Visit Eckington Manor in The Rotunda for a 30 minute 'Knife Skills' course and learn how to chop like a chef!  Running hourly throughout the festival places can be booked online at or by phone on 01386 751600

 If you’ve ever wondered how chefs chop with such speed and accuracy, slicing and dicing foods into the smallest and thinnest pieces with ease, then look no further.  The skilled chefs at Eckington Manor will be imparting their skill so expect to come away with some great tips that will make you quicker in the kitchen.

Courses will take place in the historic rotunda at the centre of the festival in the Inner Bailey and are limited to 12 participants per session at just £4.95 per person.

Places book up fast so we advise booking ahead.


Friday, 11th September: 11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm

Saturday, 12th September: 11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm

Sunday, 13th September: 11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm



 Ask any top chef what he considers to be the most important item in the kitchen, and certainly near the top of the list, and sometimes at the very top of the list, comes knives.

This year Ludlow Food Festival in conjunction with Eckington Manor are running a series of special Knife Skills classes that will cover all aspects of knives and of course their use in food preparation.

 “Most of us will use a knife every day, to cut a whole range of foods from fruit to meat to a slice of bread. Knives really are one of the most essential items in the kitchen,” says Eckington Manor owner Judy Gardner. “Yet they are also probably one of the least appreciated cooking tools. We have designed our classes to include general information on knives, such as how they are made and can be ice hardened to temper the metals for strength, and we also talk about chopping boards.

 “Most people have never considered bamboo shopping boards, yet bamboo with the grain up is excellent as no damage is done to the knife.  Then there is how to hold a knife correctly for different cuts. Really knowing how to use a knife properly is a fundamental of good cookery,” she added.

The classes are being run by top chef and knife expert Paul Bough of Zwilling Knives who has given us his top five tips: 

1) Always invest in good quality high carbon stainless steel knives. This will prove a saving in the long run as a good knife will last and last.

2) You only need three good knives to cover most things; a pairing knife, a utility knife and a chef’s knife.

3) Knives will need sharpening and honin as well. You will need a diamond steel to sharpen your knives every month or six weeks and you will also need to hone the knives with a honing steel for regular maintenance. You may need to hone a knife every hour and a half if it is in constant use or perhaps every week.

4) Never put your cutting knives into a dishwasher. Simply wash and rinse them in the sink.

5) Never cut on glass or marble, it is too hard for a knife to work on. Wood gives off its own enzymes to protect it, so use anti bacteria spray on a wooden cutting block one a month or so to ensure these enzymes don’t built up and taint the food.

“Don’t underestimate knife skills,” says Paul. “Knowing how to cut properly not only saves times but can help ensure uniformly cut food, meaning the food will cook evenly with better results.

Understanding the different knives, the way they work and the different cutting techniques should really be one of the first things people are taught when learning to cook.”

The series of short knife skills classes are being run at the Ludlow Food Festival in September, visit for further details.

Eckington Manor Cookery School is housed in an architecturally awarded converted Dutch barn set on its own 260 acre working farm in the Vale of Evesham.  The farm rears Aberdeen Angus and Highland beef, which is used in the cookery school.  In fact wherever possible ingredients are taken from the farm and gardens or locally sourced.  The school contains 10 fully equipped mini kitchens featuring Falcon Induction Range or AGA Cookers.

 Cookery courses run for ½ full, 2 and 3 days with evening demonstrations lasting for 2 hours.  You can combine your course with an overnight stay at Eckington Manor’s luxury accommodation (link to


Judy is the founder and owner of Eckington Manor Cookery School.  She has had a rich and successful 40 year career in the food industry as a producer, restaurateur and hotelier.  She is also a Food Ambassador for Worcestershire. . 

 It has been said that Judy has a gift for combining flavours to produce unique and delicious dishes, which can be tasted in each of the recipes taught at Eckington Manor.  She places a strong emphasis on keeping things simple, believing that recipes should major on only 3 key ingredients in order to produce fuss-free dishes that enhance foods’ natural flavours.  The school also impresses upon the importance of the provenance of food, teaching cooks how to select the best ingredients, to honour seasonality and favour local, exemplified beautifully by the school’s own farm and kitchen gardens.

 For more information visit


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