A BBC MasterChef finalist is cooking on gas with his new role as Cookery School head chef at Blackfriars.
Anthony O’Shaughnessy has returned to his hometown to help thousands of people in the region to improve their cooking skills with weekday and weekend classes, private parties and corporate events at the Cookery School which is located above Blackfriars Restaurant.
Prior to joining Blackfriars, Anthony worked for restaurants across the UK and was a former cookery tutor for Leeds Cookery School where he delivered cookery courses within Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food. He took part in BBC’s MasterChef in 2018 and surprised the judges with his take on the North East classic, chicken parmo. He went on to reach the semi-finals cooking a US classic, Kentucky Derby and is now a regular guest judge on the programme.
He’ll now be teaching cooking styles from across the world including Vietnamese cooking, Chocolate making, Children’s cookery classes, Spanish tapas, French cooking, bread making, Thai cooking, Italian and Indian Street Food for beginners right through to more experienced chefs.
Anthony, who now lives in Gateshead, will be working alongside the award-winning chefs at Blackfriars, which won the Taste of the North East accolade, has gained an AA Rosette and has listings in the Good Food Guide, Hardens Guide and who have an AA Rosette.
Commenting on his appointment, Anthony said: ‘I’m delighted to be returning to my hometown and driving forward the largest purpose-built cookery school in our region. I’ve spent the last five years training in Yorkshire as a chef and cookery school tutor, and I’m incredibly proud to bring home a diverse skillset to enrich our grand city. The Cookery School at Blackfriars is more popular than ever, which tells me that there is a great demand for cookery knowledge in our city and for an alternative night out. We have a huge catalogue of over 75 cookery classes which offer a deep dive into specific cuisines and techniques and I cannot wait to help you master them!’
Blackfriars is a medieval friary consisting of a restaurant, Banquet Hall, Cookery School, Tasting Room, Dormitory Meeting Room and Bar.
Andy Hook, managing director of Blackfriars said: “We’re thrilled to have Anthony on board at the Cookery School as he has the perfect skillset and acumen to run our vast range of classes. We opened the school ten years ago, initially just offering bread making and children’s cookery classes but soon outgrew our original space so moved the operation to its current home above the restaurant. Since then, demand for classes has continued to grow from budding cooks around the country with many people buying them as gifts for friends and family. We look forward to Anthony injecting his unique style and personality to our classes and to him helping us to develop the Cookery School in the future.”
Although cooking is Anthony’s passion, he had never intended to become a chef. He graduated from Bangor University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with Neuropsychology and had planned to go to medical school to study medicine but instead decided to focus on creative endeavours.
He added: “After my previous career in the NHS, I found cookery to be the perfect balance of being creative and helping others. Over the last five years working as a cookery tutor, I must have taught over 3000 people from various walks of life how to cook. Cooking gives people an enormous sense of independence and empowerment, and I enjoy helping people find a place for that in their lives. Everybody deserves that.
The classes I develop at Blackfriars Cookery School offer something for every type of cook. Our weeknight cookery classes offer faster-paced, exciting recipes that are perfect for a weeknight, while our weekend classes offer a slightly deeper insight into a particular subject, with slower-paced, submersive dishes at the helm. I strongly believe that if there’s a specific area of cookery you love, there is a way you can fit it into your lifestyle – I’ve seen it – and I would be thrilled to show you how to do it”.
For updates about the cookery school, follow Anthony on Facebook and Instagram @blackfriarscookeryschool