Foundation Cookery Course 1
Ideal for those who are looking for a six day cookery course in fundamental French cuisine, perfect for those with all levels of cooking experience looking to improve their skills, experience in the kitchen and create outstanding French dishes and desserts.
During this foundation week you will cover;
- Knife skills
- Pastry Making
- Fish filleting
- Foie Gras
- Boning poultry
- Sugar Work
Booking / Availability
Please fill in the form below to book a place on the Foundation Cookery Week Course. Once we receive your booking will send a confirmation and request a deposit payment of £200 per/p to secure your place. Final payment will be required six weeks before your arrival date.
Our full terms and conditions are available here.
Once you have been shown to your unique room, you are encouraged to make yourself at home, start to relax and live the Gascon way and enjoy the surroundings of our historic village Gramont which is home to only one of six national monuments in the Midi-Pyrénées, the Château de Gramont.
As the evening arrives you are invited to join us for local aperitifs and hors d’oeuvres on the Cookery School’s terraces that look out to the Midi Pyrenees with unrivalled views of the Gascony countryside. This is a great time to meet other students and guests and for us to discuss the week ahead.
With the aroma of your first night’s exquisite four course dinner, prepared by your Chef David, in the air and your taste buds experiencing local wines, your French cookery holiday is well and truly underway.
After dinner take the opportunity to relax on one of our three terraces, experience one of the stunning Gascony sunsets and soak in the atmosphere of our very unique location and Gascony lifestyle.
To make the most of your time at the Gascony Cookery School we like to serve breakfast for 9.00am which consists of a traditional French affair of local breads, croissants from the local village of St Clar and homemade preserves. There are also cereals, yoghurts, fruit and a good helping of coffee, tea and orange juice available.
Following breakfast it’s straight into the kitchen of Chef David who will conduct a short tour of the kitchen and an introduction to basic knife skills. Once your knife skills are honed it’s onto preparing a simple, French dressing and sauce suzette before beginning work on your pastry skills by preparing a gateau pithivers, an ornately decorated puff pastry dessert with a delicious crème d’armandes at it’s centre.
With your first successfully completed French dessert of the week completed, you will then be given the opportunity to hone those skills even further by replicating Chef David’s famous pizza gersois; a freshly made pizza base topped with local onions, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and thinly sliced duck breast.
Your first morning will conclude with further patisserie practice as you prepare a pâte sucrée, a form of sweetened pastry, which will provide the base for the tarte aux pommes that you will make on Tuesday afternoon.
Following a traditionally long French lunch you will make your way across the road to the Auberge where Chef Bernard will introduce you to the art of preparing foie gras. You will prepare four different types of foie gras –mi-cuit, traditional, cru and pain d’épices before turning your attention to another quintessentially Gascon dish; cassoulet. Bernard will share with you his tried and tested wisdom as to the best way in which to prepare his restaurant’s most popular dish before giving you a tour of his sixty five cover restaurant.
You will see and experience the difference between Bernard’s kitchen and David’s and the opportunity to compare these very different cooking environments and the difference in cooking for an intimate number of guests and catering on a more commercial scale.
Your next task with Bernard will be to make crêpes for the evening dinner and your sauce suzette prepared at the beginning of the day will be the finishing ingredient to this traditional French classic. As the first day comes to a close you will return to Chef David’s kitchen to complete two final pastries; Pâte Sablée and Pâte Sucrée.
You will be invited to take a tour of the wine museum with wine in hand at Bernard’s restaurant and experience his signature menu gourmand: an haute cuisine experience in traditional Gascon manner that will include the three different types of duck foie gras that you prepared earlier… Bon appetit.
Breakfast will be at 9.00am because today you are off to market. With shopping baskets and shopping lists in hand we will make our way to the local market town of Fleurance. Here you will be able to familiarise yourself with the regional produce and select the fresh ingredients that you will be using in the afternoon class and during your time with us.
Fleurance’s market is a host to an array of tasty Gascon treats that are sure to whet your appetite. You will then continue on to the nearby Roman town of Lectoure where you will lunch in a local café before returning to the cookery school for the afternoon cooking class.
Chef David will begin by instructing you in the correct way to fillet a fish before preparing the perfect veloute sauce as an accompaniment. You will then be given another opportunity to practice your pastry and knife skills by creating a beautifully presented Tarte aux Pommes.
Before dinner you will be invited back into the kitchen with Chef David to focus on plating and general presentation skills. The fish in velouté sauce and tarte aux pommes that you prepared earlier will be the centre piece of the evening’s menu, giving you the chance to enjoy the fruits of your labour.
After breakfast you will join David in his kitchen at 8.30am to put your newly acquired knife skills to the test by boning a chicken to create a sumptuous Ballotine de Poulet. Following the preparation of the chicken, you will make a rich mushroom sauce as an accompaniment.
Next on this morning’s itinerary is a light and refreshing Tarte au Citron and an entrée of Soupe Aux Deux Poivrons (Two-Pepper Soup), a starter whose unique presentation never fails to impress at a dinner party.
Lunch with Bernard will be followed by a visit to Gramont’s seventeenth-century château: a well preserved Renaissance castle complete with period furniture and tapestries. After your tour of the château you will have some time to relax before joining David in the kitchen to complete the final preparations for this evening’s meal.
You will spend the evening with David and Vikki, and will dine on all three of the dishes that you have prepared earlier in the day.
After breakfast you will be with Bernard in his kitchen preparing six dishes over the course of three hours. This will be your most intensive time in the kitchen this week, the focus this morning will be on French desserts. You will prepare une crème pâtissière, une crème brulée, une crème caramel before switching from sweet to savoury ingredients at the end of the morning to make that most iconic of French sauces: la sauce béchamel. You will then return to David’s kitchen to practice sugar spinning and prepare a reduction sauce, jus de vin rouge. Then it’s lunch at the Auberge.
After lunch you will visit the Château de Cassaigne, Condom’s acclaimed Armagnac distillery, where you will learn about the history of this local brandy whilst indulging in a short – optional! – degustation. We will then take you on a tour of the beautifully preserved, medieval fortified village of Larressingle. There you will see the Gascony of old in the delightful village of La Romieu, named for its many sculptures of cats and possessing of a fabulous- if not slightly bizarre – history.
That evening you will dine at Bernard’s restaurant and your menu will include the cassoulet that you prepared on Monday afternoon and today’s desserts.
Sadly, the cookery school has come to an end!
Breakfast will be served as usual, until 10am and we ask you to kindly vacate your room before 11am.