Close Icon


What makes one of the top TV chefs in the UK decide to shut up shop and head ‘out-in-the-field’, cooking in other people’s kitchens for private, intimate parties? We caught up with Peter Sidwell in his new cookery school, Keswick Cookery School, located just outside Keswick, the jewel of the Lake District to find out more.

Hosting a dinner party when on holiday

Pete’s Simply Good Food TV has become ‘the Netflix of food programming’. His 25-years in a chef’s apron also includes an award-winning restaurant, judge on ITV’s Britain’s Best Bakery and more recently, private chef for an array of high-profile dinners from sporting superstars of the UK Premiership to international politicians, including a former UK Prime Minister and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. So, it is fair to say that Pete is accustomed to hosting dinner parties out of someone else’s kitchen.

5 Top Tips for hosting the perfect dinner party

Summer soiree season is in full swing, and we asked Peter Sidwell how to host the perfect dinner party. Here are his tips;

  1. Keep it simple, it’s always the best way.
  2. The best cooking starts with great shopping so if you are putting all your effort into a dish buy their best quality, its usually local.
  3. If you are doing a three-course dinner party, make sure it’s a cold starter and a cold dessert, that way you only have to cook the main course and you’re not spending all your time in the kitchen.
  4. For a great starter just put out lots of amazing products from the deli, cured meats, olives, breads, dips and cheese. Not only is it easy but it’s light, tasty and out takes the pressure off you.
  5. Make something that can sit in the oven keeping warm without spoiling as if you are all enjoying yourself chatting with your friends you don’t want to be worrying about cooking until it’s time to eat.

“Happy cooking!”

Seasonal Ingredients

Peter Sidwell’s cookery is influenced by a longer than expected stint in and around Italian kitchens in 2009,  but also the seasonal, local ingredients of his adopted home, the Lake District. Peter moved to the Lakes in 2003, where he now lives with his wife and two young children.

His kitchen garden is full of character and stories as you’d expect from this charismatic TV chef. There’s the ‘less organised’ section that his young daughter ‘helped’ with and there’s the wild Tuscan fennel, brought back from his travels. And his caraway plant, with gorgeous little pods, which Pete snaps opens eagerly for us to taste, is clearly dear to the Keswick Cookery School Kitchen – “caraway is a key ingredient in Hawkshead Wig Bread, which is a little-known Cumbrian bread.” 

Just outside Keswick, Pete runs Keswick Cookery School, offering masterclasses in fish, meat, baking and dessert cookery for anyone looking to up the stakes with their cooking game. With an impressive range of cookery gadgets, the following classes are particularly good fun;

  • Wood Burning Pizza Oven
  • Making Sausage and Salami
  • Dim Sum and Asian Cookery
  • Grill on the Hill using the game-changing Kamodo Joe BBQ

View the full list of Keswick Cookery School courses here. Vouchers are available also, making the perfect foodie gift.

Pete’s cookery school has hosted large corporate groups, leaving London behind to learn about seasonality and what makes Lake District such a foodie mecca. He’s also hosted small private cookery classes ending in a delightful meal.

If you want to learn to cook, we can’t think of a more beautiful location than in this outdoor kitchen surrounded by some of the most impressive landscape in the UK. Keswick Cookery School offers various seasonal masterclasses, and we’d highly recommend ‘Grill on the Hill’ over the summer months to experience this one-of-a-kind cookery location.

The Keswick Cookery School’s outdoor kitchen has one of the best views in the Lake District. Cook on an amazing Kamodo Joe BBQ, wood-burning pizza oven and homemade smokers whilst looking out over the ionic Skiddaw mountain range.

Private Dining

We also work with Keswick Cookery School to offer private dining in your holiday property, which is perfect for celebrating a special occasion and when catering for large groups.  The service is discreet and subtle and not only does the expert team clear up after cooking and disappear without a word, the menu is created from the very best of local ingredients, sourced especially for your event. From hake from the west coast of the Lake District to wild garlic from Peter’s garden, dining does not get any fresher or more delicious.

For a unique twist on at-home dining experiences, Keswick Cookery School can bring a cookery class to your Lakelovers holiday accommodation, such as kids’ cookery classes or cocktail making. What could be more delightful than a private cookery class in a stunning property, enjoying what you’ve cooked together followed by a glass of champagne in your luxury hot tub?  View Lakelovers hand-picked collection of 5-star cottages, which pair up beautifully with private dining for a truly wonderful experience.

Summer Family Recipes

Lakelovers have partnered up with Keswick Cookery School to bring you a series of recipes to perfectly complement your summer family holiday in the Lake District. We’re starting off with two family-favourites; Banana Bread, which is great for a morning of slowing down and enjoying quality time doing some family baking and pick-your-own fruit is a firm favourite here in the Lake District for families visiting over the summer season, so we thought you would like this homemade Raspberry Lemonade recipe. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to check out our What’s on in the Lake District Summer Guide.


“This banana bread is a great recipe for using up leftover bananas or ones that are a little too ripe. I like to toast my banana bread and finish with a little butter for breakfast. It’s also the perfect cake for packing up to enjoy on a picnic with the family.” 

Here’s how

  1. Place the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and whisk together until nice and light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs into the mixture one at a time making sure you mix together before adding the next egg as this is key to helping the mixture not to split.
  3. In a small bowl, mash the bananas up into a paste and add to the cake mixture.
  4. Sieve in the flour and add the lemon zest and pumpkin seeds.
  5. Finally, fold the mixture together with a metal spoon, try not to over mix as the less you mix the lighter the cake when it’s baked.
  6. Pour the cake mixture into a non-stick 2lb loaf tin.
  7. Squeeze the lemon juice over the oats and mix together. It will stop the oats burning and you will get a lovely texture to the top of the cake.
  8. Bake in a pre-heated fan oven at 170c for 25-30 minutes.

Download our Banana Bread recipe here to save for later.


“Raspberries are just starting to ripen in my kitchen garden now and I just love making recipes with them that allow me to enjoy the wonderful fresh flavour of raspberries all year round. I always make sure I take my kids raspberry picking every year as it has become a family tradition to find a pick your own farm and make a day of it. This recipe takes lemon and raspberries and puts them together to make a delicious lemonade cordial that can be enjoyed by all the family as it’s perfect for mixing with sparkling water or can be added to a Gin and Tonic for an alternative G&T, the choice is yours.”

Makes 250ml of cordial approximately


Here’s how

  1. This recipe is nice and simple, just squeeze the lemon juice into a medium-sized pan with the raspberries and the sugar.
  2. Using a wooden spoon mix together until the sugar is completely mixed in. It’s really important that you mix it all together as you don’t want the sugar to caramelise when you place it on the heat. The idea is to create a clean fresh raspberry flavour, not a sweet jammy one.
  3. Place the pan on the heat and bring up to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Pour the liquid through a sieve, use the wooden spoon to press the mixture through and get all the flavour without the seeds.
  5. Pour the cordial into a clean glass bottle and enjoy!

Download our Raspberry Lemonade recipe here to save for later.

Follow us on our Facebook page for more on the Lakelovers X Peter Sidwell partnership, including private dining in your holiday home, pizza making classes for kids and exclusive discounts on cookery classes, which are ideal for a special occasion.