LEARNING to cook can be a rewarding and fun way to gain new skills - and who better to learn from than one of Newport's most popular, and acclaimed, restaurants?

Popular Italian venue Gem42 is running free fortnightly cooking classes at Newport's Malpas Court, with the most recent session earlier this week focussing on cake-making.

Pasquale Cinotti, co-owner of the award-winning restaurant, said the idea behind the classes is "all about giving back to the community". Mr Cinotti and his brother Sergio first came to Newport to complete their studies - but ended up staying and setting up their successful business, becoming an integral part of the city's food scene.

Mr Cinotti said: "I feel blessed to be able to contribute to developing skills, while promoting social integration."

Malpas Court, in Oliphant Circle, is run as a social enterprise, and one of its directors John Cox said this is one of a number of activities run to engage with the community.

"There is still pleasure to be found in making things with your own hands, producing something healthy while developing your culinary skills," he said.

"Passing on traditions, skills and expertise is at the heart of this project, a collaboration between Malpas Court and Gem42."

The next class will focus on pasta-making, while next month attendees will learn how to make different types of bread and focaccia.

Also set to be launched next month is the 'Back to the Kitchen’ project, which will involve over-65s with the aim, once again, of rediscovering the pleasure of making your own food.

Mr Cinotti said: "The project came about when we realised there was a need for elderly men in the community, who had sadly become widowers due to Covid, to brush up on their culinary skills and rediscover their relationship with the kitchen."

For more information or to sign up visit Malpas Court’s facebook page or call 01633 210640.