Cook
in
France
A relaxed friendly hands-on cooking holiday in the Dordogne, France
T: 0033 (0)553 302405             M: 0033 (0)622 655789             Bombel, 24290, St Amand de Coly, Dordogne, France              Google Maps

The Cookinfrance FAQ's

Here are our visitors' frequently asked questions...

If you are still none the wiser after browsing this website and reading these FAQ's, please email us, or even use a good old telephone: 0033 (0)553 302405

If you are having trouble viewing the FAQ's, you can see them here.

COST / PAYMENT:

How much does it cost?
You can find a very comprehensive breakdown of our prices by seeing the 'Prices' panel further down this page.
Do I need to pay a deposit, and when should I send the balance?
An initial deposit of 30% is required straight away in order to secure the booking. Please send the balance two months prior to the start of your cooking holiday.
How do I pay?
In Sterling or Euros, by cheque or BAC (Direct Bank Transfer). Online by credit card via PayPal is also an option. Email us your desired dates and preferred method of payment.
Is there a damages deposit, as is normal with renting a gite for instance?
No, but if you break something, you'll be on spud-bashing duty! :-)
Are travel costs included in the price?
No, because you can probably get a better deal by hunting around the internet. However, if you'd like to take advantage of our return airport and rail transfers service, please let us know during your initial enquiry.

CONTACT / LOCATION / VENUE:

Who are you and how do I get in touch?
We are:
Jim Fisher (chef/owner)
Lucy Fisher (owner)

Address: Bombel, 24290, St Amand de Coly, France

GPS: N 45° 01.915 / E 001° 15.295

Email: enquiries@cookinfrance.com (use this link for all general enquiries)
Tel: 0033 (0)553 302405
Mob: 0033 (0)622 655789

N.B. When phoning from abroad, remember to precede our number with "0033" and leave off the first zero of the number, ie 0033 553 302405.
Where are you?
We are situated in the Dordogne region of south west France near the pretty market village of St Genies. We are 200km east of Bordeaux, 50km west of Brive le Gaillarde, 15km north of beautiful medieval Sarlat and 10km south of Montignac (where you can visit the famous Lascaux cave paintings). The nearest hamlet to us that is recognised by the Michelin road atlas is Brégégère. That's about 2km north of us.
Where's the nearest shop/bar/restaurant/bakers/butcher, etc?
The pretty market village of St Genies (see above) is a 4km/5min drive away from us.
What's the best way to get to you?
We are about an eight hour drive from Calais/Boulogne and five hours from Paris.

Our nearest airports are at Limoges and Bergerac, with Brive/Souillac due to open mid 2010. Both the former have Hertz and Europcar car rental outlets on their doorstep.

Nearest train stations are Brive la Gaillarde (45min drive) and Sarlat (30min drive) - see voyages-sncf for trains, tariffs and timetables.

If you'd like to take advantage of our return airport and rail transfers service, please let us know during your initial enquiry.
What's the weather like?
The Dordogne is subject to mild Atlantic continental weather systems. Summers are sometimes hot, but not scorching, with a generally pleasant spring and an often beautiful autumn. We frequently luxuriate in long warm dry Indian summers.
When's the best time to come?
Our season runs from early April through to mid-October. Generally, if you prefer milder weather, come during April, May, June, September and October. If you enjoy a bit more sunshine, July and August are good months to join us.
I want to cook, but my partner/family doesn't - what is there in the area for them to do?
Well, apart from the extensive grounds and pool at Bombel, we are perfectly situated for exploring the valleys of the Dordogne and Vezere rivers, with medieval Sarlat, Beynac, Montignac (where you will find the famous Lascaux cave paintings), and the colossal fortified church of St Amand de Coly all within half an hour's drive.  
We are surrounded by an abundance of easily accessible recreational and practical facilities such as: horse riding, fishing, golf, canoeing, cycling, walking, cinema (often films are shown in Version Originale format, i.e. in English with French subtitles), open-air markets, pre-history sites and museums.

THE COURSE / FOOD:

