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“All-inclusive hands-on cooking school for culture-vultures”

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The Gascony French Cookery School
Reviewed July 22, 2012

After checking into the Gascony Cookery School, put away your wallet but not your curiosity. Because in addition to cooking and eating (and don’t forget the wine), you’ll be introduced to Gascony, it’s people and treasures. Your hosts, David and Vikki Chance, are intent on their guests enjoying this corner of Gascony as much as they do. Your instructors, Chef David and Chef Bernard Corbiere, are intent on their students leaving with new skills and insights. We highly recommend the Gascony Cookery School in Gramont, France, and offer the following review:

Let’s start with cooking school: Both gentlemen are encouraging in the kitchen, and so humble that you can catch them cringing a little when someone calls them “Chef.” Chef David’s approach is classic—from knife skills to plating. Classes are limited to six students. So if you’re learning to fillet fresh fish, every student has her own fish to fillet. When you’re learning to make the perfect Tarte aux Pommes, every student makes his own pate sucree. Chef Bernard is the proprietor of the village’s only restaurant, and is the only person in the kitchen. So his approach is suited to the busy cook. For example, he teaches a basic custard that, once made, can be modified to serve as the base for crème caramel, crème brulee, or crème patissiere for a pie.

For part of several days, you’ll be introduced to Gascony. Vikki will take you to the weekly market in a nearby town (with a shopping basket, some euros and a list from Chef David), and afterwards an old Roman spa town for lunch at a local café. On another afternoon, David will take you to a mill under restoration, the fabled hometown of Dartagnan, and then on to taste forty year-old Armagnac at a local distillery. Vikki and David have relocated from London, and guests get the benefit of both their knowledge of what a tourist would be interested in seeing and what a tourist is likely to miss on a trip to Gascony. And again, keep your wallet closed, because all of this is included in your cookery school tuition.

And every day, you’ll eat well—often what you’ve made that day. Lunch and dinner are traditional four course French meals, including an aperitif, entrée, plat and dessert (with a cheese course at dinner, and wine at every meal). Many meals will be on the terrace at David and Vikki’s guesthouse, over looking a broad plain that stretches to the Pyrenees (frequently out of view, which we’re told is a good thing, because when you can see the mountains, bad weather is around the corner). Some meals you’ll take at Chef Bernard’s restaurant, which, in many respects, is homier than service on the guesthouse terrace; while you help Chef David plate perfect meals, Chef Bernard delivers meals family style, such as a large baking dish with the chef’s cassoulet that you helped prepare earlier.

For most travelers interested in experiencing the real French countryside, the accommodations will be perfect: no phones, no televisions, no mints on the pillows. The rooms and private bathrooms are immaculate, toiletries in evidence, with plenty of space to unpack yourself for an extended stay. But you’re always aware that you’re in a tiny, working village, not a fantasy reenactment.

We highly recommend the Gascony Cookery School. It’s an all-inclusive hands-on cooking school for culture-vultures.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank translucid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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55 - 61 of 82 reviews

Reviewed July 3, 2012

We have jsut returned from a wonderful weekend at the Gascony Cookery School. David, Vikki and Bernard made us feel right at home immediately. The food was great the accomodations very comfortable and the teaching was great fun even for neophytes like us. I suspect even seasoned chefs would get a great deal out of it as well. The French countryside is mesmerizing and very tranquil. We could not have asked for more. We only wish we had signed up for the full week course.

Room Tip: All od the rooms were excellent
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Kenneth K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2012

I just finished a wonderful week at the Gascony School, and it was everything I was hoping for in the months leading up to it. My friend was a beginning cook and I am only a little more experienced but David and Bernard worked individually with all of us. I learned a ton about cooking and also about the Gascony region, which is a small treasure in France. More than just the cooking, David and Vicki opened their homes to us and made us feel like family. I will never forget late night meals on their terrace or at the Auberge. I would definitely recommend his experience to anyone with an interest in cooking or France. Thanks!! Daniel

  • Stayed: June 2012
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Thank Djavitch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2012

