TRACEY Cotterell was pregnant and with a toddler already in tow when she quit her job as a chef for a law firm in the AMP building and started her own cooking school 20 years ago.
Mrs Cotterell recently bought an Ogilvie Road shopfront in Mt Pleasant’s The Precinct for her Matters of Taste school, where Spanish tapas classes are now the most popular.
Twenty years ago – when the cooking school operated from Mrs Cotterell’s home – a Morroccan tagine with homemade preserved leman was the rage.
“Lawyers and secretaries would get away from the craziness of their everyday work and come into the kitchen and ask what they should cook for dinner,” she said.
“There were no TV shows or social media, so they needed to speak to a real life person in the know.”
It took about a year before she had the courage to leave her job and focus on empowering people to use fresh produce to improve their wellbeing.
“I’ve had people in tears that they now have the confidence to go home and cook,” she said.
Mrs Cotterell said today’s media trends had resulted in people having much higher expectations of the class and greater expectations of what they felt they should be cooking at home.
“I just want people to cook with fresh food. You’ve got one body and one life,” she said.
More than 70,000 people have been through the school.
Cooking classes are regularly used as a corporate team building exercise.