A DUO who opened a well-known vegetarian restaurant in York in 2004 and moved the business to London are back in the city where it all started for a special date.

Andrew Dargue, who ran Vanilla Black in Swinegate with his partner Donna Conroy until they moved to London in 2008, have been hosting Vanilla Black Cook and Learn online throughout lockdown.

Now they’re about to go on tour renting cookery schools around the country and running vegetarian and vegan cookery sessions with their first class in York.

Andrew said: “We’re excited to be coming back to where our journey began back in 2004, it makes sense to start the next venture in the same place. We still have friends in York and even in the last year of trading we still had customers visiting us who were from York, so the bond is strong.

“We’ll be at York Cookery School at York Eco Business Centre in Clifton Moor on Saturday, July 17. Andrew Thwaite has just taken over as owner so it makes sense for two new ventures to team up.

“Guests will be creating modernised vegan versions of retro dishes on the day and it’ll be fully hands on, the best way to learn. And, it’s not just about learning recipes, it’s about acquiring new skills which are transferable to the home kitchen. We’ll also discuss dish construction, flavour balance, texture and a little bit of food science. Then, afterwards people can enjoy their creations with a glass of wine with the other guests.”

Vanilla Black traded successfully in London until last year when Covid struck. Andrew said the timing of their new venture couldn’t be better with vegan and vegetarian food being more sought-after than ever. “After all these years we’re finally on trend,” said Andrew.

“Expect fun, learning and lots of stories. We look forward to seeing some familiar faces.”

There are eight places for the York class costing £175. Go to https://vanillablackhome.myshopify.com/collections/cook-learn-day-course