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Tideswell School of Food Closes

It is with immense sadness and regret that on behalf of the Board Members of Taste Tideswell CIC I have to announce the closure of the Tideswell School of Food.

Taste Tideswell, the project, came about through a successful bid to the Big Lottery Fund’s Village SOS programme.  The bid started in August 2009 and in May 2010 we heard we had been successful.

Part of the requirement of that grant was that we had a business element to the project that would allow us to sustain the community part, Taste Tideswell; that business was Tideswell School of Food which opened at the beginning of December 2010.

We opened in the grip of a recession and whilst in theory that recession is over, it isn’t in the pockets of many people.  We were also bound by Big Lottery Fund rules that stipulated we had to spend our entire grant within the first year.  This undoubtedly caused us to grow too quickly amongst other problems.

Four years down the line, Taste Tideswell has achieved many notable successes.  The annual Food Festival has gone from strength to strength with over 6000 people attending this year to buy from our village shops and the 60+ stalls that came for the day.

The Community Kitchen Garden, behind the Institute, has become an important focal point of the village.  Taste Tideswell funded the clearance and landscaping of the garden. The team of keen volunteers who manage the garden have done sterling work there and the garden is a credit to their efforts. Children from the Tideswell Pre-school regularly help in the garden, and produce from there is always supplied to the lunch club for our elderly villagers.

Comparing the village in 2009 and now shows some big changes. Where many villages up and down the country have seen shops close and facilities die, Tideswell is thriving.  The Cherry Tree, Parlour Blue, Peak Volumes, The Dairy Parlour Café have all opened; a third cafe is opening in the new year and there are rumours of another shop opening too.  Moreover we haven’t lost any of our pubs either.

Tideswell School of Food was set up to support our retailers, promote good and locally sourced food and provide an income for Taste Tideswell activities.  It always had its local detractors but has established an excellent reputation in the region for the high quality courses it has put on.  We have employed some amazing staff who have put in hours of hard work to build that reputation. We have always sourced our supplies from within or as close to the village as possible and it is hoped that the community appreciate the invaluable asset that our local retailers are and continue to support them actively.

Sadly we have now come to a point that without severely cutting the quality of what we do, we are no longer sustainable as a business and we have taken the hard decision to close.

It is our sincere wish that the community part of the project, Taste Tideswell, can continue – the Food Festival and the Community Kitchen Garden.  However as of 6th October 2014 Tideswell School of Food will close and we will begin the process of winding the companies up.

On behalf of the current volunteer board members and those individuals who have sat on the board in the past, I wish to pay tribute to all the staff who have worked at the School of Food over the years and to the many volunteers who have given their time freely to the school and the project.

Taste Tideswell and the School of Food has made a big difference to Tideswell and the community it served and all those involved can feel proud of what they have achieved.

BBCOne’s Countryfile Shoot and Cook

After last night’s broadcast on BBCOne of Countryfile Shoot and Cook feature at The School of Food (still available on iPlayer), our websites suffered!  We did our best but the sheer numbers of people visiting our sites caused us problems.  We apologise for these, but the sites are back up and running and you can book online.

Our office is open from 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday so you can always call on 01298 871262, or email

Thanks for your patience.

Garden Work Force Plea

The Kitchen Garden in snow - March 2013So much for spring on 24 March, it was more like midwinter. We couldn’t even find the raised beds, never mind getting them ready for planting.

So, please mark SUNDAY 14 APRIL on your calendar as the day that we work on the garden. Same place and same time – 11am. Look forward to seeing you there.

Maureen (01298 871542) & Judy (01298 872408)

BBC programme now available

Many people have asked if they can catch up with the Village SOS programme the BBC made about Taste Tideswell.  It is now on YouTube and available here.

Tideswell Food Festival, 2012 – a fantastic success

Food Festival Crowds 2012Tideswell’s 2012 Food Festival proved to be an outstanding success. The day long Food Festival ran on 5th of May and attracted hundreds of keen food loving visitors from far and wide. Over fifty stalls lined Church Street and Fountain Street selling a fantastic variety of food from African jerk chicken to chilli cheese, from chocolate to cupcakes. Tideswell-based community groups also took out stalls.

During the day, singers, dancers and guizers entertained the crowds who weren’t even deterred by the brief snow(!) shower. The village traders were just as busy as the stall holders, many of whom sold out quite early on in the day.

The Tideswell School of Food, held cookery demonstrations and wine tasting throughout the day and hundreds of folk went on organised tours to learn more about the school and why we’re here. The community kitchen received a steady stream of visitors keen to learn more about what to plant and when. Meanwhile Taste Tideswell’s education office Michelle, ran children’s competitions which proved popular. High Peak Radio broadcast from the festival all morning.

Tideswell School of Food DemoThe Food Festival was organised this year by Phil Walker from Tideswell Stores and other traders with the support of the Taste Tideswell staff.

Feedback received has been overwhelmingly positive, many traders commenting that it was the best Food Festival they’d ever been to.

For a fantastic blogpost from a visitor, please click here.

High Peak Radio Interview

Taste Tideswell is recruiting for a new Head of Operations.  Taste Tideswel’s chairman Pete Hawkins was interviewed on High Peak Radio about the projevct and the post.

You can hear the interview again – High Peak Radio Interview – Pete Hawkins.

This year’s Food Festival on 5th May 2012 is beginning to take shape.  We’ve already have had a number of stall holders booking their places and if you’re a producer or retailer then do contact Phil Walker at Tideswell Stores to book yours.  This years Food Festival will take place throughout the village and involve as many of the local shops and pubs as we can.

The Tideswell School of Food will be running cooking demonstration throughout the day and John Hattersley from Hattersley Wines will be running a session on wine tasting, something that is bound to be popular.

We’re looking for a new Head of Operations

Taste Tideswell and the Tideswell School of Food is looking for a new Head of Operations.  We’re looking for an outstanding individual who can continue to innovate and make the Tideswell SChool of Food the best cookery school in the country.  If you’d like an informal chat please call Juliet at The School of Food on 01298 871262.  The job description is here –  Head of Operations Job Description- Tideswell School of Food.

Taste Tideswell – One year on

Viewers to the Village SOS TV programme often ask us if the project is still running – the lasting impression seems to be that the Cookery School is on its last legs! Nothing could be further from the truth- the need to introduce a sense of “jeopardy” into the programme has obscured  the really great news of our success. (And a lot has happened since filming finished 8 months ago!)
We had a massive record sales month at Tideswell School of Food after the programme was broadcast in the UK in September, and beat figure that handsomely in December. Our customers are giving us great feedback and many are returning for second and third visits.  We estimate we’ve had more than 1,000 visitors and customers since we opened a year ago. We now employ 10 people, all but one from the village, and we are developing new cookery and brewing courses and corporate packages all the time. As far as the wider impact of the project is concerned, we know from our recent survey that 22% more villagers are shopping locally, and pretty much all the retailers in the Tideswell Made scheme report growing sales over the last year. One new food retailer and one new non-food retailer has opened and they are trading successfully. 2012 will be a challenging year from the whole economy, and we know we have more to do in areas like encouraging more community involvement from every part of the village, but we are feeling pretty good about the future here in Tideswell.
Take a look at our story below, and visit to learn more about our courses. if you’d like to read more about the thinking behind the project, our Village Champion, Tim Nicol has written a few articles on his blog at .
You can follow us on Twitter @tideswellfood @tastetideswell and @nicoltim

Chat to Tideswell

Good morning Australia…  if you’d like to talk to Pete, Phil or Penny from Penny’s Pud’s we’re live on Facebook now.

Here’s the link direct to the School of Food’s Facebook page.