Be a chef for an evening (and impress your mum)


I am honestly useless in the kitchen. My entire culinary talent starts and end with my ability to cook pasta and add pesto to it. Which was fine at first, but now, midway through my second term here, the prospect of another night eating it makes me feel a bit queasy. Enter Julian Ankers – the university’s Executive Chef, who’s running some great initiatives to give us all a helping hand in the kitchen.

Every other Thursday at 6pm, Julian runs classes on how to cook all kinds of different dishes. Students and staff alike are welcome to have a go. So whether you’re a massive foodie or you can’t even chop an onion properly, if you fancy branching out and trying something new, then get down to County kitchen and join in. You’ll be given an apron, a chef’s hat and afterwards you can sit and proudly eat what you’ve made. There’s even a chance to be named star pupil and win a prize of a complimentary meal in any of the campus-run restaurants.

Or on alternate Thursday evenings, the classes are replaced with cookery demonstrations in the Lounge. These are yet another way of learning some new skills and taking part in tasting what’s been made at the end. Plus, you’ll get recipe cards to take home and try out what you’ve learnt.

All the classes and demonstrations are completely free. Just search for either ‘Lancaster University Cookery Class’ or ‘Lancaster University Cookery Demonstrations’ on and book yourself a place. There are a whole range of foods from zero fat and gluten free dishes to Traditional English pudding and custard.

If you want a taster before booking on to anything then you’ll be able to see Julian every Thursday between 11:30 and 2, performing live cookery demonstrations in Alexander Square. There’ll even be free samples to taste. Along with the food, there’s also information on healthy eating and nutrition along with a chance to find out more about what else is going on across campus. For example, you might consider getting involved with the ‘Vegetable of the Week’ cooking competition. The veg of the week is released every Monday and all you have to do is tweet a picture of a dish you’ve made using it, with #vegoftheweek, for the chance to win a meal for two in any campus-run restaurant.

To keep up to date with all things food on campus, you can follow Julian on Twitter – @LUExecChef. And if there’s anything in particular you’d love to learn to make in an upcoming class, do get in touch with your suggestion!

Julian also offered an exclusive look into a new project that may be starting up soon. He is hoping to start putting together a series of instructional videos on a whole range of different cookery skills. I know I’ll be keeping an eye out for these and I’m sure anyone who is as bad at cooking as I am will be too. With any luck, Julian might just be able to save me from drowning in the never-ending sea of pesto.

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