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Home cook and mum, Maxine Pancaldi, founded cookies Kitchen in 2005.

The business originated in my kitchen in Frant, a small East Sussex village just outside Tunbridge Wells, Kent. From an idea for our daughter’s birthday the business developed into a number of thriving monthly clubs teaching children and subsequently adults across Kent, Sussex and Surrey.

In the early years, Catherine Fleet joined me and we both ploughed our combined energy into expanding the business. For many years, we worked so hard to expand the team and develop clubs for more age groups, plus add an adult element and created The Kitchen Cookery School together which now provides the majority of Kent County Council’s cookery courses. We laughed, toiled, baked and created until relocation and family needs sadly saw Catherine’s departure.

I continued to run the business on my own until recently, when I decided to hang up my own apron and take a back seat to concentrate on the demands of my teenage children and hand over the day to day management to Carol Lumbard.

Carol is a fabulous addition to the team and brings a burst of new energy and shared passions for teaching children and adults the joys of home cookery.

Together with a very devoted team, Carol will continue to deliver and develop what we do best - teach cookery in a fun and engaging way across all age groups across the two counties. We are also lucky to be supported by our resident nutritionist, Mandy Cohen and education specialist, Amy Thompson.

Happy Cooking!

Maxine x











Click here to meet our Cookies Kitchen Instructors or read on to find out a little more about us

If you are interested in joining our team please email Carol on info@cookieskitchen.co.uk

Carol Lumbard – Manager

Hi I am Carol, I live on my cousin’s wonderful farm in Horsmonden, Kent. We farm hops, apples, blackcurrants, gooseberries and other soft fruits. I have a lively young fury friend called Jazz, who is half lab half spaniel who keeps me busy!

Foodie Likes: Curries are a bit of a favourite of mine, especially after catching the Rick Stein series.

Foodie Dislikes: So sorry to say it but it’s all about the poor old sprout!

Favourite chef: I love Mary Berry for her passion for home cooking, Jamie Oliver for his ability to have an impact and cause change and James Martin for the Saturday morning fix!

New discoveries: I am always experimenting with flavours and ingredients on account of a dairy intolerance. It’s great there are so many more alternatives easily available, compared to when I was diagnosed 8 years ago!

Mandy Cohen


Mandy Cohen (Our nutritionist!)

My name is Mandy, I’m married to Peter and we live on a working farm with our faithful black Labrador, Millie.  I live next door to three triplet girls, Rosie, Izzie and Hattie and their brother George who often pop round to help me cook and have fun in the kitchen. 

My favourite recipe is homemade spaghetti bolognaise (whole-wheat pasta) made using leftovers from a lamb joint, onions, tin of tomatoes, chopped mushrooms, grated carrot, and a touch of tomato sauce and some garlic, Mediterranean herbs and red wine and served with parmesan cheese. Yummy!

Favourite drink: Elderflower cordial - (I love picking the flowers from the hedgerow in June and then making the cordial ourselves).

I hate: Rice pudding (oh, Mandy how can you?)

I Love: Roast vegetables - especially sweet potato, squash, parsnip and carrot.

Favourite cookery book: The most used one is my grandmother's old Good Housekeeping Cookery Book. I have also started to use Mary Berry’s book, “Cook Now Eat Later”, which has some great recipes in it.

Most unusual food eaten: Pigeon Pie in Morocco, which included the bones and even the beak too!

Nutrition tip - enjoy creating your food and make time to sit and share the meal with others.  Balance springs to mind - enjoy a range of foods that will give you a variety of nutrients.

Kathy Clark


Amy Thompson

Hi, I'm Amy.  I haven't been very good at staying in one place for very long, so no husband, no children and no pets.  However, I'm a primary school teacher, so in reality there are lots of children in my life.  I have been teaching for 9 years, in London, in Dubai and in China and more recently back in Sussex.  I grew up on a farm in Sussex and spent a lot of time in the kitchen, where my mum was always making something tasty to eat.  Now, when I'm not working, I love coming home and making something fresh and yummy or being out in the garden growing lots of vegetables. 

My favourite place in the World: This is really hard, as I've done a lot of travelling.  Possibly some of the islands in the Philippines.  My favourite holiday was to Burma.  Anywhere unspoilt by humans.

Favourite recipe book: Growing up my favourite recipe book was 'The Pooh Cookbook' and I still use some of the recipes from there even now.  I love Elizabeth David recipe books as they are also like a history lesson.

Favourite Chef:This is tricky! Madhur Jaffrey as I've learnt loads about different spices from her books.  I also love Claudia Roden for her fresh Middle Eastern recipes.

Most unusual food eaten:Somehow, I've managed to avoid a lot of weird stuff.  I declined the bus stop snack of fried tarantulas in Cambodia and also managed to avoid the delicacy of dried rat in Southern China.  One of the best things in a great duck restaurant in Beijing though is the crispy duck skin (not so unusual) dipped in sugar.  Not very healthy but amazingly delicious.

I hate:bananas (and I've really tried to like them as they are useful when travelling)

I Love:fresh simple food

Cooking Influence: My mum and my aunt.  We have spent many hours talking about food.