Hartley’s cookery school, based in Haddenham, opened it’s doors in January 2022 and as a new business have loved welcoming their first guests at the school. The school’s focus is all about championing seasonal, local produce (and ethically sourced fish and seafood from industry-respected suppliers), and sharing Simon’s skill set and knowledge as a chef to have fun-filled days where cooking great food with their guests. It’s relaxed, informal and about sharing their passion for delicious dishes with a mixture of demonstrations and practicals, coming together to eat the food as a group.
At the school they offer full day ,half-day and evening cookery courses, host chef tables (a bespoke dining experience), and it can also be hired as a private space. Their main focus is the cookery classes, and they offer a whole host of courses including breadmaking, fish and seafood, junior cookery, show-stopping veg, patisserie, in addition to cocktail making masterclasses and knife sharpening skills. They’ve designed the schedule so there’s something for everyone!
They love the Best of the Season course, which is really dedicated to using the best of what is in season now, and naturally changes throughout the year as the seasons change. The course is flexible based on what is best at the time, but one thing they especially love is their carrot and granola dish, which includes glazed carrots, a savoury granola, Earl Grey-infused raisins, a carrot-top pesto and feta.
Hartley’s cookery school is very much a family business! The business is owned by Simon Hartley and his brother (who also lives locally), and supported by Simon’s partner Claire Hopkins who looks after the website/marketing etc. side of the business. Simon and Claire moved to the area in 2019 for Simon’s role as a chef tutor at Le Manoir Cookery School, before deciding to branch out. They fell in love with Thame, finding it a vibrant place to be and they love the sense of community and variety of events for local people. They use a number of Thame’s businesses sourcing ingredients for the school, and work closely with Bucksum Farm in Shabbington, alongside butchers like Wrens, Bradmoor and Boarstall Meats. Beerginvino’s owners are their neighbours at Bradmoor Farm.