style full day event based around everything that Leeds has to offer. If you have been following me then you will know that I have just moved to Leeds so it was right up my street to learn more about the local area and have a whole day event, as it seemed like a fab day out and something a bit different to the usual beauty events that I go too. Plus I have been really struggling with adjusting to living away so this was the perfect event to both cheer me up and familiarise myself with the local area a bit more. The focus of the day was to think about ‘why visit Leeds?’ and I can speak from personal experience when I say that there are so many reasons that attracted me to move to Leeds. It is such a welcoming city with so much going on, fantastic food and nightlife, a huge retail scene and transport links not only back to my hometown (which is a huge bonus for me!) but also to many other places around the UK. It is such a unique location and I don’t think that I will ever be able to explore everything in the next 3 years. 

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We met at the Kirkgate market, which happens to be the largest indoor market in Europe and has been in Leeds since 1871. I have only been in there once before but there are so many stalls from fresh food and drinks to flowers and jewellery, and they even have a farmers market twice a month. I also really like the look of the market, as they have a lot of street art and its just a really cool vibe. I expected it to be targeted towards an older demographic but I actually really love it as a younger consumer! I have a shoot coming up with a brand that you are going to love next month and I am definitely thinking of taking some of them photos in the market area. The group of bloggers that I met all seemed really nice, even though they were all quite a lot older than me and were focused parenting/lifestyle bloggers. At first I felt a bit like the odd one out but by the end of the day we all got along really well despite the age difference. 

 After we had all met up, we got in taxi’s and drove the outskirts of Leeds to attend the Leeds cookery school. I had never been before but the venue seemed really cool, and was actually a regenerated fire station. A family had bought the old fire station and turned it into a space for the community and run by the community. There is an area for small businesses, a cafe, charity offices and the cookery school. I love that despite the rejuvenation they have kept the small fire station details, including the pole! 

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When we entered the cooking school, we were met with the team that explained about their hands on cooking programmes and the charity work that they do. Leeds cookery school is actually a social enterprise from the charity Zest, so all of the profits go back into the charity to directly help people. It is such a good place to support! They are actually nearly a year old and they are having their first birthday party soon, which I might be attending. From what I saw it is such a fab venue and I think that it would be a great place to book a session for a group of friends. They have a pizza and prosecco night where you make your own pizza and drink prosecco when you are doing it, which sounds very much up my street! By looking at the programme lineup it is quite expensive but all of the profit goes back into the charity so not only are you getting an amazing experience but also helping a fantastic cause. 

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The main activity of the day was learning how to make a 2 course meal from scratch (a main dish and a dessert). There is a mix of cooking abilities in the group, so it was so good that we got to work in pairs and it was also really nice to talk to Katie (who was my partner) as she seemed so kind. Luckily she wasn’t too much of a confident cook either! Obviously as a student I am not the best chef in the world but it was so useful to learn some new techniques, although I doubt that I will be making anything that fancy anytime soon! Due to it being a Love Leeds event, we tried to make the majority of produce locally sourced, for example the rhubarb that was featured in the dessert is actually from a local farmer. I had never tried it before and I love it!

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I really liked the teachers as they talked through everything really well, and also gave lots of tips and anecdotes along the way. I spent the majority of the time with a chef called Scott and he was lovely, you can tell he used to be a cookery teacher before moving to work there because he was so good at actually teaching people as opposed to just showing them. He did a demonstration of each step and then we copied which I liked, as it was more personal and useful than just following instructions in a recipe book.

Once we had finished cooking we obviously got to have lunch from what we had made, which I was so thankful for because I was so hungry! The team at the cooking school gave us a thank you card, which I thought was a really nice touch, and also some freebies. I got a tandoori rub and a portion of rice to cook, which is a perfect meal for me as as student so I am very thankful! Its so nice receiving a practical gift and it works perfectly with the cooking school as they do a ‘taste of northern India’ session where they use these products. 

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The next part of the day was going to be based around Instagram but the weather was not on our side. Cheers Leeds! The plan was to go and explore the 10 most instagrammable spots in Leeds city centre, which seemed really up my street so I was disappointed that it was cancelled but it can’t be helped and it wouldn’t have been very fun in the pouring rain anyway. The team have said that they will rearrange that session for another time though which is great and you will definitely be seeing the photos that I have taken over on my Instagram when they do change the session.  

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Thank you so much to the team at conferenceleeds for inviting me to this event, as I had a really good day and it was a perfect day out to cheer me up! If you want to find out more about the love Leeds business and campaign then click here to be redirected to their website, as it is such a good campaign to attract both people and businesses into the Leeds area. 

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