"Best Food/Wine Destination in Brittany"
Greg Ward - The Daily Telegraph 2014
Daily Telegraph Travel Guide
"Wonderful food, excellent teacher, fun and relaxed environment"
If you're looking to learn to cook wonderful food in France then look no further. I have just returned from a delightful week learning to cook delicious food under the expert tutelage of Poul.
When researching my trip I wanted a school where I would learn a variety of dishes (including starters, mains, sides and desserts), would be taught in a relaxed environment and most importantly would be able to get 'hands-on' in the cooking experience. French Dining School delivered on all of these points, meeting and far exceeding my expectations.
Expect to cook a two course lunch and three course dinner every day (apart from Thursday where lunch is free for exploring!), as well as lots of other little treats along the way (think cheesy biscuits and tasty cookies!). Poul made sure we were always learning something new but still had time to taste, experiment and learn new techniques. I cooked many things that were new to me, and picked up some extra tips and tricks gleaned from Poul's many years working in restaurants.
Meals are enjoyed with the other students in Poul's lovely home, where the wine is free flowing and the conversation even more so. Poul also arranged lovely accommodation for me in Gaynor and Ray's local B and B which I also highly recommend.
100% recommended, amazing experience. Molly P UK
Visited July 2014
“Highlight of our trip” August 2013
My wife & I did Poul's 5-day cooking course in mid-August 2013, along with 4 other lovely people we first met at the course (from Australia, US and Canada). We did the course in the middle of a 5+ week stay in France, including a couple of weeks in Paris and a drive across the country to the Swiss Alps, and it was our favourite part of the trip.
We both like to cook and entertain a lot, and this course was exactly what we needed. It was really hands-on and very intensive, with a lot of variation. Poul is a great teacher and clearly knows his stuff - ranging from appetizers to desserts, bread-making to 3-course meals, preparation to presentation. Both he and his kitchen are well organized and well suited for the task. The quality of the food he supplied as part of the course was first-rate, and the wine flowed freely once we stopped cooking and ate the results. It's amazing how many ways the French have found to use butter, eggs and cream in almost everything! Some of the things we cooked: lobster bisque, langoustine-stuffed chicken legs with tarragon sauce, tiramisu, hot-smoked fish, remoulade sauce, several fish dishes, a veal roast, a leg of lamb, a couple of chicken dishes, panna cotta, homemade ice cream, pommes anna, mushroom risotto, sabayon sauce.
We prepared and cooked a substantial lunch and a full 3 course dinner every day. We gained weight and made friends, and came home with more skill and a whole new set of recipes. Poul is charming man, easy to learn from in the kitchen. He keeps everybody working during the prep and demonstrates the techniques. Then as soon as the aprons come off, he turns into the perfect host, raconteur and sommelier. Did I mention the wine? We generally spent from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm preparing and eating lunch, then from 6:00 pm to about 11:00 pm with dinner, except one morning off to visit a local market in a gorgeous town 45 minutes drive away.
Kerrouet itself is a tiny hamlet in the middle of farm country. Poul's Kerrouet House is a lovely 400 year old stone house, fully modernized. There's maybe 30 or so homes in the hamlet (I say hamlet, because there are no stores of any kind there, it is smaller than a village) of which about half are occupied by French farmers, and half are part-time houses owned by English. Poul organized for Sue & I to stay in one of the vacant vacation homes, a perfect French country house, very well appointed, very good value, right at the end of his driveway. I believe he also organized lodging for the rest of the class, some in houses like ours, some in B&B type accommodations. You eat so much at the course that breakfast is not something you need worry about, except maybe a coffee and croissant. We walked through the farm lanes and drove to the nearby towns in our limited time off.
I can't recommend this enough, especially if, like us, you are a capable but self-taught home chef. Poul will add to your repertoire as well as to your skills and confidence. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Tom & Sue, Vancouver, Canada, Visited August 2013
“Sharpen Your Culinary Skill!!” 5 of 5 stars Reviewed 25 September 2012
"You will appreciate France like you could never have imagined!!"
