Dream Peak District property includes cooking school and modern apartment

A pioneering cooking school that brought food and drink enthusiasts to the Peak District from around the world is for sale.
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When Hartingtons School of Food in Bakewell opened in 2010, owners Chris Horne and Julie Ryalls wanted to combine their love of ‘real’ food and the region.

They brought experts - from celebrity chefs to third-generation cheesemakers - to teach artisanal classes, inspiring dozens of people to launch new businesses.

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People travelled from as far afield as Australia, India and Hong Kong to undertake courses in a former timber mill called Rutland Mill next to the River Wye.

Sheffield Bake Off star Howard Middleton with Julie RyallsSheffield Bake Off star Howard Middleton with Julie Ryalls
Sheffield Bake Off star Howard Middleton with Julie Ryalls

Chris, who lives in Sheffield, said: “We were at the vanguard of everything changing in the world of food and drink. People were just starting to experiment with buying sourdough bread and to think about where their food came from.

“One early event we held was a gourmet supper club where a chef cooked a seven-course tasting menu. We tried to make it a bit like a theatre production.

“Things like that were happening in London then, but not in the Peak District.

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“It was very hands-on. As the owner, I would wash up for nine hours while Julie helped the tutor!”

Inside the cooking school which is now for saleInside the cooking school which is now for sale
Inside the cooking school which is now for sale

Over time, the school grew to bring in food experts from around the country, from top chef Stephanie Moon to TV presenter Rachel Green, offering individual courses as well as corporate team building events.

Sheffield Great British Bake Off star Howard Middleton and Ecclesall Road restaurant Nonnas were among the regional contributors.

The school’s traditional pork pie masterclasses - one of the only ones in the country - became one of their most popular courses. Every participant, whether on a foraging or fine dining course, was left weighed down with food to take home.

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Later, a sister venture called Brew-School tapped into the trend for micropubs and boutique distilleries. More than 60 new businesses have been set up globally as a result, including Eyam Brewery, Hathersage’s Shivering Mountain gin and a Portuguese craft brewery Musa.

The stunning view of the river next to the propertyThe stunning view of the river next to the property
The stunning view of the river next to the property

Chris added: “The school was always about the people behind the food and their stories. “That’s why we loved it. Somehow, we never got a sign for outside the business.

“So people walking past in Bakewell wouldn’t necessarily know what we did. But people were flying over from Hong Kong for our distilling courses.”

Now Chris and Julie want to pass the baton on. They hope to sell both the commercial property and the adjoining two-bedroom apartment. Once used for storage, the modern flat in central Bakewell is now a successful holiday let.

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Chris added: “We want to travel more and pass the place on to somebody younger, with new ideas and enthusiasm.

Chris and Julie eating out in BakewellChris and Julie eating out in Bakewell
Chris and Julie eating out in Bakewell

“The space is all kitted out and ready to go as a food business. Or somebody could turn it into a prime piece of real estate along the river, subject to planning permission.

“One of the reasons we chose the location is because the Peak District is within an hour’s drive for 20 million people and three hours from London, so there’s lots of potential.

“It’s a beautiful, unique place. It could make somebody’s dream come true.

“They just need to get somebody else in to wash up!”

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Rutland Mill is for sale at a guide price of £600,000 to £650,000, including the apartment and commercial space. Requests to rent the business or space will also be considered by contacting them directly at [email protected]

Call Saxton Mee estate agents in Bakewell on 01629 815307 to organise a viewing or visit the listing webpage for more information.