Vanilla Black's Andrew Dargue and Donna Conroy to launch cookery school

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Vanilla Black's Andrew Dargue and Donna Conroy to launch cookery school

Related tags Chef Vegetarian cuisine Restaurant Fine dining

Restaurateurs Andrew Dargue and Donna Conroy are to launch a cookery school in Somerset that's inspired by their innovative vegetarian fine-dining restaurant Vanilla Black, which closed last year.

Located in the Mendip Hills, visitors to the Vanilla Black Cook & Learn school can expect a hands-on course in modern vegetarian and vegan cookery with a focus on techniques, ingredients and ethos behind Dargue's famous plant based cuisine.

The day courses are designed to appeal to both  professional chefs wishing to expand their vegetarian and vegan repertoire, and aspirational home cooks looking to take their cookery to the next level guided by Dargue and his decades of experience, both in the restaurant and his former role as a chef lecturer.

"Donna and I are incredibly excited to take the next step in the Vanilla Black journey, with our Cook & Learn concept," says Dargue.

"We have always been at the forefront of creative vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Now, having the opportunity to wax lyrical directly to budding chefs about the virtues of great ingredients and innovative techniques feels particularly special."

The first confirmed course dates are 18 and 24 June, with the class entitled ‘1970’s Revisited’.

Each course has space for eight participants and will take place within a solar-powered, converted 18th century barn at Lapwing Farm.

"We’ve been at the heart of the industry for a long time – more years than I’d care to admit – so it’s certainly fair to say we know our way around a pak choi," adds Dargue.

"We cannot wait to welcome our first keen learners to Somerset and get cooking."

Vanilla Black closed last year​, with Dargue and Conroy saying at the time that as a direct result of the Coronavirus crisis they were unable to see a financially viable way to reopen the restaurant.

The pair originally established the concept in York in 2004, and subsequently relocated it to London in 2008. 

Recommended in the Michelin Guide, the restaurant was heralded for its innovative approach to both vegetarian and vegan cuisine. 

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