It is difficult to appear in print to be objective, and scrutinized in a review after having had an absolutely fabulous week of learning to prep, cook, and present a variety of French Haute Cuisine, and other international delights such as Danish favourites along with appropriate wine and beer pairings!! It is comparable to finding a diamond where there are not supposed to be any to be found!!
I like to cook, and learn to do more, better.Yet, this one week took me leaps, and bounds, beyond my standard level, and while it was mostly the result of the tutilage of the Michelin trained chef, Poul, the entire atmosphere of the Manor house and the surrounding pastoral village that made it almost magical!!!
Then there are the neighbours, not unlike home, who come by and see if anything is needed by the chef while they are out doing their own shopping, or help photograph the participants at Graduation!( Yeah for Wes, and Jen, and Gunther, their dog!). Niall's, whom you will learn of on the Web pages, was not present on my stay but came by on Skype to lift us with his Irish lilt and humour as well as test us on our learned knowledge! Your experience is elevating, and homey at the same time!! Challenging, yet relaxing! Paced and also, calming. Ask to hear a recording of the neighbour's daughter who has the voice of an Angel!!
I learned that few people rent a car to tour in free time, but I took the Chef's recommendation to do so, and am so glad I did. Traffic is light, and following his daily suggestion as to where best to tour, myself and another participant saw the countryside and major nearby attractions that otherwise would have been missed.
We both left knowing we had seen and touched the essence of Brittany. Get out and try local favourite Galletes, Crepes, et Saucisses, and beverages while walking through Medieval streets and the rolling hills and valleys of Brittany! Start at Kerrouet house, The French Dining School, and you will appreciate France like you could never have imagined!!
George H September 2012
"Wow, wow, wow. This was one of the best holidays I've ever had."
My friend and I are still talking about the experience. The hands-on aspect of the course is so crucial to help me learn and we were definitely hands-on. The first thing I did when I returned home was cook a chicken stock which we did at the start of the week of the class ... and the hours (mostly unattended) are worth it. Poul is fantastic both as a person and as a chef.
I learned new techniques such as filleting a skate fish and boning chicken legs (used for chicken stuffed with langoustines - yum yum). The sauces, though quite buttery, were amazing. I'm not really a dessert person but I learned how to prepare some great desserts such as panna cotta and fondane. The food we prepared was varied and seasonal which I appreciated. Poul answered questions and always had ideas of how to cook this or that differently depending on your personal tastes. For instance, I'm really not an ice cream person so he gave a great recipe for parfait.
Our day in Dinan was spectacular. We had great dinners, great wines, and great conversations. The accommodations were fantastic. I would recommend this to all my food-loving friends.
Allan J May 2012
"The world needs more of you"
I don't really know how to begin to thank you for such a perfect week with Connie. You made us feel so welcome. It was like coming to stay with old friends. We both loved every minute of the cooking, eating, drinking, laughing, exploring, biking, partying, graduating and salt tossing.
You are two people who exude happiness and a real sense of enjoying every moment of life. We feel so lucky to have had the good fortune to have stumbled into your lives for a few days. The world needs more of you ......
It was lovely to have shared the week with Saul and to meet Chris, Tenor, Robert, David, Domingo, Jen, Wes, John, Dean, Sharon, the fallen angel, the lady who sold us cider and to be introduced to the Toulouse sausage galette. Never did meet the naked gardener though!
Will send a separate email with the recipe for Castle Ashby Punch - if you ever make it, do let me know what it tastes like. It is for industrial quantities which I think could keep the whole of Kerrouet under the table for months..
I leave having shared a delightful week with Connie and with a completely rejuvenated enthusiasm for cooking and entertaining - thank you.
Caroline J August 2011
"Please don’t change a thing!!"
“I think the course was excellent you and Poul are fantastic hosts. And the way Poul apparently effortlessly throws together some of the best food I have ever tasted was truly inspiring! The kitchen was pretty much exactly what you would imagine a French kitchen to be and all in with the long languid lunches and dinners. It was exactly the French cooking experience we were hoping for. Please don’t change a thing!!”
Hugh P - October 2010