Food and Drink Festival

At York Food Festival we have had the pleasure of working with Sharmini for a number of years now and last year, apart from being a part of our daily demonstration programme,

Sharmini also did two children’s workshops. We are still receiving feedback about these, as just last week a lady told me that she had brought her son to the Festival and he just loved the workshop he had taken part in.

I have also been so personally impressed by Sharmini that I recommended one of her cookery courses as a birthday gift idea to a close friend. The course was a huge success and the friend, who already cooks a great deal, felt he learned a lot and really enjoyed himself.

Kind regards
Debbie Waite
Festival Director.

Adult Education

Sharmini Thomas has been employed as a part-time Cookery Tutor by the City of York Council, Adult & Community Education Service, since September 1999
She teaches Indian Cookery to adults of all ages and abilities. Her courses are extremely popular and are very well supported.
Feedback from learners has always been very positive:
• “The most enjoyable course I’ve ever attended”. Excellent tutor help
• Loved the course, it has been a wonderful experience. Enjoyed getting to use so many spices. Sharmini-you are lovely and very patient.The course was varied with recipes easy to follow..

Sharmini has also taken part in Indian Cookery taster events and regularly gives demonstrations at the York Festival of Food and Drink. She is an extremely good, interesting and knowledgeable tutor who has the ability to draw her learners into the whole cultural experience, whilst enabling them to produce healthy, tasty Indian dishes using locally sourced ingredients.

Due to popular demand for Indian Cookery the number of courses she teaches for the Adult Education Service has increased since September 2007

Shirley Duff
Operations & Planning Manager
Adult & Community Education
Indian cookery demonstrations and talk on Indian culture at various events in and around York

NYBEP (North Yorkshire Business and Education Partnership Ltd)

North Yorkshire Business and Education Partnership (NYBEP) provides strategic advice and individually tailored services to help schools and colleges enrich the curriculum, businesses engage actively in the development of their future workforce, and learners better understand their personal skills and future choices.

We do this through a range of programmes and activities for young people from 5-19, and also through Workforce Development for teachers. As an Education Business Partnership (EBP), our modus operandi is to develop partnerships and to enlist the skills and expertise of a wide range of people from business and the community to run sessions and workshops in schools and at external events attended by school students at a central venue. The contribution of the ‘workshop providers’ helps to enrich the curriculum and demonstrate the relevance to the young people of what they are learning in school.

In this way NYBEP has worked with Sharmini since August 2006 – as a valuable workshop provider for a wide variety of activity days and events for both primary and secondary students. Sharmini has always provided high quality workshops focused on Healthy living, well-being and self-esteem through the theme of Indian food, Drink and Culture. Her workshops are like an oasis of the senses, where the students experience the colours, touch and smell of exotic fruits and spices, and taste the delicious dishes and drinks that she makes with them. She wears her beautiful national dress, which also broadens the horizons of her audience.

Sharmini is very adaptable and flexible, and she can adapt her workshop material to suit a wide range of age-groups and abilities and different locations. She has run workshops for students from age 5 – 16. (?), and for students with special needs as well as mainstream. She has an excellent delivery manner, and a wonderful rapport with young people. She has participated in many of NYBEP’s STEM Fairs which support the Science curriculum, where she brings out science elements of Food and Cooking. These are large events held in a central venue such as the National Railway Museum or a school hall, with 12 – 15 workshops all running concurrently, attended by up to 200 students who rotate around the workshops in small groups. Each workshop runs 4-5 times during the day, which is very demanding for the workshop provider!

Sharmini has also run workshops in schools as part of themed days – eg, Healthy Living at Hirst Courtney Primary School, Selby, as part of a Healthy Living day, where students from 5-11 prepared and ate Indian food; a Global activity day at Fishergate Primary School, York as part of the school’s Global Fortnight, where Sharmini talked about the Indian culture, followed by cooking and eating some delicious Indian dishes. She regularly designs new workshops to meet the changing needs of the school curriculum.
Sharmini has also become a Science Ambassador, where she has committed to help NYBEP promote science in both primary and secondary schools.
NYBEP is delighted to have access to a workshop provider of Sharmini’s calibre, talent and creativity. We would unhesitatingly recommend her workshops for any event.

Wendy Taylor
Primary Partnership Advisor, NYBEP

YUMI (York Unifying and Multicultural Initiative)

Sharmini Thomas, a wonderful Indian cook from Kerala, South India, is one of the highlights of YUMI’s (York Unifying and Multicultural Initiative) Expressions festival – a two day summer celebration of York’s rich cultural diversity. Sharmini always has a regular stream of buyers of her delicious, authentic foods and drinks, creating unique flavours from a part of india not usually available in local restaurants. She has also been known to sell the recipes and spice mixes for her wonderful dishes so that we too can recreate them at home.

Sharmini has also run very successful demonstrations at our festivals and events. She is always ready to share her deep knowledge and love of Indian food, and people are happy to learn much from her, staying to find out more, and attending her many excellent courses and classes in Indian cookery. Her pleasure in the creation of tasty and delicious food and giving enjoyment to so many is self-evident and boundless.

Sasiki Hubberstey
YUMI Project Coordinator

City of York-Observation report

Sharmini Thomas
James McHugh
Huntington School
Course :
Authentic Indian Vegetarian Cooking
Time of session:7-9pm
Time of observation:7-8pm
Number on Register: 12
Number Present: 10
Withdrawals since start of course: 0
Background and contributory factors (including additional support)
A well established class which the Tutor has taught for over 17 years
Scheme of work: Well laid out
Lesson Plan: Simple and clear
Accommodation: Bright and Warm Resources: Well stocked & clean kitchen area & utensils Aims and intended outcomes of the session
To prepare and cook Naan Bread – (a much loved bread) & Palak Paneer –( vegetable dish Rich in protein


  • star rating  I bought this experience for my husband for a 50th birthday gift in May 2020! Unfortunately, due to various lockdowns Sharmini was unable to go ahead. However, throughout the last... read more

    avatar thumb Jude

    star rating  Sharmini and her team offer a wonderfully warm and welcoming environment to lean and participate. The charming atmosphere allowed individuals to easily open up creating an inclusive and interactive session... read more

    avatar thumb mark g

    star rating  Inspirational day, learnt so many things; from intriguing facts about spices to great cooking tips.

    Attended Sharmini's course at Wolds.

    Great learning experience in a calm, relaxing atmosphere.... read more

    avatar thumb The Apprentice
  • star rating  I had an excellent day learning new skills with Sharmini. I enjoyed her relaxed manner in talking and instructing the participants in the cooking of a number of dishes throughout... read more

    avatar thumb Neil W

    star rating  Knowing l had gained further knowledge and had put this into practice and the results had happily surprised me and my taste buds was a major plus point.
    Time... read more

    avatar thumb Rob F

    star rating  Another amazing meal cooked with Sharmini - Meen (fish) curry served with Kappa (tapioca) curry. Both delicious and great

    avatar thumb AdrianeW
  • star rating  I had a lovely time at Sharmini’s Inspirational Cooking class. I thought I knew how to cook curries but a learnt a lot. My onion bharji’s are to... read more

    avatar thumb SimonLock

    star rating  The days was very good indeed. Sharmini has many years of knowledge and shares this to all. All ingredients were supplied and the dishes prepared were very tasty. The venue... read more

    avatar thumb Mike M

    star rating  What a great day with sharmini from moment we arrived to moment we left sharmini and the team made us feel so welcome and relaxed.

    After everything that's... read more

    avatar thumb Neonic