Who We Are

The majority of our classes are led by Sophie Grigson. However, we have a plethora of incredibly knowledgeable guest teachers who we call upon to lead specialist classes and impart their knowledge of specific cuisines or particular areas of food. You can read more about them below.

Sophie Grigson

Sophie loves passing on her knowledge of food and cooking, and spreading the pleasure that creating great meals brings. Her springboard was a youthful enthusiasm for making fudge in a teaspoon over a Baby Belling somewhere in the back streets of Oxford. She’s come a long way since then, having written around 20 cookery books, including SPICES, published in 2011 by Quadrille. Her latest TV series is Sophie Grigson in Jordan, for the Travel Channel, but her first venture into television was Eat Your Greens/Grow Your Greens (Channel 4), celebrating the joys of vegetables. To this day, she still gets a buzz from a beautiful bunch of fresh beetroot. Her teaching style is fun, down-to-earth and informal. She hates ironing, liquorice and margarine.
Anita Chipalkatty

Anita is a food enthusiast, a chef, tutor, and cookery demonstrator with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun. She loves to see the lure of fresh ingredients and the aroma from cooked spices drawing people to the dining room instantly. Her inspiration comes from experiences of travel around the world, and recipes exchanged with various she has met on her adventures. She teaches people to cook from scratch, helping them to understand the spices they are working with and the benefits each brings. Her business, Hobby Cooks, is based in Northampton, and Anita’s cookery classes and demonstrations allow her to share her knowledge and passion for Indian cookery.

Nancy Gilchrist MW


Nancy developed an interest in wine at the age of 11. Excellent tasting opportunities whilst at Cambridge University fuelled the passion. She lived for over three years in the United States where she ran a wine bar close to the White House, later becoming wine columnist for The Boston Globe. On her return to England she ran Grants of St James’s School of Wine before leaving to work as a freelance wine educator and consultant. She passed the Master of Wine exams in 1995. She became the 2012 UK Ambassador for Champagne, and she also lectures widely on food and wine, and the wines of South Africa. She runs the Christie’s Wine Education courses and presents regularly at Leiths School of Food & Wine. She is also a member of the grand jury for the International Chocolate Awards and represents I & P olive oils in the UK. Her website can be found at www.mattersoftaste.co.uk.

Chika Hayashi

Chika was born in Osaka, Japan, and believes that a good diet, taking effective exercise, and keeping a positive state of mind are the vital ingredients for happy living. Japanese food has a reputation for being healthy and tasty, and the people of Osaka take great pride in their cuisine and are known for their keen sense of humour. Chika’s upbringing in this environment has led to her balanced attitude towards life, and spending so much time away from Osaka has deepened her appreciation for many Japanese dishes. For the last decade she has been hosting simple step by step homemade cookery courses from home and has developed a new approach to some traditional dishes. She invites you to share the laughter and taste of authentic Japanese hospitality.
Momo Fujita-Clarkson

Momo is a mother of two who is passionate about home-made, Japanese cooking. She comes from a small village in Japan where everything moves very slowly, where everyone knows everybody else and everyone else’s business, and where everyone seems to grow their own vegetables! She grew up eating seasonal vegetables donated to her father’s temple, cooked beautifully by her mother (an experimental cook) and grandmother (a traditional cook) who is now 98 years old! They taught her how to cook and present food. She loves what food brings to families – conversation, laughter, debate – it’s the place where a family gets together and it’s always been a big part of her life. Her products, where possible are locally sourced, organic, free range and environmentally friendly.

Adriana Rabinovich

Adriana’s first encounter with allergies was in 2004 when her daughter Ruthie was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease. Inspired by Ruthie, she wanted to make sure that anyone following a gluten free diet could have access to delicious food that was easy to prepare with ingredients that were readily available and that could be enjoyed by the whole family. Her book, The Gluten Free Cookbook for Kids was published in 2009, and was the first of its kind. Adriana trained at Leiths School of Food and Wine and, after many catering commissions, she founded her bakery ‘The Little Red Barn’, famous for making the best brownies and biscotti in the UK. Today she runs specialist courses teaching people how to bake gluten free.

Samar Khatiwala

Samar is an avid home cook and food blogger (www.oishiirasoi.com) with a passion for Asian and Mediterranean fare. Originally from Mumbai, where he grew up eating and being inspired by his mum’s Gujarati-style cooking, Samar moved to New York in the 1990s. Living in that melting pot for over 20 years exposed him to cuisines ranging from Korean to Senegalese, and ignited an interest in cooking that, with frequent and extended trips to East Asia, has grown into an obsession with food. Luckily, Samar’s day job as an a Professor of Earth Sciences at Oxford gives him the excuse to travel and eat attend conferences around the world. When not lecturing or researching climate change, his love for teaching and learning extends to his kitchen, where he holds classes in home-style Korean, Indian, Japanese and Chinese food.
Ai-Linh Tran For Ai-Linh and her family, food has always been a celebratory affair: Chinese people love to and live to feed! Her parents are Chinese born Vietnamese immigrants, so she grew up with fresh food and had a variety of dishes at every meal. Healthy and simple are Ai-Linh’s go-tos to show off the flavours and textures of key ingredients. She has taught Biology for over 11 years and is now swapping her lab coat and goggles for an apron and wok. Vietnamese food is fresh and light with ample herbs, whereas Chinese home cooking is far more simple and humble with a lot of variety and exotic looking ingredients: Ai-Linh is excited to share a range of dishes and help you discover something new.
Lia Chokoshvili

Lia is a Georgian-born language teacher at the University of Oxford with a passion for food and a vast knowledge of the traditional dishes of her home country, which she generously shares with us at her incredibly popular classes. Georgian food is delicious and like nothing you’ve ever tasted before, so Lia’s expertise is invaluable in guiding us through its mysteries.
Claire Andersson

Claire Andersson has been working as a chef and caterer since 2002 after completing a Diploma at the renowned Leiths School of Food and Wine. In recent years Claire has specialized in Swedish cuisine as she has family in Sweden and a beautiful family summerhouse to enjoy during the summer months. Claire has developed Andersson family recipes, and researched many more traditional Swedish and Danish recipes. Claire also runs a Supper Club in Dorchester-on-Thames, where the beautiful historic building of Dorchester Abbey Guest House is transformed into a pop-up 40-cover restaurant with great reviews and a popular local following.