I've just returned from a fantastic week at The Gascony Cookery School and I'm already missing the beauty and tranquillity of Gramont, the warmth of the hospitality and, most of all, the excitement of learning about French cookery in a friendly, supportive and hugely fun environment. The School strikes a perfect balance of activities with lots of kitchen time to learn varied cooking skills, superbly taught by David and Bernard, carefully-chosen visits to local places of interest and plenty of relaxed socialising. Vikki and David are excellent hosts and have created a wonderful place to stay and learn. The views from the terrace are spectacular; a great place to have a chat and a glass of rosé after hard work in the kitchen. I travelled alone but was made hugely welcome by everyone and had the chance to get to know lots of interesting people......there really isn't time or opportunity to feel lonely! A fantastic holiday - peace, tranquillity, great food, wine, conversation and lots of new skills to use in the kitchen.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled solo
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Thank Jools3000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2012

I came to The Gascony Cookery School as a solo traveller / guest for the weekend cookery course. I was a little apprehensive to be honest - but as soon as I met both Vikki and David, I was at ease. They have a unique warmth. It felt as though I already knew them.
The room I stayed in had breath-taking views of the distant rolling hills...but I didn’t realise this until I woke the following morning when my cooking experience began at 9:30 AM just after breakfast.
Boy was I busy – during the two days I counted 18 different cooking tasks. David is a professional chef and is particular - which I appreciated. He instils a methodology and understanding for the best approach to cooking. He was very attentive and I could see his aim was to build my confidence in cooking. All of my time was carefully planned out. The cooking course entails working with both David and Bernard who runs the local restaurant, situated close by. They offer a different style of cooking but equally rewarding experience. Bernard was very patient considering my French wasn’t so hot! This was a very authentic French cooking experience.
I consider my visit an appetiser - as I most certainly would like to return to complete the week long course. All my meals and drinks were provided for and I never used my purse once. With the attention and focus I got - it was well worth every penny. My glass was never empty.
I really didn’t want to leave. They are just fantastic hosts.
I even took their dog (Archie) for a walk, a circuit of the area just short of 5 Kms. The views, a mix of up and down hill was a true representation of rural France at its best . It also gave me a certain satisfaction to walk off the excesses of the weekend. :) the lemon tart is a pure delight!
Abientot Vikki, David et Bernard.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled solo
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Thank Susanna N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2012

I have just spent a wonderful week in Gramont at The Gascony Cooking school and I cannot recommend it wnough! I had a beautiful light filled bedroom, fresh and clean yet retaining the charm of its 17th century walls. The village itself is nestled on a hillside with spectacular views of the rolling fields that stretch as far as the Pyrenees . 

From the moment I arrived, I felt relaxed and refreshed. David is a warm and generous person who has grasped the heart of French country life and has become a pivotal member of the community. he and Vikki have taken great care to integrate and the genuine warmth and regard that their friends and neighbours have for them is evident in every conversation. 

The cooking course started on Sunday morning after a quick  breakfast and ran pretty solidly for the next 4 days... We alternated between David's kitchen and then kitchen of his teaching partner , Bernard, at the local Auberge. Bernard is as warm and enthusiastic in everything he shares as David, there is no pretention here at all. You are taken through a range of technical skills, as well as some chefs secrets, there is no opportunity to shy away, everyone must try and the pace is maintained at the level of the student at all times. We prepared a wide range of dishes from traditional and rustic to elegant and refined! Each evening, the non cooking guests at the chambres d'hotes have the option of joining everyone else for dinner , enjoying the spoils of that days labour. The large table on the terrace has amble room for all and on this occasion, we met great people, enjoyed super food and wine and the evenings just flew by with much laughter.

One of the best weeks away for a long time!

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled solo
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Thank Miriam M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2012

If you enjoy great food, great company and superb location get yourself to the Destinations show at Earls Court London, as I did last year, and book a dream break to Gramont. David ,Bernard and Vicky will be there to greet you and, you are assured a wonderful time as my sister and I had last Autumn.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank joan t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about The Gascony French Cookery School

Address: Le Petit Feuillant, 82120 Gramont, France
Location: France > Occitanie > Tarn-et-Garonne > Gramont
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Gramont
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
David and Vikki Chance would like to welcome you to their French Cookery School and chambres d’hotes situated in the peaceful village of Gramont. A wonderful place to learn the unique skills of French cooking in an authentic and charming rustic environment. The historic village of Gramont is situated in Gascony, a region famed for its food and wine. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
The Gascony French Cookery School France/Gramont

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