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Food Learning

The aim of the food learning programme at the Garden Museum is to inspire participants to cook with, learn more about, and enjoy to eat; plants. We base our recipes on vegetables and fruits and like to include botanically inspired foods such as edible flowers and herbs. Where possible we take inspiration from items in The Museum’s own collection, gardens or the temporary exhibitions.

The programme has an emphasis on healthy nutritious food by nature of its vegetable centric recipes, but also through choosing foods that are high in fibre, contain complex carbohydrates, are lower in sugar and we promote cooking from scratch. However, the nutritional angle is never pushed or the main focus of the session, as we believe giving our participants the necessary skills to cook delicious nutritious food from whole ingredients is the best way to inspire them to continue with these habits outside of the classroom.

We achieve this through our diverse programme incorporating working with a wide range of groups through our public programme open to all and community based sessions aimed at groups who come along together. Most sessions take place in our purpose built learning studio kitchen.

We started running sessions in summer 2017, and since then have run over 200 sessions. As well as welcoming in many local families and adults we have welcomed in community groups from South London Cares, South East London Vision, Archbishop Sumner School, Oasis Play Nature Garden, adults and young carers from Lambeth Carers Hub, CEFL, Lambeth Children’s University and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

Each cooking session we do includes sitting down together at the table to enjoy what we have made together. Eating together socially and mindfully is an important aspect of the cooking process. Everyone gets to take a copy of the recipes home, and we love to hear about the recipes you are now recreating at home.

For more information or questions about the food learning programme at the Museum please get in touch with out Food Learning Officer Ceri Jones on ceri@gardenmuseum.org.uk or 020 7401 8865

A list of all our upcoming public food learning events are below.

Family Online Cookalong Sessions

This August the Garden Museum will be running short online family cookalong sessions, all based around herbs that can be grown at home

Whilst social distancing remains, we will be holding our family feasts cooking sessions online, so you’ll be able to join us from your home kitchens throughout the summer holidays.

As usual, our sessions will be for small groups, for maximum interaction. We’re shortening them as we know that cooking on screen requires a lot more attention than cooking in person.

Our family sessions are geared towards children aged 5-10, and they will need to be supervised throughout by an adult.

Click on the link below to find out what we’ll be cooking together, and to book your spot.

Honey & Rosemary Soda Bread

Follow and cookalong with our Food Learning Officer Ceri as she shows us how to make one of our favourite recipes from our cooking classes – a honey & rosemary soda bread.

Puff Pastry Tart with Cream Cheese Tomato and Basil, also known as Pizza Tart!

We’ve made this tart in a couple of our schools and family food learning sessions this year, and since it goes down so well we wanted to share it. There are lots of tasks young children can get involved with, tomatoes are soft so should be easy to slice under supervision – don’t forget to use the bridge and claw technique we teach in class. There’s also the pastry rolling, cheese grating and egg wash brushing!

The tart will serve 2 hungry adults, or 4 little mouths, or you can use the whole pack of puff pastry and double the quantities to serve double the people.

125g soft cheese such as Ricotta, Philadelphia or supermarket own brand
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
6 medium-sized ripe tomatoes (different colours if possible), or equivalent cherry tomatoes
185g ready rolled out puff pastry (a full pack is usually 375g)
A handful grated mature cheddar
1 egg, lightly whisked
Fresh basil for topping
Black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C (fan).
Weigh out the cream cheese into a small bowl, and mix together with the mustard and a little black pepper. Stir until smooth.
Cut the tomatoes into slices around 6mm thick slices, or split the cherry tomatoes in half.
Unroll the pastry into a rectangle straight onto a baking tray large enough to accommodate it, roll it out a little so it stretches to 20cm x 24cm. With a knife mark a border the thickness of 1-2cm around the edge. Don’t cut through the pastry.
Spread the soft cheese on the pastry, but  inside the border, then arrange the tomato slices on top, slightly overlapping them like fallen dominoes.
Scatter a handful of grated cheddar cheese over the top and brush an egg wash all around the exposed pastry edges.
Put the tart in the oven for 20 mins or until the pastry is golden and the tomatoes are cooked.
Scatter over the fresh basil.

Recipe inspired by BBC Food


At our monthly masterclass series, you can learn from our expert food writers, chefs and teachers and leave with in-depth knowledge in a new type of cooking each month. From the botanical to the international, all classes are based on vegetarian produce, and take place in our learning studio kitchen.

All classes are very hands-on, with an element of demo from the teacher. Maximum 8 participants per class.

All profits from the series will be put towards equipment for the studio as well as our community programmes.

We will be rescheduling classes postponed due to the pandemic as soon as we are able to, and will be in touch with ticket buyers in due course.

Food Learning Volunteers

Each of our food learning sessions are supported by a food learning volunteer. We have a small team of regular volunteers, but are always looking for more to come and join us.
Volunteering involves helping a session leader set up for the session, assisting with the smooth running of the session, and helping to clear up afterwards. We welcome experienced professional cooks, enthusiastic home chefs and those wishing to gain experience in a food learning or teaching environment.
If you’re interested in becoming a food learning volunteer please email ceri@gardenmuseum.org.uk
For more information on volunteering at the Garden Museum in general, please click here.

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