It gives me great pleasure to be able to share the wonderful surroundings and great setting for this new cookery course in the Vendee.
Add some wonderful local food, some great people and we have all the right ingredients and recipes for some culinary fun.
In this first cookery course I would like to bring a mixture of fresh seasonal flavours to the table, influences from around many parts of the world and of course a real taste of the past, as we cook outdoors in wood fired oven and recapture true flavours and influences of a bygone era.
No matter what your culinary skill set may be, from the absolute novice willing to have a go, or a true aficionado of the kitchen, our journey and enjoyment of food will be about sharing, learning and above all having a memorable time as we prepare, cook and feast upon a variety of recipes and dishes .
The region has a great deal to offer and as we will be based a stone’s throw away from some of the finest salt available we head to “Ile de Re” for a visit to the ancient salt marshes and see how they produce and harvest Fleur du sel.
Whilst there we take advantage of the local and much renowned Oyster beds, loved throughout the region (and France) and time allowing we take a peek at one of the most expensive spices in the world and the Saffron fields!.
Needless to say we are in France so we will have to force ourselves to enjoy a delicious lunch and a taste of local delights cooked for us by one of the islands top chefs.
Back at base and inspired by the fresh local seasonal ingredients, we cook and prepare a few ancient recipes of which are seldom found on restaurant menu`s with influences dating back to the 15th century such as baked mussels covered in pine twigs in the wood fired oven and served with….Prefou ! a bread cooked with fresh herbs and garlic butter.
At the same time our culinary repertoire adds an Asian influenceas we prepare and cook recipes that have influences dating back to when France had sovereignty in Madras and Pondicherry in India!, so expect exotic marinades with warming spices and succulent roast meats .
Desserts will also come in to play as well as some delicious local cheeses and of course a glass (or two) of wine!.
I look forward to seeing you soon and spending some time together in the kitchen
2016 was an incredible year for our Executive Chef, Chris Wheeler. He won three outstanding awards including:
- Hotel Chef of the Year (Over 250 Covers) - Hotel Cateys 2016
- Chef of the Year- Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life Food and Drink Awards 2016
- Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year for Humphry’s- Buckinghamshire Food and Drink Awards 2016
He entertained the crowds on stage at the Thame Food Festival alongside Raymond Blanc and also at Taste of London.
And then.. he made his spectacular debut on BBC2’s Great British Menu representing the South West. Chris’s appearance on the show was loved by millions of viewers and his wonderful personality shone through.
So far in 2017 Chris has been invited to be the UK Ambassador for Quality Standard Mark Beef and Lamb and has become a Patron of the East Berkshire College Hospitality and Catering Academy alongside fellow Chef, Tom Kerridge. Originally from Swanage in Dorset, Chris’ passion, enthusiasm and culinary excellent was spotted and nurtured from a young age. Starting his career at the Domaine De Bassible Hotel and Michelin starred restaurant located in the cosy French town of Ségos, fed the rising star’s ability.
Spotting Chris’ talent early on, celebrated Chef Jean Christophe- Novelli hired him, and Chris worked with Novelli for 10 years, becoming the youngest Sous Chef at the time to be working 7 days a week in a Michelin star winning restaurant. Chris rose through the ranks becoming Group Head Chef and right hand man to Jean Christophe, winning Michelin stars and 5 Red stars throughout the Novelli empire, including Four Seasons Park Lane, Le Provence, Lymington, Maison Novelli and Les Saveurs, Mayfair.
Chris joined Stoke Park in 2003 and for the past fourteen years he has steadily been building Stoke Park’s culinary reputation. In addition to Humphry’s winning 3 AA Rosettes, much praise and accolades have been attributed to Chris and his team, with Woman and Home magazine stating, ‘Humphry’s is the last word in fine dining’, Marco Pierre White saying Humphry’s is ‘an experience you want to relive again and again’ and The Daily Telegraph naming Stoke Park as having one of ‘Britain’s Best Afternoon Teas’. Humphry’s was voted in the ‘Top 20 Best out of Town Restaurants’ by Harper’s Bazaar, ‘Top 5 Out of Town Restaurants’ by the Square Meal Restaurant Guide and Chris won ‘Best Local Menu’ for his use of local produce at the Buckinghamshire and Berkshire Life Food and Drink Awards, and featured in Tatler’s Restaurant Guide 2013, 2014 and again in 2016 with the editor writing in the guide that Chris had cooked two of the best dishes he had eaten all year!
Chris’ flexibility as a chef is legendary, whether it’ll be recreating the Olympic torch as an exquisite cake to celebrate London 2012 or cooking at Stoke Park’s annual Boodles event. This five day tennis challenge, which is in its 16th year, takes place at the end of June every year and sees Chris and his team plate up just under 9000 delicious three course lunches and afternoon teas.
If Chris isn’t hard at work in the kitchens of Stoke Park creating culinary masterpieces, you can hear him on the radio, appearing on a number of different channels and shows including Capital FM, BBC Berkshire and Chef Radio, on topics varying from an insight into his dishes to his views on local produce and developing cooking techniques. Along with this Chris, writes a monthly food column for The Buckinghamshire Advertiser showcasing some of his latest recipes.
If hearing him on the radio or reading in the local paper wasn’t enough, Chris is a familiar face on our TV’s appearing on Hell’s Kitchen 2 alongside Jean Christophe Novelli and more recently on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen and Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch.
On Saturday Kitchen, Chris appeared alongside James Martin, Jason Atherton and Rashida Jones, cooking his signature Smoked Scallop Niçoise – a dish with a real theatrical serving. When reflecting back on his appearance, Chris spoke about his excitement to participate in the Omelette Challenge – a Saturday Kitchen tradition which saw his face take a permanent spot on the Omelette Challenge Wall of Fame!
Later in 2014, Chris appeared on Sunday Brunch, rubbing shoulders with Mcbusted, Gareth Thomas and Susie Dent, cooking Pan fried fillet of Seabass with Potato Puree, Samphire, Clams and Teign Mussels Nage for all of them to try, let’s just say this went down a treat!
Chris also appeared on BBC 1’s ‘Chef’s, Put your menu where your mouth is’.
It is Chris’ flexibility as a chef which makes him legendary at Stoke Park, as if it’s not whisking up culinary delights for guests, it’s running the marathon dressed as a chef and carrying a stock pot or flipping pancakes all the way, raising tens of thousands pounds for charity. Chris’ values run deep with cooking for the homeless on Christmas Day, donating himself for cook-off’s and charity master classes which importantly raise money for good causes.
Away from his hectic work life, Chris resides in Greenford with his wife and twin daughters and when asked who does the cooking at home, his answer is… his wife! Why you may ask, because he uses every pot and pan in the kitchen!
Upcoming appearances in 2017 include Taste of London, Thame Food Festival and Big in France!
DATES AND PRICES
Dates 4th-7th October 2018
£1199 (participants) ensuite
£1999 (2 participants sharing) ensuite
£1099 (participant) shared bathroom
£1799 (2 participants) shared bathroom
£599 (small single) shared bathroom
INCLUSIVE OF ALL FOOD, DRINKS,TRANSFERS AND EXCURSIONS.