In 2006, two of the School of Artisan Food’s directors decided to open an artisan bakery in the premises of the old fire station on the beautiful Welbeck Estate in the middle of Sherwood Forest. Having designed two large wood-fired ovens, it seemed a perfect location to teach aspiring artisan bakers - it had been difficult to find bakers with the requisite skills. Other artisan producers on the estate became interested in the fine courtyard buildings, and the idea of creating a centre of excellence for learning all aspects of artisan food production was born.
A not-for-profit company was set up, headed by a board of people who are passionate about artisan food and who work both locally and nationally. The East Midlands Development Agency kindly funded the first stage of capital works and the complete refurbishment of two thirds of the building started in February 2009 and was finished in September of that year.
The emphasis is on foods that ferment (bread, cheese, beer, charcuterie). All our teaching takes place at the School and our Advanced Diploma students also attend practical placements at existing artisan businesses throughout the UK.
A state-of-the-art dairy teaching room was opened in 2011. The first intake of one-year Advanced Diploma students graduated in July 2011 and well over 5,000 short course participants have been through the doors.