Big in France hosts hands on cookery courses like no other; nestled in the idyllic French countryside a short drive from the bustling harbour town of La Rochelle you’ll learn how to make beautiful dishes – both exquisite in flavour and in presentation – using locally sourced seasonal produce under the guidance of multi-award winning Scottish chef, Mark Greenaway. Indulge in a plethora of foodie delights whilst sipping on a glass of vin rouge…or two…before returning home with new friends, a full belly, a happy heart and a whole host of new kitchen skills.
On arrival, guests are greeted with a glass of something chilled by hands-on hosts Matt and Emily whilst chef Mark Greenaway puts the finishing touches on a four course meal straight from the pages of his award winning cook book, ‘Perceptions’. Once unpacked, guests have a chance to explore the large stone farm house they’ll be calling home for the weekend, complete with its quaint wooden shutters and wild lavender. Just beyond the crystal blue pool lies a vast outdoor kitchen with gently smouldering coals, open fires and a row of aprons hanging from the fairy light drenched beams. They eagerly await chef Greenaway’s newest recruits, who, for now, are relaxing and getting to know one another in the warm evening sunshine.
Mark is a world renowned chef who is widely acknowledged for his innovative flavour combinations and his immaculate presentation which can only be described as artistic in nature. His self titled Edinburgh restaurant boasts 3 AA rosettes for culinary excellence; some of the dishes you may remember from his time representing Scotland on Great British Menu. With a critically acclaimed ‘Best in the World’ debut cook book to his name and over 15 years experience in the industry, this course is a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet Mark and learn invaluable skills first hand.
Unlike a traditional cookery course, each individual takes on the role of one of chef Greenaway’s kitchen team. Tasked with preparing a different element of each meal, guests get the chance to focus on a particular skill – from bread making to beef filleting to that famous black and white striped cannelloni – and develop their knowledge under direct supervision from the chef himself. The approach, which allows guests freedom and responsibility away from a stuffy class room environment, is a largely collaborative one with each element of the meal combining to create a gastronomic feast enjoyed under the night sky. There is a real sense of cohesion and friendship amongst the group, of which there is joyously no set demographic, and despite having only met mere hours before the laughter and encouragement is genuine.
What you’ll cook
- Three meals spanning countless dishes all prepared using fresh produce sourced locally just a few days before the course
- Example dishes: rosemary and olive focaccia, beef tartar, Mark Greenaway’s famous striped cannelloni and many other seasonal dishes depending on local produce
- Learn how to prep birds from guinea foul to poisson
About Mark Greenaway
Mark’s entire working life has been dedicated to his career as a chef since the age of 15 when he began working in a local restaurant. Over the years he has honed his skills and now focuses on producing fantastically high quality dishes championing Scottish tradition and local produce, as well as supporting local suppliers. His innovative presentation means that his dishes are both a feast for the eyes and the taste buds and his creativity and flair won him Best in The World at the Gourmand awards for his debut cookbook, Perceptions. As well as 3 AA rosettes his restaurant Mark Greenaway in Edinburgh has been named number 13 on the Square Meal ‘Top 100 Restaurants in the UK’ list.
About Big in France
Big in France was founded in 2017 by British couple, Matt and Emily Clark, who emigrated to the West coast over a decade ago. Making the most of the picture perfect French countryside, the balmy Summers and the wealth of local produce and fine wine they began to develop and let holiday homes alongside raising a busy family before launching the Big in France courses this year. Spanning yoga detox retreats to indulgent foodie cookery courses with some of the UK (and beyonds!) most renowned celebrity chefs, their courses offer a chance to develop skills within an idyllic setting. As hosts they are hands-on and down to earth; nothing is too much trouble and a weekend at Big in France quickly begins to feel like home.
In particular, their cookery courses stand out from the rest on the market as they actively shun the traditional, and somewhat stuffy, classroom environment. Instead, masterclasses allow guests to be experimental and to take responsibility under the guidance of some incredibly talented chefs with a wealth of experience and knowledge ready to be shared. The relaxed atmosphere means that learning doesn’t necessarily feel like learning, instead guests can expect to hone their skills with a glass of wine in hand, music and laughter in the background a permanent smile on their face.
The guest house is spacious and rustic, offering the kind of quintessential countryside living so often craved by city dwellers. In this sense it is the all round perfect weekend escape far flung from reality. Wake up in a comfy bed to the smell of a continental breakfast and enjoy the warm west coast sunshine with a book by the pool in between masterclasses; you’ll leave not only with new skills and new friends but also with a sense of fulfilment and relaxation too.
Book for 2018
Big in France is now taking bookings for 2018 courses. Not only is chef Mark Greenaway confirmed for a second year following the success of this summer but courses will also be hosted by celebrity chefs John Torode, Olia Hercules, Matt Tebbutt, Chris Wheeler, Dan Toombs and Nigel Brown. See more here.