Cooking courses return to the Flavour & Haver kitchen

29 October 2021
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Cyrenians cooking classes are back in the Flavour & Haver Cook School kitchens! After a long period of conducting classes online during the pandemic, Flavour & Haver have reopened their kitchen for in-person cooking classes, including the well-regarded skills development programme. 

During the past 18 months, cooking courses have been held over Zoom for safety reasons. However, there have been limitations to the digital approach, and it has been a priority for the Flavour & Haver team to coordinate a safe return to the training kitchen. 

The kitchen, which is thoroughly cleaned and sanitised between uses, has established a set of Covid-safety regulations to ensure that people can participate fully and safely in classes. For participants in both our public cooking classes and our referral-based Cooking Skills courses, the following safety regulations are now in place to keep participants safe. 

  • Social distancing will be in place throughout the kitchen 
  • Everyone entering the kitchen will wear masks unless exempt, and will sanitise their hands on entry. 
  • Temperature checks will be held on entry, and staff and volunteers will take regular lateral flow tests 
  • Participants will be asked to wash hands regularly and thoroughly throughout the class 

For the Cooking Skills courses, which are held for free for participants referred through local services, a few additional changes have been made to enable social distancing and minimise potentially unsafe practise. 

  • The course has been reduced from 8 weeks to 6 
  • Participants for in-person classes are currently limited to 6 to enable social distancing 
  • Unfortunately, participants cannot be accompanied during the class, although support workers are invited to accompany clients to the building to help them settle in where needed. 

The return of in-person Cooking Skills courses has been a priority in developing Covid safety for the kitchen. During the closure of in-person classes, participants in the referral-based skills courses have received training over Zoom, with those who need it provided with devices and free WiFi connections through the Connecting Scotland programme. However, while the courses have been highly successful, with positive impacts on participants’ skills, confidence and mental wellbeing, there have been limitations around the remote learning approach. 

The Cooking Skills courses, which are currently open for referrals, are designed to take the mystery out of meal prep, planning and budgeting to support independent living for people aged 16+. Over six 3-hour classes, students learn a range of skills to make food affordable, manageable and healthy, including preparing and sharing meals, food hygiene and safety, signs of spoilage in food, planning and preparing meals on a budget, and making the most out of leftovers. Participants also have the option of earning an accredited REHIS Elementary Cooking Skills qualification, which can support a move into professional kitchens and catering work. 

The regular, structured sessions, personal support and social contact can be vastly positive for people who are otherwise struggling with depression or social isolation, particularly in person. The classes are supportive spaces, where participants receive tailored support to address their concerns and anxieties. Students have the opportunity to cook together and, at in-person classes, to eat together, and have identified the cooking classes as helping them develop confidence and independence and find joy in cooking and eating. 

“I actually love cooking again. I’ve learnt so much, it’s amazing.” - participant in a 2021 digital cooking course. 

The first in-person cooking skills course for the year, beginning in November, is open for referrals. Participants will need to be able to attend our Jane Street kitchen for three hours, once a week on the same day, beginning on 6 November. If you are professionally supporting someone who could benefit from the course, please fill out a referral form and contact us at by Tuesday 2 November. Following referral, we will arrange a 20-30 minute appointment for you and your client to visit the kitchen, discuss the programme and complete an enrolment form ahead of the first session. 

Affordable public classes are also held both online and in person, the profits of which will go to support our work tackling poverty, social isolation and homelessness. Join us on 20 November for Persian Cooking with Solmaz Eradat, or in December for our Christmas Baking class or our Christmas Cookie Swap