Yorkshire chef and MasterChef: The Professionals contestant, Michaela Hanna has launched her immersive food and activity experiences in the UK. With M's countryside retreats offer an immersive getaway experience with activities such as cycling, running, and walking – guided by professional coaches.
As well as eating and learning about delicious food to expand your culinary knowledge and cooking skills. Based in North Yorkshire, With M also offers private and group cooking lessons, bespoke events and retreats, corporate away days, masterclasses, and demonstrations.
Michaela is a former Head of Branding and Events at Welcome to Yorkshire and Events Project Manager at Help for Heroes, with over ten years of experience managing and organising events. In addition, she's worked in professional kitchens throughout her career.
Michaela began her self-employment journey in 2019, becoming a freelance private chef –delivering private cooking classes and professional chef services at private events and in people's homes all over the UK.
Earlier this year, she realised the potential to bring her love of cooking, outdoor activities and event organising together, to create short retreats for people to enjoy that are truly unforgettable. From there, her active gourmet getaway company, With M was born.
On her inspiration for setting up With M, Michaela explains: “I began cooking at a young age, and I truly believe I was born to feed people. It brings me so much joy, and I thoroughly enjoy cooking professionally.
“I grew up living in various countries around the world, which exposed me to many different cuisines and experiences that nurtured my interest in flavour, entertaining and adventure. I want to create Experiences that place equal importance on the activity and the food, which I hope will create lasting memories for everyone who joins us.
“After many years working as a professional chef and in hospitality and events management, I was seeking more purpose and freedom, and working for myself has enabled that. After establishing a reputation as a private chef, the next step was to create situations where I could spend time with people I was cooking for, and enthuse them with the same joy I have for food.
“I've been able to build more meaningful relationships with the people I cook for and truly enjoy the experience, their reactions to the food I've cooked for them and help them learn more about cooking food they enjoy.”
The With M Experiences provide a range of getaways in beautiful, secluded locations across the Yorkshire Dales, allowing guests to truly switch off and get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, whilst enjoying some of their favourite activities. Throughout 2022, Michaela will be running her gourmet food and activity retreats, where she cooks delicious meals for guests and provides cooking demonstrations that guests can make requests for when booking their place.
Each Experience offers one or more outdoor activities to enjoy, coupled with a variety of food and drink Experiences such as cheese, beer or wine tasting. The activities are guided by well-known professionals in their field: Mark Airey BEM, Strength & Conditioning Coach, Nutritionist, founder of the charity Team True Spirit and Exercise Rehabilitation Instructor, HR Running Coach Hannah Rayner, a UK Athletics qualified running and fitness coach with years of experience exploring the Yorkshire Dales, and Dave Mann and Vern Overton, both road and mountain biking guides with cycling business in Nidderdale.
Michaela added: “I moved to Nidderdale in January, which is now my 26th address! Many of those have been in Yorkshire, and this is where I feel most at home.
“The people, countryside and spectacular produce make it such a special place, and that is why I am focusing on hosting the Experiences in the Yorkshire Dales. I want to showcase the beauty and hidden gems of Yorkshire, that even locals don't always get to experience.
“I'm enjoying collaborating with other local businesses and entrepreneurs, there is a lot of appetite to create opportunity in Yorkshire, and working with like-minded people is a real inspiration for me.” In early 2022, With M is hosting a Run & Brunch event on 22 January, a Feasting & Running staycation from 4-7 March and a Feasting & Mountain Biking holiday from 25-29 April, with more events set to join the schedule in the new year.