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As regular readers will perhaps recall, Quince House is an acclaimed cookery school that is located in an idyllic woodland near Oxted.

Owned and run by Katharine Eldridge, a former teacher at the famed Tante Marie Culinary Academy in Woking, she set up her own school back in 2008. Since then, she has helped countless pupils to perfect their cookery skills – ranging from complete beginners through to those at a professional level.

Well, now there is a new reason to visit this culinary hotspot – as, in addition to the existing range of cookery courses, Katharine has also started offering hen-party experiences. So, if you or a friend are looking for something a little different to do for your special celebration with the girls – or with the boys for that matter – you’ve come to the right place.

“We just held our very first hen-party experience, for my niece Alice, and it couldn’t have gone better,” says Katherine. “We had 15 young ladies who came here to the cookery school, so it was a lot of fun.

“What is more, rather than a straightforward dish, we actually made the wedding favours – a delicious shortbread biscuit in five different flavours: vanilla; strawberry; coconut and lime; ginger; and white chocolate and cranberry. We then bagged them all up in beautiful little gift bags decorated with the bride and groom’s name.

“So not only was it great fun for the girls but it also created a lovely, personal touch at the wedding.”

To make it an extra-special experience, Katharine also put on a home-made buffet lunch halfway through – washed down with Prosecco of course – in the picturesque setting of her English country garden. The guests then went on to enjoy an evening party at a local restaurant.

“It was such a lovely, bubbly atmosphere throughout,” adds Katharine, who is currently working on her second Quince House cookbook. “We had people of all abilities, but everyone helped each other, and we all had a wonderful day.”

As well as wedding-party experiences, Katharine also offers birthday celebrations, too. For example, she recently hosted a 70th birthday party during which the guests cooked up a delicious garden-party menu. They then enjoyed some of the resulting dishes in the grounds of Quince House before taking the rest home for tea.

In addition to all that, Katharine is also about to start offering cookery courses for Duke of Edinburgh students. As part of their training,the teenagers have to learn a chosen skill, so those interested in food will now be able to develop their techniques at Quince House.

“It’s a really exciting time at the cookery school at the moment with so many great things going on,” says Katharine. “Now I just need to find the time to finish my next cookbook!”

One thing’s for sure – there certainly won’t be any shortage of new recipes…

Tags: cookery school