EVENTS: Growing & Cooking Food in the City – Conversations Around The Cookery School Table

Urban growing & gardening is the subject of the third in our new series of insightful monthly panel events on around topics that are close to our hearts at Cookery School.  Conversations Around The Cookery School Table is the place to enjoy lively discussions, networking with like-minded food lovers, and, as with all events and classes at our school, the opportunity to taste some delicious Cookery School food.

Urban Growing & Gardening


Our next event takes place on Monday 29th April 2024 from 6pm-8.30pm. In Growing & Cooking Food in the City we have teamed up with the Soil Association to host the evening exploring how so many people, businesses and communities are managing to grow fresh fruit and vegetables in central London in public spaces, gardens, on window sills and roof-top gardens.

Urban Growing and Cooking Panellists

For this new event for April we have brought together a fascinating panel with a wide range of experience in greening in the very heart of the capital and includes: Jack Wilson, Client Farm Operations Lead at Square Mile FarmsZoe McIntyre, General Manager at Hackney School of FoodPeter Weeden, Chef Director at The Culpeper, Grace Dennis, Food for Life Programme Manager at  Soil Association, and Tom Butterworth, Nature Leader at Arup’s Wild West End.


Zoe McIntyre

Zoe McIntyre is the manager of Hackney School of Food, a food education hub in the heart of Hackney, which teaches children in Hackney and beyond to grow and cook healthy, nutritious and sustainable food from scratch. Previous to this, she was the Advocacy Manager at the Food Foundation where she led impactful campaigns and advocacy activities on issues related to Free School Meals and children’s food access including running the #EndChildFoodPoverty campaign fronted by footballer Marcus Rashford.

She has a commitment to ensuring that healthy nutritious food, and food education, is a right not a privilege, for every children in the country.

Jack Wilson

Jack Wilson

Jack is the Client Farm Operations Lead at Square Mile Farms. He has worked across the country in both traditional agriculture and the Controlled Environment Agriculture /Vertical Farming industry, so brings a wealth of experience in all forms of growing. Jack has previously worked in a senior farming role at IGS (Intelligent Growth Solutions), leading operations at their R&D Centre in Scotland.

Jack is very passionate about Vertical Farming and how it can help address some of the biggest challenges we face, socially and environmentally.

Grace Dennis - Food For Life

Grace Dennis

Grace is the Local Programme Manager for the Food for Life programme in Medway. She works with schools supporting them to get growing their own food, cooking, and learning about where our food comes from.

Previously, Grace worked as a Project Manager for a research project with schools and community organisations, focussing on young people’s resilience and emotional wellbeing.

Grace’s grandparents owned a farm-shop and her family was involved with local farmers and producers in Sussex, so working for the Soil Association has felt like going back to her roots!

Tom Butterworth

Tom is the Nature Leader for ARUP which includes one of their projects Wild West End. He has extensive experience in nature positive, natural capital and biodiversity assessments. Tom supports clients in public and private sectors in meeting their objectives and targets together with their objectives for natural capital and nature. Tom has delivered biodiversity and natural capital assessments across many high-profile projects.

Tom has over 27 years’ experience working for wildlife. Over this time Tom has led practical management of protected sites, developed local, regional, and national biodiversity strategies and policies, led programs of research, and managed the delivery of the England’s biodiversity strategy.

Peter Weeden

Peter Weeden

Peter washed pots as a teenager and fell in love with the hustle and bustle of Hospitality so worked variously both front & back of house until 1996 when he went back to college to do day release to train as a Chef.

He joined Conran restaurants very eye opening Quaglinos in 1998 and then fine dining French Coq d’Argent for 5 years before rising to Head Chef to open Paternoster Chop House in 2004 where he realised dreams of cooking seasonal British food from suppliers that he forged great relationships with.

In 2012, he opened Newman St Tavern as Head Chef  & set out to champion the best and most sustainable approach to cooking and hospitality with Nigel Sutcliffe.  In 2017 he was appointed Head Chef at the Duke of Cambridge (The Organic pub) then run by Riverford and cooked vegetable led organic food before overseeing the Duke join the Culpeper Family.

In 2023 he took a role as Chef Director looking after not just the cooks but leading on vegetable growing aspirations across the group.

Urban Growing & Gardening - Culpeper Chefs on Rooftop Garden


Growing & Cooking Food in the City Agenda

6pm – 6.45pm: Enjoy welcome drinks, networking & seasonal canapes

6.45pm – 7pm: Demo of how to make Kuku Sabzi – a Persian herb laden omelette

7pm – 8pm: Panel Discussion with a Q&A

8pm – 8.30pm: Soil Association will bring along some small seedlings for people to pot in recycled cans, take home & grow, final goodbyes


Networking at Magic of Beans Event


Our Urban Growing & Gardening Event will cover topics including:


* Is it possible to grow food in offices? What opportunities exist for vertical growing?

* How are city businesses making the most of their rooftops and using them for gardens?

* What can we grow if we only have a small flat or a windowsill at home?

* Can public spaces be used to grow food? How would one go about doing this?

* How are community gardens bringing together children, schools, parents, family and friends?

* Does growing your own food tackle some of the challenges we face with our food system?


How to book:


Places are limited, so book now to make sure you don’t miss out on this fascinating urban growing event.