Our tutors

The Vegetarian Society Cookery School holds host to a number of highly knowledgeable tutors with years of experience in teaching, nutrition and the catering industry. You can find out more about them below.

Sam, The Vegetarian Society Cookery School manager

Life-long vegetarian, now vegan, Sam, joins us as our new cookery school manager and brings with her a wealth of experience, having worked in the catering industry for over 15 years. Originally from Liverpool, with a mixed European heritage, she has experimented with many different flavours and dishes throughout her career. Sam said: “I love that I’m able to pass on my knowledge and skills through the cookery school. I aim to inspire people to be more creative when preparing food for themselves and their families and to thoroughly enjoy cooking.”

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Alex Connell, Principal Tutor

Principal Tutor, Alex Connell, has 25 years experience as a chef and a teacher under his belt, with the last 14 years spent working for the Vegetarian Society. The role is varied and Alex teaches, develops recipes and workshops, writes magazine articles and leads for the Vegetarian Society on food and cookery.

He demonstrates great veggie dishes at events around the country and in 2015 lead a tour demonstrating to crowds in major UK cities. He has worked alongside such luminaries as the Hairy Bikers and Jay Rayner and has made numerous appearances on TV and radio.

In his spare time, Alex has raised thousands of pounds for charity running marathons.

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Nina and Sumita, Indian Cookery Tutors

Nina and Sumita are two exceptionally gifted and charismatic tutors. They honed their skills in front of millions of viewers on the BBC’s Network East with Sonia Deol and haven’t looked back since. They’re such a riot in the kitchen that we call them the Spice Girls! Students are entertained and informed.

Nina and Sumita teach the Indian Master Class, Regional Indian Cuisine & Vegan Indian Streetfood.

Fiona, Vegan Tutor

Fiona has been vegetarian for nearly 30 years and vegan for the past year. She has been a student on many of the Vegetarian Society Cookery School’s courses before successfully completing the Professional Chefs’ Diploma in October 2017. As a mother to two young children, Fiona enjoys using seasonal produce, that help her family glow from the inside and out! With more people enjoying plant-based food, Fiona’s courses show you where to begin and give you fresh ideas to experiment with at home too.

Maz, ‘The Mauritian Street Food Veggie’ Tutor

Marie-Claire, (or ‘Maz’), joins us for our brand new course: ‘The Mauritian Street Food Veggie’. Being of Mauritian roots, her love of this tropical island’s cuisine comes from her family background, and from when she worked in a restaurant in Mauritius in her late teenage years. She tells us that Mauritian food is often made up of “simple discovery”, usually two to five ingredients, which have the wow factor when combined. It also takes influences from Creole, Indian, Chinese and African food.

Although not vegetarian herself, Maz has worked in the catering industry for over 30 years and the vast majority of her teaching has been vegetarian. She has also worked with big organisations, including the LGBT Foundation and Manchester University, and she has catered for the England women’s cricket team too.

Maz is excited to share her knowledge of Mauritian food, which will include celebration desserts, street food and traditional sauces.

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Jonathan Smith, Vegan Tutor

Jonathan has been vegetarian for 36 years and vegan for the last 17. Having established vegetarian food and hospitality businesses, Jonathan has a strong interest in provenance and ethical food choices. He is passionate about helping students understand what goes on in cooking processes and the practical application of that knowledge to ‘free from’ cooking.

Lyn, ‘The Essential Veggie’ Tutor

Lyn is already a familiar face around the Vegetarian Society Cookery School, having worked at the charity for over 10 years as a cookery school assistant.

During her time at the Vegetarian Society, Lyn developed a passion for tutoring, completing the Professional Chefs’ Diploma back in 2006.

For Lyn, a vegetarian for over 30 years, being able to pass on what she has learnt over the years is very rewarding.

She will always make you feel at ease with her friendly and warm nature.