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Harborne Food School Welcome to Harborne Food School. We offer cookery classes, professional chef demonstrations and unique food experiences in our beautifully designed cookery school within the Grade II listed Clock Tower building on Harborne High Street, Birmingham. Our facilities are ideal for cooking classes, cooking demonstrations, food focus groups, food related training, private parties, private dining, team building and corporate events.

About Us

The Harborne Food School was set up in March 2014 to tackle food related public health and environmental issues faced by the local community and support the public to make healthier, more sustainable food choice. We offer a fantastic space for delivering community cooking classes and demonstrations.

Shaleen Meelu is a registered nutritionist, delivering community food activities for over 10 years. Robert Smith previously worked as a Director for PwC. Shaleen and Robert bonded over a love of food, literature, travel and the desire to do something useful and give back to their hometown of Birmingham. We tired of trying to write personal profiles and decided to answer in the style of newspaper Q&As. BTW this is a great dinner party activity.

What food experience makes you happy? Eating home cooked food with family and friends around a big table. Eating food you love with people you love prepared by people who love food – the antithesis of a business lunch!
What is your signature dish? Not really a signature dish but one I like to make when I’m v hungry. Sautee onions, garlic and add chopped aubergine, courgette, peppers, toms, chickpeas and dried apricots or fruit/nuts, chili and eat with brown/wild rice. My written signature is illegible. ( Any) signature dish would be inedible.
What is your earliest food memory? My mother not letting us leave the table until we finished everything on our plate. I used to fall asleep with food in my mouth. The smell of liver and onions being cooked by my mother, age circa 3, me not her.
Where/what is your fav restaurant? Changes every year. Yauatcha at the moment. A dim sum place in London and strangely India. Wagamamas – my background is marketing and I appreciate any concept that is simple, well executed and intelligently updated based on customer tastes.
Have you ever been called fat? Yes. At least once or twice a year for the past 25 years. Mostly by men but occasionally by women. Nobody ever called me fat but I was podgy at 15-16. I hated being weighed and measured at the start of every school term.
What is your favourite smell? Fig infusions. I’m not sure if fig actually smells like that but the perfume smelt good. I was told male footballers use it so decided not to buy it. The aroma of Italy. It is complex and made up of many components. You notice it as soon as you get off a plane and is subtly different by Region.
What is your guiltiest food pleasure? Kir Royale, champagne truffles and flapjacks. In no particular order and any combination Cheese, cheese and cheese. Cheap impulse purchase biscuits – I have a 99p Tesco value pack of custard creams in front of me as I write this!
What ingredients have you recently discovered? I’m into Middle Eastern cuisine at the moment so Za’atr, Sumac and Dukah. Although to be honest, I need to learn how to use herbs and spices so will book myself into the appopriate classes. See you there! Croitzel – a cross between a croissant and a pretzel, not strictly an ingredient but I am on the look out for one of these. I’m intrigued!
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