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Manchester’s Food Sorcery classes aiming to make cooking accessible for everyone

I went down to the new Food Sorcery cooking classes to try and sharpen my culinary skills over the weekend

DISCLAIMER: I am the worst chef, possibly of all time.

From beans to cereal, you name it, my cooking is a disasterclass from top to bottom.

So when I was offered a chance to pick up some cooking skills – I jumped at the opportunity.

On Sunday I took part in Food Sorcery’s Malaysian cooking class (while admittedly, nervously checking my phone every five minutes for the England score) to see if both England and the staff at Food Sorcery could perform a miracle.

Food sorcery is set in a beautiful modern space in Deansgate that has been open for about four weeks. They also have a thriving business in Didsbury which has been teaching the area how to cook cuisine from all over the world since 2016.

Stylish settings down in Deansgate

All the pans and hobs are brand new, with cutting edge technology making you feel like you were on an episode of Masterchef.

Without the pressure however, as chef Ana put everyone at ease with her lighthearted humour and charisma.

Anna, who hails from Kuala Lumpur, has pedigree hosting cooking classes, having run one of the most successful cooking classes in Malaysia.

Her cooking classes are ranked No. 1 in TripAdvisor under the category of Food & Drinks in Kuala Lumpur over the last 15 years.

Ana working her magic

First of all, I would be first to recommend these classes to anyone who is tentatively thinking about making a foray into cooking.

The classes are suitable for beginners, with all ingredients and instructions provided, but they are also great for more experienced chefs.

Like me, there were a lot of sheepish men looking to share the ‘burdens’ of cooking for their partners, and to pick up some cooking flair.

Ana talked us through her life in Malaysia and learning to prepare dishes, putting us all at ease as we drank a beer and nibbles some pre-prepared teriyaki chicken.

She then talked techniques and extensively about the benefits of ‘massaging’ all produce to get maximum flavour.

What instantly stuck me as useful was the techniques Ana shared about cooking, cutting and preparing food to ensure it is cooked to perfection.

Things like, how to effectively (and safely) chop and prepare vegetables, splitting chillis, caramelising spices to bring out the full aroma of the produce – these were all news to me and I imagine would be too for people who weren’t very good at cooking.

That’s not to say these lessons are based at absolute beginners.

There was also a mix of experienced cooks, who were looking to broaden their flavour pallets and broaden their culinary knowledge.

To start with, we prepared Savoury Prawns in Lettuce leaves. There was a mixture of garlic, ginger, pepper, chilli, with prawns all cooked together to make a delicious filling which we collected in lettuce leaves. It was absolutely delicious and surprisingly simple. Once I got home, Food Sorcery had sent the recipe and I had another go at making it the flavours were so good.

Ana instructed us of the order in which things were cooked, and for us to search for the aroma of when things were ready: to cook by smell and sight, not by rigid instruction and timings.

It was a completely new experience for me, who usually just reads recipes off the internet and follows them to the T.

The results were fantastic, and quickly disappeared as everyone on the lesson sat down to enjoy the spoils and have a chat about the first course.

Next up for the main dish was Curry Laksa, A balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy elements. A gorgeous dish.

The ingredients may be unfamiliar to Western audiences, and seeing and cooking with them is a fantastic opportunity to broaden your culinary vocabulary.

Ana talked us through the regional differences of the Curry Laksa and the origins of the dish.

To instagram!

The food was again delicious.

We went through how to create the paste for the curry base, then added coconut cream and finally stock.

What was incredibly useful was the instruction how to caramelize correctly and make sure the dish was cooked to perfection, with the full smells and aromas of the spices unleashed to their full potential.

As we all sat down to enjoy what we had created, the group reflected on how enjoyable the class was and how much we had learned, with a few of of admittedly out of our comfort zones.

Classes are roughly priced from about £100- £160 for two people, and include a drink on entry.

They cover an amazing breadth of classes, from Bao Buns & Noodles, Japanese, Malaysian, Korean, Indian street food to name but a few. The choice is literally endless.

Classes are numerous, and you can see more by clicking here.

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