BBC One chef crown couldn’t have come at a better time for The Cooking Shed founder
Regan Anderton, founder of The Cooking Shed, tells Business Advice about leaving a city career to start a cookery school from her garden, and why winning BBC One’s Yes Chef competition delivered a timely confidence boost.
Who are you and what’s your business?
Im Regan Anderton, the founder of The Cooking Shed a cookery school and private dining company based in West Wickham, Kent.
What inspired you to leave your city career and start a cooking school?
I had my son four years ago, and when returned to work as a digital planning director from maternity leave, I realised that I wanted different things from a career that I just wouldnt find in London.
I was driven by the flexibility to work my own hours, being able to pick my son up from nursery and read him a story at bedtime, and a sense of pride and achievement in my work so that one day my son would look up to me and think Id done something that truly helped others.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when starting up?
Local councils and planning departments, and having to submit my quarterly accounts without really understanding what the accountant was submitting on my behalf (I do now?).
Being the marketeer, the cookery school teacher, the business owner, the finance director, the cleaner, the planner, and whatever other hat I have to wear on an hourly basis as a business owner.
What makes The Cooking Shed different to other cooking schools?
As well as running adult classes, and children’s cookery classes, I also run cookery lessons for adults and children to attend together I think it’s important for adults to understand what children are capable of in the kitchen, so that when they go home they know which jobs they can do to help with making the dinner, and enabling them to spend quality time together.
Im also one of the very few cookery schools in the area to offer classes whereby children get to make dinner? rather than just decorating cupcakes and making biscuits. Were also unique in that we pick a different country each week, and cook a dish that’s representative of that country so in addition to learning a recipe, adults and children also learn a little about different cultures, languages, music, history, and geography.
Can you tell us about your experiences on BBC One’s Yes Chef?
It was amazing. I couldnt believe the timing of the show and the opportunity so soon to the planned launch of The Cooking Shed. The only problem was that filming coincided with me having a terrible cold, and so I couldnt taste or smell a thing throughout the whole of the filming.
Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.