We are delighted to present the newest addition to our talented throng of tutors here at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School: Clare Hobley.
If you come onto one of our vegan or gluten-free baking courses, you’ll be under Clare’s expert guidance, so we thought we’d give her a chance to introduce herself to you…
My name is Clare and I’m really excited to be working with the Vegetarian Society Cookery School. I adopted a vegetarian diet as a New Year’s resolution back in 2008. My original plan was to do it for a month, but I quickly realised I felt a whole lot better and so did my conscience, so I’ve been vegetarian ever since.
I have always loved cooking and baking and was taught by my dad. He was a chef and also had a catering company, so I grew up around food and busy kitchens. I’ve taught cookery to groups and individuals since 2012 and love sharing my enthusiasm for food and meeting new people.
Before having my little boy in February this year I used to love hosting dinner parties for family and friends. Now my partner (who’s been vegetarian for over twenty years) and I are looking forward to the challenges and rewards of raising a vegetarian baby.
For this post I’ve been asked to consider who I’d invite to my dream dinner party, and (after wracking my brains) I can honestly say that I don’t think the company matters as long as the food is good! I ate at a fantastic vegetarian restaurant in Berlin called ‘Cookies Cream’ in 2013 and have been thinking about that meal ever since.
As for my hobbies and pastimes, I’m a bit of a ‘crazy cat lady’ and I love music and reading. I’m also a dab hand at pointing and bricklaying. And, according to my partner, apparently I’m good at creating washing up!
Aside from family life and working in busy kitchens, I love working with disadvantaged groups who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to try delicious food. These include a monthly group of around eight people with learning difficulties, Down’s Syndrome and Aspergers. This involves creating simple to prepare and easy read recipes, complete with pictures, and working through the recipes together.
I have also taught cooking at school holiday cookery clubs for families living in a deprived area. Parents would bring their children, who ranged between 2 and 16 years old, and they’d prepare healthy meals from scratch.
I’ve also done one-to-one work with social housing tenants who were in rent arrears. The idea was to go in to their own homes and teach them to feed their families for less than £5 in a bid to reduce their spend on takeaways and ready-meals. Each tenant got eight sessions. They’d start off with easy dishes like soup and by the end we had people making pastry, pies and pizza dough – things they thought they’d never be able to do!