Pencil & Fork

David Sanchez is the founder and owner of Pencil & Fork, a business which provides an innovative approach to learning using food. Pencil & Fork was set up in 2013 and is situated in Worcester Park in Sutton, South London.

Pencil & Fork quite literally provides food for thought, with lessons principally in French, Spanish and Italian. In these lessons, students are taught the language and the cuisine of different countries. David sees this a great way to learn, as often people can be put off learning a language by more traditional approaches. As David says, learning Spanish is bound to be a lot more fun when you’re also making tasty tapas dishes. Food is so often a gateway to new cultures and this learning method perfectly encapsulates this.

Everything started in November 2012 in his kitchen in Worcester Park (Greater London). David, along with his wife Ana and brother Valentín, were discussing how to get more involved in the new community. From these kitchen-table conversations, Pencil & Fork was born. They decided to run a pilot in January 2013 and received excellent feedback from their first group of students. The concept was validated, and now Pencil & Fork is aiming to spread its methodology to the teaching of any subject with their motto: ‘learn, eat, enjoy’.

Prior to starting Pencil & Fork, David had spent many years in the educational sector running health and safety courses. Whilst teaching, David wanted to find a more interactive and fun way to help students learn. David had also studied Food Science at Harvard and was a keen cook, so he decided to fuse cooking and learning.

Business is going well for David. After initially starting off part-time, he now works on Pencil & Fork full-time and has created new courses covering French and different styles of Spanish cuisine. Fork & Pencil has also begun working with schools, hosting tapas and wine evenings and can be hired out to host parties and company events.

David is very ambitious and is looking to validate his food-based teaching model in partnership with a university. His next big challenge is in franchising the business. This would mean David can expand his project and increase the reach of his teaching methods – hopefully making stuffy language classes a thing of the past.

David has been very pleased with his experiences of Start Up Loans, saying he “found it very quick and easy to apply, the process was very straightforward and the mentoring was good.”

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