Please see this page for our latest COVID-19 update.
How do I contact Food at 52?
The best way is to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Emily on 07854 160 750, John on 07814027067, or Natasha on 07539443301 (please note Natasha works part time, mainly weekday afternoons).
We also use Facebook, instagram and Twitter.
When was Food at 52 founded?
Food at 52 opened it doors to friends and family in Autumn 2007 and launched to the public in January 2008. John Benbow had been running informal classes for friends for a while and due to increasing demand he decided to open a cooking school from home – Food at 52 was born
How does the cooking class work and what sort of cooking will I do?
All of our cookery classes are very hands-on so everyone participates in making each of the dishes during the day. We believe in this way you leave Food at 52 with the confidence to try the dishes as home and impress friends and family!
Most of our courses are half day classes of 3.5 hours during the day and evenings. We also run a few 5 hour classes and a longer Fish & Seafood class.
When you enter we invite you to get comfortable in our lounge area until it is time to go downstairs to open the wine in the evening or get a tea or coffee on a weekend morning. After an introduction, guests work to usually prepare 3 tor 5 dishes covering starters, mains, side dishes and depending on the cuisine, a dessert. Sample menus are on each product page to give you an idea of what you will be making.
Unlike many cookery schools where you simply chop a few vegetables and the rest is all demonstration, here you will be guided step by step through each recipe. So if you sign up to the fish course you’ll learn how to fillet and prepare seafood, by watching the chef demonstrate and then having a go yourself. Students, working often in pairs or groups, will cook at their own group gas ring. Some classes are more involved than others e.g. Indian Street Feast makes use of more gadgets and tools.
During the course John, Emily and the chef team plan the menu so that usually the format is to eat something earlier on and the main meal is at the end of the class when the last 45 minutes to an hour is given way to sitting around the dinner table and eating the feast that has been created. The wine flows freely as does the conversation. Many people have commented on how they feel like they are at a dinner party rather than a formal cookery class! Which is very much our intention.
The key thing is to not book a meal afterwards as you'll be stuffed - trust us!
What do I need to bring?
We provide all the ingredients, drinks, equipment, apron and recipes so all you need to bring is yourself (in flat comfortable shoes please and hair bands for those with long hair ideally).
Please note we do not send out a reminder email after you have booked - please write it in your diary so you don't forget! We will have the name of the person who booked unless they give your name too.
When should I arrive?
We suggest around 5-10 minutes before is ample as we're often busy setting up for the class before. There is a bar opposite called Palatino which is great to wait in if you're early.
What types of people come to Food at 52 and how many to a class?
We have some foodies attend who are expert cooks and simply want to try out a new style of cooking such as Moroccan or Thai. At the other end of the spectrum we have novice cooks who want to learn how to cook some dishes from their favourite type of food or come onto a Kitchen Basics course. The love of food and enthusiasm to learn are the common factors! Students come from all backgrounds and nationalities.
We are very inclusive and attract a variety of people which we love - we’ve had both an 80 year old and a 16 year old participating in the same class! Our minimum age limit for courses is 16 years old. We have occasionally had younger but please contact us if this is the case and a paying adult would need to accompany them.
The format is very friendly and set up around one table, so whether you are a couple, group or individual - all are welcomed and quickly made to feel at ease.
Our maximum public class size is 18 people, our private and corporate group sizes can go up to around 35. Read more here for corporate groups.
How do I know which course to take?
On the course page of our website we have explained in general what is involved in each class and we provide a sample menus, which can occasionally change.
Although we do our best to adapt it's best to contact us if you have any specific dietary requirement or allergy before booking to check the course is suitable. This dietary requirements and allergies page should also be helpful.
At Food at 52 it doesn’t matter if you don’t have any cooking experience, our small class sizes and tailored tuition will allow you to pick up new skills and have fun along the way. Feel free to give us a call if you have any specific queries.
Can I book a private class?
We often have groups of friends coming together who want to have an exclusive event. We love running these classes and everyone finds it a really nice way to catch up with each other. The only restriction is that the minimum booking is 12 people for an exclusive event on a weekday and 14 people on a weekend. Please see our team building and private parties pages for more details.
