Brian Hannan is a former editor of Caterer and Hotelkeeper who now runs the Cookery School in Glasgow, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. He speaks to Kerstin Kühn
How has the school developed over the past decade?
We have got bigger and better. When we started out we ran a total of five different courses overall and opened just two days a week with no evening classes; now we have one-day classes four days a week and evening classes on five days. Over a year, we teach about 200 different recipes. We run heavily discounted classes once a fortnight for schoolchildren, and once or twice a month a dozen children will come to a free one-day class with their parents.
What type of courses do you offer now?
At the moment our one-day courses comprise Bread, Fish, Seafood, Meat & Game, Italian, Contemporary, Indian, Asian, Thai, Spanish, Chinese, Dinner Party, Easy Entertaining, Baking, Cupcakes & Whoopie Pies, Chocolate, Pies & Pastry, Mexican, Gluten-Free Baking, Adult & Child, Asian Contemporary, Stocks & Sauces, Traditional, Desserts, Scottish Flavour and Scottish Classic. We also run evening cookery, baking, wine and cocktail classes.
How has the Scottish public's appreciation of food changed in the past 10 years? The public are amazingly well informed compared with a decade ago. Our customer base has changed, with a lot more men interested. Channel 4's Come Dine With Me helped by giving people the confidence to try something new, even if they were not very good cooks.
Tell us about the course you ran to help people battle severe depression. We were approached by a hospital after some research in America showed how cooking can help people with depression. So we organised a four-week course, once a week, for a dozen people.
Most had never cooked before. But gradually, once they saw how easy cooking was, their confidence grew, and it was wonderful at the end of the course to see that they felt they had mastered something they had previously seen as an unbeatable obstacle.
You edited Caterer and Hotelkeeper back in the 1980s. What were your highlights?