Ican smell the fruits of their labour as soon as I walk in the door. Quite literally. The sweet, homely smell of a fruit cobbler is the delightful and inviting waft that greets me at the Two Tarts Cookery School.
Around a table, a group of vivacious 8 to 15 year olds are rolling out small pieces of pastry for mini apple pies. The young chefs are having enormous fun getting hands-on experience of traditional English cooking at the Two Tarts Cookery School.
They let me know, in enthusiastic and animated tones, about all the delicious things they have been making – not to mention scoffing – throughout their day-long Cookery Camp: a one-pot roast chicken, salmon and chive fishcakes, chocolate brownies, leek and potato soup, cheesecake and toad in the hole.
With apple pies sent to the oven, they next begin to rustle up a quick cheesy loaf. Guiding them through these culinary revels are teachers Jo Dunbavin and Rose Budge – aka The Two Tarts.
Jo explains the thinking behind the cookery school name: "We liked the play on words and felt that we are both old enough to talk about tarts – Bakewell and Treacle ones of course."
The two friends who have each brought up four children alongside their careers know what it's like to balance jobs and family life while trying to put a good plate of food on the table every night. They want to encourage people to feel confident and empowered in the kitchen.
Unlike some other cookery schools whose courses sound high-brow, if not downright intimidating, the pair have made their own classes sound fun, friendly and accessible.
They offer jolly-sounding classes aimed at hens parties, blokes, students and families – even one tailored for grumpy old men!
"We are running classes from our own homes, so people are welcomed into what we hope are inviting and warm, family kitchens," says Jo.
"We want to teach real people how to cook real food so we are, we hope, very accessible and definitely unpretentious."
The courses are practical, based on Jo's and Rose's combined experience in professional catering, where they have needed to produce large quantities of food for lots of people.
"We specialise in how to create good food quickly and effectively with lots of top tips on short cuts and dos and don'ts," says Jo.
The school's matter-of-fact, down-to-earth marketing seems to be working.
"The school holiday Cookery Camps for 8 to 15 year olds have proved popular and word is spreading about our Jelly And Giggles Birthday Parties and Fun To Cook Clubs for 5 to 8 year olds," says Jo.
Now many of us might fantasise about emulating Nigella's or Jamie's creations, however, it would seem there's quite a few of us who would appreciate a bit of timely advice whispered in our ear when following a recipe.
"The courses are hands-on, which is a much more effective way of learning and remembering how to do something," says Jo. "It also provides an opportunity for people to ask questions and have a go in a friendly and encouraging environment."
Jo and Rose think anyone can learn to cook. "We would love to help people to stop feeling helpless and hopeless – that is exactly what the cookery school is all about. We want to empower people to be able to cook good food for themselves, their friends and family."
Courses are custom-made for lots of different types of lifestyles and life stages.
"So far we have courses or parties for kids of all ages, mums wanting to learn about fast family food and blokes who would like to cook more than beans on toast," says Jo.
They have also held tailored one-to-one courses and charity and corporate events.
"We've also held student survival courses for young people leaving home needing to produce healthy food on a budget.
"But we are open to suggestions for anyone else."
The classes, held in Instow and Bratton Fleming, have a North Devon flavour and make use of local ingredients.
"Our primary aim is to share our passion for food and help create lots more happy healthy kitchens in North Devon," adds Jo.
If enthusiasm is anything to go by, the Cooking Camp has certainly been a success for 12-year-old Immigen Martyn from Bratton Fleming:
"I've had a really good time," she says.
"I know how to make some traditional English dishes now and hopefully will be able to cook them for my family."
Visit www.twotartscookeryschool. co.uk for further details.