Do you cater for corporate groups?
We have run many successful corporate team building events including Linklaters, UBS, Facebook, Microsoft and Google. We find that our three and a half to four hour cooking classes are a great alternative to going out for a work team meal and really help build a team. We can tailor make the menu and wines to suit your budget and can offer events for between 12 and 35 people. Please see our team building and private parties pages for more details.
Do you sell vouchers/gift cards?
We do sell vouchers, we call them 'gift cards' as people find they make great gifts for friends, relatives and work colleagues. If you want to buy a cooking class for a gift but you are not sure of the availability of your friend then a voucher/gift card is ideal. They will receive a voucher via email and can simply go online to choose and book a course of their choice.
We send nothing in the post so there is no delay. You can print something to give yourself by clicking here.
The credit you give them is available to use however your gift recipient chooses, for example they can take a half day value (£130) and upgrade themselves to the full day (£150/£165) if they wish, they are not restricted.
All of our vouchers are valid for 12 months from date of purchase. They're great if you're not sure what date they can attend as changing dates can incur a fee*.
Please note you cannot extend gift cards further than 12 months, but you can book a class after the expiry date as long as you have booked it before it expires.
Click here to learn more about gift cards.
What is the cost per person?
Prices on our website are per person.
From 1st April 2020 our prices are:
- £130 for the half day class per person
- £150 for most full day classes per person
- £165 for the longer Fish & Seafood full day class per person
How do I pay?
You need to pay for the full cost of the cookery course at the time of booking. We currently use Paypal to accept payment via our website. You do not need a Paypal account, simply type in your credit/debit card details and the transfer is made to our account. It is completely secure and fast way of paying. Please note transactions are non-refundable.
What happens if I can’t make the course I’m booked on? What are your Ts and Cs?
*Please note our Terms and Conditions: No refunds given. Date changes allowed free of charge if made more than 28 days from the class date. Between 28 days - 14 days changes will incur a £25 per person fee. Within 14 days of the class no date changes can be made under any circumstances. However, you can send someone else in your place. Please let us know your dietary requirements and allergies in advance, to ensure the class is appropriate.
If you can't make the course you're booked on within 14 days you are welcome to send someone in your place, just let us know. We can send you the recipes you miss if you can't attend.
What if I have an allergy or dietary requirement?
Please read this page as a starting point and alert us to any dietary requirements or allergies before a course so we can discuss this with you whether the class is suitable as not all might be.
Please be aware that the following allergens may be used in some of the recipes used at the cookery school:
Celery, cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs, mustard, nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, soya, sulphur dioxide.
Therefore we cannot guarantee we are free from traces of any allergen and others in the class may be cooking with that ingredient, even if you do not eat it. Further detail is available upon request.
Do you have disabled access?
Unfortunately we do not have facilities for wheelchairs due to our entrance door and staircase to get to the kitchen.
What do others say?
We're very proud of our google and TripAdvisor reviews, read more of what others thought through the links.
Where is Food at 52 located?
We are at 96 Central Street, London EC1V 8AJ. Our nearest tube is either Old Street - Exit 7 (10 min walk), or Angel (10 min walk). There is a car park nearby but limited street parking. Please note some smart phones take you to the wrong place so look at the map below, we are opposite Palatino restaurant.
Take A Sneak Peak
Have a look around our kitchen with Google's internal street view below or by clicking here.
What are Food at 52's booking terms?
Please note our Terms and Conditions: No refunds given. Date changes allowed free of charge if made more than 28 days from the class date. Between 28 days - 14 days changes will incur a £25 per person fee. Within 14 days of the class no date changes can be made under any circumstances. However, you can send someone else in your place. Please let us know your dietary requirements and allergies in advance, to ensure the class is appropriate.
Food at 52 vouchers are valid for 12 months. You may use a voucher which does not cover the value of a particular course by paying the balance at check out.
We retain the right to change the sample menu or cancel classes for example due to staff availability or numbers, where possible we will give as much notice as we can if this is the case.
You won't be sent a reminder, so please note the classes you book onto in your diary.