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Inverness-based chef sets sights on new cookery school

By Louise Glen

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An entrepreneurial chef is looking for new premises to open a cookery school in the Highlands.

Dutchman Johan Sikkema (35), who is now based in Inverness, said lockdown had taught him how many people could benefit from learning or relearning both basic cooking skills and more ambitious culinary techniques.

Mr Sikkema has worked at a number of establishments in Inverness, including Culloden House Hotel, and has catered for private clients around the world.

He became inspired to pursue his latest venture after cooking with his own children at home more during lockdown, and educating them about the joys of good food and fine dining.

It became clear then, he said, how cooking can bring people together in tough times.

Currently looking for a suitable site, he said: “My plan is to build a little home away from home where two or three people can come and learn new cooking skills and stay overnight or for the weekend.

“We may also build a little pod in the garden where couples can come and have a private dinner, cooked by me.

“But it is wider than that – we also want to teach people how to grow their own vegetables or keep chickens for their eggs.”

Having already done some market research he added: “A lot of people have said they would come to learn with us so I think it’s going to go well.

“A first-class cookery school where quality comes first, cooking with the best produce Scotland has to offer – I feel that’s what the Highlands is missing.”

Mr Sikkema has four children with wife Nicole – Daniel (14), Frankie (3), Lottie (2) and Theo, who was born in February – as well as Jayden (10) and Leilan (12) from a previous relationship who live part of the time with the couple at their home in the Inshes area of the city.

Keen to pass on his skills to the next generation of aspiring cooks, he added: “When it is safe to take larger groups we will do kids’ classes, most likely on a Friday afternoon as the children are on half days from school then.”

Related news: Life in Lockdown: Johan's story

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