Food & drink

Ann Hood shares the joy of cooking

18 Dec 2020 | Written by Ann Hood

Ann Hood, founder of Ann's Smart School of Cookery

Today, we have an extra special guest blog from Ann Hood, founder of Ann’s Smart School of Cookery and past contestant on BBC Masterchef. Ann started the cookery school as a hobby in her own home, before massive demand saw her expand to include her professional kitchen and mobile corporate events. In the thirteen years it has been operating it has grown from strength to strength, offering cookery adventures for everyone, and teaching the skills you won’t learn just by reading a book. Ann’s Smart School of Cookery is a partner of The Joy Club, so why not take a look at the courses she has to offer?

Members, you can access Ann’s courses by clicking here, or by signing in to your account, searching for ‘Eating in & drinking in’ invitations and selecting ‘Cook-a-long live streaming class’.

Here, Ann tells us about the challenges of running a successful business, her favourite course to teach and her plans for 2021…

I started the cookery school as a small home business as a break from the stresses of being an interior designer. At the time it was something to look forward to at weekends, but when the last recession hit it slowly grew it into a business that was capable of supporting me financially.

Fast-forward to the present day and I’d say the greatest obstacle in running your own business is keeping ahead of your game. Although it’s an exciting challenge, it takes a lot of time and investment to get it right as – ultimately – we like to keep our clients interested and coming back for more. We are fortunate enough to have a huge regular following, which is what makes us so successful.

 When it comes to teaching, I love leading our cheese class. It’s a bit of magic and still makes me happy to see everyone’s faces when I explain the science and the simple process involved so anyone can make it quickly and easily.

 2020 has been a very tough year, but our online school was able to develop its full potential during lockdown. This has been an amazing challenge, but really good fun, too. I’m hopeful that this will continue into 2021 when we open our new branch in Beaconsfield. We have hired a venue in Windsor for many years, but we decided it was finally time to leap into our own premises due to demand for our courses, which is very exciting!

Ann’s bonus cookery tip:

Freeze as many everyday ingredients as you can so that you always have them to hand. Lemons, limes, chillies, ginger – just grate them from frozen when you need them and pop them back ready for the next time. This prevents food waste and the flavour will be enhanced, too.

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