Food & Drink Monday, February 29th

Take it on tour: Rayeesa's cooking school hits the road

What do you do if those wanting to attend your cookery school can’t get to you? You take it on tour, of course.

Despite such a move usually being the preserve of rock bands looking to reach an audience far and wide, this is exactly what Rayeesa Asghar-Sandys has done after it became apparent not everybody interested in attending her Indian cookery school could travel to her base in Herefordshire. 

Rayeesa started her award-winning cookery school in 2010, teaching small classes the techniques to create appetising Indian food. She runs weekday and weekend classes from her farm house kitchen in Mordiford.

The idea of taking the cookery school on the road came following the launch of her frozen sauces range ‘Spiced by Rayessa’, and people from all over the country wanting to attend her cookery school.

Rayeesa Asghar-Sandys is taking her Indian cookery school on the road.

“Our sauces are now available in over 70 independent shops throughout the UK, which is fab, but we are not well known in these locations as we are a ‘new concept’ in this busy market place,” said Rayessa. 

“So I wanted to engage with both our retailer customers and our users in a fun and creative way, and having done several ‘pop up’ cookery masterclasses before at venues such as Ludlow Food Festival and Handley Organics in Ledbury, I realised that would possibly work on a larger scale.

“I asked a few of our stockists and they were totally up for it. The idea is to build a buzz and excitement about Indian cooking and help to sell more of our lovely sauces.

“I am seen at many food festivals on the cookery stage demonstrating my cooking skills, and so see people from all over.

“I am introduced as Rayeesa from ‘Rayeesa’s Indian Kitchen Cookery School in Herefordshire,’ which is great. I am proud of where it all started from my kitchen in Mordiford.”

Touring rock and roll bands can take a convoy of heavy duty trucks and hairy drivers on the road with them so how does Rayessa manage to take all of her equipment with her?

“I have a small van type car which I call my ‘Pope Mobile’ - it’s a Renault kangoo, which is just the right size for my boxes of equipment,” said Rayessa.

“I take all the hardware, and spices etc, and the venues supply the fresh local ingredients. This is important as we want to promote using local wherever we are to support local producers.” 

This Friday, March 4, Rayessa is teaching a class at the Old Electric Shop in Hay-on-Wye. Details here.

On Saturday March 5, she's giving a demonstration at the Steamer Trading Cook Shop in Hereford.

Rayessa's UK tour, including a few Herefordshire dates, looks like this:

Brockwier – Monmouth, Thursday March 10

Palm2 - Clapton, Hackney, March 22 and 23

The Nest – Ledbury, March 31

Pear Tree Deli – Dorset,  April 5

Haven Hereford (Fundraiser ‘Curry Up’), April 15

Teddington Stores - Cheltenham, May 12

Millins of Tiptree - Essex, May 19

Oxtail & Trotter – Cheshire, Saturday May 28 to May 30 (tbc)

Old Electric Shop – Hay, June 1

Langs Farm- Bideford, Devon at Open Farm, Sunday June 5

Etheringtons - Falmouth,  June 15-June 16

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