CUISINE AND COOKING CLASSES .
. . in the beautiful Loire Valley
Everyone here at Walnut Grove has three things in common.
A passion for gourmet food and an eye for the detail. A romance
with France and that feeling of luxury that comes with the
best. And a love of people and making them welcome. And yes
thats more than three things, but they are the inspiration
behind the Walnut Grove cookery holidays.
So what else makes the Walnut Grove Cooking Vacation
Your hosts and tutors are acclaimed chefs Maynard Harvey
and Emerson Farrar, two modern chefs who use the freshest
ingredients with an emphasis on distinct flavours and clean,
meticulous presentation. Their passion and enthusiasm for
cooking will stimulate your own love of food, and their expertise
will help you gain confidence and perfect your cooking skills
and techniques in the kitchen.
At the Walnut Grove, we always maintain a maximum of four
people to one chef, so you always get personal attention.
Our professionally equipped kitchen is located across the
courtyard from the farmhouse and has been exclusively designed
for our culinary vacations. With a high ceiling and exposed
beams our large kitchen is light and airy and retains a soft
country ambience, ideal for learning to cook.
You will work with a full range of professional equipment
and experiment under the watchful eyes of your chefs. Our
cookery course experience ranges from home-smoking that you
can do in your own oven, stocks and sauces, caramel sugar
cages and even the fun of making your own candy floss, or
as its called in France "Barbe à Papa" (Papa's
Cook, tour and learn during the days, and each evening, sit
down to gastronomic delights, fine wines and interesting conversation
with like-minded people in our open plan mezzanine gallery.
alone but felt very welcome and part of the family" After
looking online for cooking schools all over the world,
I kept coming back to their well developed site. After
2 years of wishing, I decided to jump in and and reserve
a spot . . . read
GROVE COOKERY COURSES
Gourmet Cuisine and Cooking Classes in the Loire
Enjoying cooking is all about confidence, being relaxed and
understanding your ingredients. Skilfully combining flavours,
textures and presentation is within all of us, our aim at
the Walnut Grove is to bring these qualities out, so that
you have the ability to follow your own flair and imagination.
Each day, you will experiment with new flavours and new techniques
using the freshest ingredients with expert guidance. Because
our courses are run with a professional yet relaxed holiday
atmosphere, we believe that this is the ideal way of combining
a holiday with culinary development.
You will arrive on Saturday, mid afternoon. After some time
settling in to your room, the course begins with an introductory
talk to discuss the structure and goals of the program. Later
in the evening, after complimentary champagne, you'll enjoy
a six course gourmet dinner that illustrates the cooking style
you will be studying during your cookery course, with explanations
by your chef hosts. It is also a wonderful opportunity to
relax and get to know your fellow guests.
Each day after breakfast, there will be both demonstration's
and hands-on classes, ranging from basic knife skills to homemade
Italian bread's and even caramelised sugar baskets. This is
followed by preparation of the evening meal, with gourmet
dishes such as Apple and goats cheese croustade with a roquette
and walnut salad or Collops of monkfish glazed with a herb,
mustard and brioche crust, served with saffron tagliatelli
and a white wine, mussel and dill sauce.
After a light lunch, you will get to enjoy some of the local
culture with visits to a Nineteenth century windmill producing
buckwheat flour in the traditional method, and a local fromagérie,
with demonstration of cheese making.
Then back to Walnut Grove for more hands-on fun in the kitchen,
as you put the finishing touches on dinner. It is then time
to sit down and revel in the stunning food you have learned
On the last day, you will be challenged to use all the skills
and knowledge acquired during the week as you work in teams
to prepare and present the last meal with only a little guidance
from the chefs. To relieve the pressure, a gourmet barbecue
is served in the afternoon, followed by a game of croquet
or boules in the garden. Then back to the kitchen for final
preparations before sitting down to your gastronomic feast.
wonderful cooking and holiday experience." Four
of us had the pleasure of staying at Walnut Grove in
June. My friend and I took part in the classes while
our husbands toured the interesting and beautiful local
countryside returning to savour the delicious food we
had helped to prepare .
. . read
US AND OUR CHEFS
How it all started
The team are old friends at the Walnut Grove, but having
cooked for twenty years in high-class establishments, they
wanted to do something new. They wanted to teach people how
to cook fine food in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Their cookery
holidays are all about bringing the best out of you, regardless
of your ability and about inspiring you and your cooking with
new ideas and techniques.
And that is how thye found themselves in a beautifully renovated
farmhouse, in idyllic France, with a vision. A vision to combine
luxurious holidays in a beautiful setting, great company and
fine dining with a chance to learn with the best when it comes
to gourmet cuisine.
The professionally equipped kitchen is just across the courtyard
from the farmhouse and has been specifically designed for
your cookery holiday. With a high ceiling and exposed beams,
the large kitchen is light and airy and is ideal for learning
to cook. And the team all share a healthy sense of humour
so you can be sure of plenty of laughter! This is where friendships
So who are the Walnut Grove team?
is a New Zealander so do not be surprised by the accent.
She is married to Maynard and is there to make sure
your holiday runs smoothly which means she is there
when you want her and not, when you do not.
will deal with Freya when you book and if you have any
questions just ask. She has been married to Maynard
since 1995 and involved with gourmet cuisine for as
long. It is a pleasure to welcome new faces and share
the delights of Walnut Grove and Freya looks forward
to showing you around.
Your gourmet chefs
Your tutors are acclaimed English chefs Maynard Harvey and
Emerson Farrar. Talented, professional chefs with a deep understanding
of food and decades of experience at top restaurants, they
share a passion for fresh ingredients, distinct flavours and
clean, meticulous presentation.
Over the years, Maynard has seen all kinds of chefs
and teaching approaches and he believes that learning
to cook should be a pleasure. He has got an eye for
detail but while he will always be passionate about
gourmet cooking, you will not find him taking himself
too seriously. He spends a lot of time in the kitchen
so it has got to be friendly and fun.
He has worked alongside Chef de Cuisine Richard Brooks
(who was the late Princess Diana's personal chef),
at the prestigious Savoy Hotel, London, Hanbury Manor
and The Royal Bath Hotel. Most recently he was the chef/patron
of the award winning restaurant Seland Newydd daringly
named after Freya (it means New Zealand in Welsh).
He has also been the winner of several gold medals in
qualifying, he worked in a high end country house hotel
in South Wales for a couple of years, and then at Peterstone
Court, which is where he met Maynard, before eventually
running his own kitchens. For Emerson the beauty of working
in small country house hotels has always been the ability
to be able to source fantastic local ingredients (sometimes
directly from the farmers) or sometimes foraged themselves
and then being able to turn them into amazing dishes with
a highly motivated team. He has taken up the challenge
of moving to France to put his skills and enthusiasm into
practice working with his old friends, Maynard and Freya.
Detail is what he is about and as well as sharing his
expertise he also believes that cooking should be some
thing that is fun, so expect plenty of laughter with him.
Your accommodation in the sympathetically renovated farmhouse
is set in a walnut grove in the heart of idyllic rural France.
The house is surrounded by its own gardens, where in clement
weather you can play boules or croquet, or simply relax in
the sun. The four luxuriously appointed en-suite bedrooms
are situated on the first and ground floors and have stunning
views stretching over the countryside.
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The Walnut Grove Le Hunaudiere
Livre la Touche