Helen Peacocke on the tale of Sophie Grigson's new cafe and cookery school

Let’s call it serendipity. That’s certainly what Tish Francis, co-director of The Story Museum, calls the wonderful collaboration of Oxford’s celebrity chef Sophie Grigson and the city’s latest and most imaginative museum, which is destined to bring great joy to its visitors.

Sophie is the daughter of the poet, writer and critic Geoffrey Grigson and the acclaimed cookery writer Jane Grigson. She rose to fame in 1993 when she starred in the 12-part Channel 4 series Grow Your Greens and Eat Your Greens, going on to write more than a dozen popular cookery books.

Sophie and her friends Amelia Earl and Bethan Rees have recently been conducting a series of pop-up cookery classes for children and adults.

It was a recent meeting with joint directors of The Story Museum, Tish Francis and Kim Pickin, that a magical serendipity moment exploded over Pembroke Street and fell like star dust over The Story Museum. Sophie was looking for suitable premises to conduct her children’s cookery classes and Tish and Kim were looking for someone with imagination and serious cookery skills to run the museum’s newly constructed café and provide on-site cookery classes for children.

From that moment, Sophie explained, her life has become a fabulously sweet and sugary whirl. She says that when Tish suggested that she should hold her school at the museum and run the café too she and her friends tried to look as cool and as businesslike as they could but they became as excited as children by the idea — and who wouldn’t be?

The freedom to create menus that highlight those delicious fictional moments we are all so familiar with — the lashings of ginger beer Enid Blyton’s Famous Five took with them on on their adventures, Willy Wonka’s experiences in the chocolate factory and Pooh Bear’s love of honey — is what Sophie, Amelia and Bethan are now celebrating. They aim to offer us food, glorious food as depicted in our favourite books.

Sophie said: “A good meal is like a good story: you need all the right ingredients put together in the right way and above all you need imagination. I can’t think of a better place to inspire a love of cooking in children.”

Her aim is to make us all gasp with joyous surprise when we visit the café just as Mole did on seeing the contents of Rat’s wicker picnic basket as he examined the mysterious parcels of “coldtonguecoldham coldbeefpickled gherkinssalad frenchrollscress sandwichesginger beerlemonade...”

On examining an entire library of children’s story books Sophie says she will begin by offering Lemony Snicket’s Very Lemony Cookies and Bruce Bogtrotter’s Sensational Chocolate Cake, along with several other succulent goodies.

Sophie’s Kitchen at The Story Museum will start serving light lunches beginning with Soup and a Story on Fridays from 12.30 to 1pm. It is for adults and older children at £7, which includes soup and a roll or a sandwich.

Aspiring young chefs can cook up a story during cookery classes designed especially for them every Saturday until February 14 from 11am to 12.30. They will be helped to create mouthwatering dishes and delightful desserts, with a different theme each week.

Those taking part will create one dish to eat during the class and one to take away with them. These classes cost £20 and are suitable for anyone, be they beginner or confident cook. Book at www.sophiescookeryschool.com Children can also whip up festive delights in Santa’s Kitchen on Thursday, December 18, and learn how to create sweet and savoury seasonal treats for family and friends. This class costs £45.

Visit storymuseum.org.uk