Classes are suitable from absolutely anyone, from beginner to confident cook. We hold the classes in pop-up venues in and around Oxford, and each class in 2.5-3 hours long. All ingredients and equipment are provided – just bring yourself, and come along to enjoy cooking and eating together.

How to Redeem a Gift Voucher

If you are the lucky recipient of one of our vouchers, all you need to do is send us an email at  Let us know your voucher number, and which course you would like to attend.  We’ll book you straight in.

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21/09/2019 - 22/09/2019

If you are longing to launch into the world of food writing and photography, as a pastime, as a side-line or full-time, come and join us for this weekend with seasoned food writer Sophie Grigson and top food photographer William Shaw.   Combine our food writing and food photography days to create a weekend filled with food words and food vision.   We’re lucky enough to be taking over the wonderful  Honesty Cookery School  near Newbury for the weekend.


For more on the programme for each day, read the individual day details below.


SOPHIE GRIGSON has written over 20 books, including SPICE (2014), VEGETABLES ((2006) and EAT YOUR GREENS (some time last century) and numerous newspaper and magazine articles, on- and off-line.   She has co-tutored food writing courses for the  Arvon Foundation.  She has worked frequently with William Shaw over several decades. Her signature relaxed and open approach to teaching will be as evident here as it is in her cooking classes.


WILLIAM SHAW has worked as a free-lance photographer for over 20 years and is as happy snapping a sheep farmer on the side of a windswept hill as he is working in his own studio.  He has worked for a seemingly endless array of clients including the BBC, Olive Magazine, John Lewis, Sainsburys, the  Hairy Bikers, the late lamented Antonio Carluccio, Mary Berry and many more.   His warm manner and light touch make him a joy to work with, and just about the best person to teach how to extract the best from any food scene.



DATE:   21st & 22nd September 2019


SATURDAY, 21st September 2019 – WRITING

10.00 am:   Arrive, Coffee, Tea, Settle in

10.30 am:   First Writing Session – SOPHIE GRIGSON

This morning we will focus on writing prose that holds a reader’s attention to the very end.  With a maximum of 12 people on the course, the tone will be informal, intimate, creative and instructive.   As time is relatively short, we will concentrate on beginning to write one or two short pieces each. which can be smoothed and finished after the course, for Sophie to critique (constructively and gently) at a later time.

13.00 pm   Making & Noting Lunch – with an inspiring heap of early autumn produce on the table, we will make our own lunch together.    As well as being a pleasure for us all, this is also a prelude to the first afternoon session.

14.00:  The Nuts and Bolts of Writing a Recipe – SOPHIE GRIGSON

It’s not quite as easy as you might think!   In this session we’ll run through the basics, including different  recipe styles and formats.   Each participant will write their own recipe based on what they prepared or cooked at lunch

16.30    GUEST TUTOR:   Self-Publishing And Other Practicalities – tba

Brief One-to-One Tutorials – SOPHIE GRIGSON

18.00-18.30 Time to go Home


SUNDAY, 22nd September 2019  PHOTOGRAPHY

Taking pictures of food that make every viewer desperately hungry to eat the plate clean is something photographer William Shaw ( seems to do effortlessly.  Of course, nothing is that simple, but in this day-long course he will be passing on some of his expertise.   Whether you work with a smartphone, or a DSLR camera, William will be showing you how to style, compose and frame your photographs, how to make the most of your camera settings, how to exploit natural light, or to light food indoors, how to tell a story with a single shot.

10 a.m.  Arrive, Coffee, Tea and Settle In

10.30     Photography Part 1:   WILLIAM SHAW

In this first session of the day, William will be concentrating on working with both natural and indoor lighting, and composition.  These are absolutely hands on sessions, and throughout the day we will provide selections of ingredients and cooked dishes of various sorts, some more challenging than others, to practice on with William’s guidance.   With a maximum of 10 people  taking the course, there will be time for him to offer individual notes and suggestions.

12.30  Lunch

13:30 Photography Part 2:  WILLIAM SHAW

This afternoon we get a little more specific.   William will be talking and demonstrating how to style and frame cooked dishes.   The aim is not only to produce a beautiful piece of art, but also to make the viewer long to reach out, grab the food, take a bite and savour  the taste.    It’s no small order, but this is your chance to to learn the essentials, and try them out in practice.

16.30  Time to Go Home



DAY 1.

Whatever you like to write on and with

Pen and Notebook

2 pieces of food writing/recipe writing that you particularly like


DAY 2.

Your smartphone or camera (improvers)

USB stick, laptop

2 examples of food photography that really appeals to you



We will provide:  refreshments, including lunch, through the days;  endless support and encouragement.


Please note that neither accommodation nor evening meals are included.   If you would like recommendations for places to stay and eat in or near Newbury, we’re happy to help.

£550.00Add to basket





Honesty Cookery School
The Barn North Sydmonton House North Sydmonton Newbury Berkshire RG20 4UL
Newbury, RG20 4UL United Kingdom
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