Will there be any washing up?
Absolutely not! We have Liz, a former chef and expert washer-upper.
Do I need to speak French?
No, the course is conducted entirely in English (and if you'd heard my French, you'll know why!). However, there will be ample opportunities for you to practice the lingo when we go to the market Wednesday morning and, perhaps, if you go out for an evening meal
You say "hands-on" - what does that mean exactly?
At some of the more formal cookery schools, you are only allowed to watch the chef demonstrating his talents. We think that's like being back at school, which isn't our philosophy at all! "Hands-on" means getting your hands dirty! We will all be preparing the ingredients together, then cooking it - together. The chef (that's me, Jim Fisher) will waft around prodding this and that, seeing that all's well and generally guiding and aiding you.
What if I'm squeamish about certain foods?
Don't worry - we'll all just laugh at you! Seriously though, when you book we will phone you to have a chat about what you would like to cook and what, if anything, you would definitely not want to cook.
Talking of certain foods - what kind of food will I be cooking?
Mainly classic and regional French, with some Mediterranean French and Italian (the kind of food being cooked by the likes of Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Rick Stein). Don't forget, if there's anything that you're itching to try, let us know and we'll give it a whirl.
I'm vegetarian
Our courses are not vegetarian and we will be cooking fish and meat, although there is no obligation for you to eat or handle these products. If you have any questions about what ingredients we will be using, please feel free to contact us before you book.
I'm vegan
There is, as yet, no known cure - you have our deepest sympathy (have a bacon sarny to make you feel better).
Is it safe?
Yes, but you will be cooking in a semi-professional kitchen where the knives are sharp, and there will be equipment and machines with which you may not be familiar. However, we take safety very seriously here - there is a fully equipped first aid kit, and advice is always close at hand.
Can I take a copy of the recipes home?
Yes - we give you a farewell pack containing the recipes you've cooked, as well as some photos of your time here (though we keep the embarrassing ones to show future guests...).
But won't I get fat eating all that food?
Yes.
I am worried that the other students will be way ahead of me in terms of skill and knowledge of food.
Have no fear - we don't populate our courses with people of wildly different skill levels.  This is a cooking holiday and is meant to be relaxing. Each course is tailor-made to suit all our guests on any particular week, so you will all be of more or less similar aptitude and competence.
So, what sort of person do you get on your courses?
Although our classes are conducted in English, we receive enquiries literally from all over the world.
About 40% are Brits, with the rest made up of participants from - to date - Australia, New Zealand, US, Canada, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Belarus, Latvia, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Spain, France... I could go on, but, well, I'm sure you get the picture!
Is there a minimum or maximum age?
The youngest we've had actually doing the course - as opposed to just coming along for the ride - is 11 years of age, and the maximum was a sprightly 88 year old! In general, though, participants tend to be in the 20y to 65y age bracket.
How long does the course last?
Your holiday starts on Monday afternoon, whereupon we will get you settled in and show you around. Join us later for a complimentary evening meal. The course looks like this:
  • Tuesday is a busy day spent cooking our lunches and evening meals
  • Wednesday morning we have a break and go to Sarlat market to shop for our lunch.  The afternoon and evening is your time to relax and gather breath.
  • Thursday is another pretty full day in the kitchen, again cooking our lunch and dinner.
  • Friday is again another busy day, but this time you'll be preparing the evening meal yourself (see the Friday Challenge)!
  • Saturday, sadly, is departure day.
What are the arrival and departure times?
We ask you not to arrive earlier than 4pm on the Monday, and leave no later than 10am the following Saturday. This is because we need time to prepare for your, and the next group's holiday.
I'm looking forward to the various included visits to food-related places, but what if my partner/family want to come too?
No problem, but please let us know in advance. If there's room, they can hop in with us. However, they will have to pay entrance fees, etc.
And, apart from the extensive grounds and pool at Bombel, we are perfectly situated for exploring the valleys of the Dordogne and Vezere rivers, with medieval Sarlat, Beynac, Montignac (where you will find the famous Lascaux cave paintings), and the colossal fortified church of St Amand de Coly all within half an hour's drive.  
We are surrounded by an abundance of easily accessible recreational and practical facilities such as: horse riding, fishing, golf, canoeing, cycling, walking, cinema (often films are shown in Version Originale format, i.e. in English with French subtitles), open-air markets, pre-history sites and museums.
Is it right for me?
This is a cooking holiday with a strong food and cooking theme.

You'll learn a great range of basic, intermediate and advanced dishes while picking up a huge number of restaurant-style tips and techniques designed to enhance your own cooking at home.

There will also be plenty of time to spend acquainting yourself with our lovely part of France, chilling out by the pool, or simply reading that novel you've been promising yourself. In other words, having a bit of "me" time!

This is not a Cordon Bleu-style cookery school, so please don't expect back-to-back classes and intensive cookery lessons tied to a rigid concentrated itinerary.

THE FACILITIES:

What do I need to bring with me?
Everything you would normally need in a kitchen - aprons, knives, utensils, etc - is already here. Just bring your normal holiday gear, although we would suggest some comfy shoes or trainers as there will be a fair amount of standing. All bedding and towels are included. See our What to Bring page.
Should I bring towels/bedding/hair drier, etc?
Included in the cost of your cooking holiday are: towels, bedding, hair drier, gas, electricity and heating. There is also free Email and Internet access.
Can I drink the water?
Yes, all our water is perfectly safe being mains spring-fed. Likewise, the hot/cold water in the en suites comes via the hot water tanks direct from the mains (unlike the UK).
Do you have laundry facilities?
We don't run a laundry service. However, in the event of those small emergencies life throws at you, we have been known to wash small items of your clothing as and when time permits.
Is there a bar on-site?
No, but all aperitifs, and wine or beverages placed on the table for consumption with meals, are complementary. Also complementary are unlimited tea, coffee and snacks served throughout the day. However, if you fancy any ‘extra-curricular’ beverages, wine or soft drinks, i.e. if you’d like an extra bottle of wine with or after meals or in the afternoon, please let us know and we'll happily provide you with what you need from the drinks menu.

PRICES
(all prices include VAT at just 5.5%)
How to pay 
Terms and Conditions
All inclusive Five Day/Five Night residential cooking holiday
(per person, based on two people sharing a room):
€845

One, Two, Three & Four-Day multi-day courses
(Per person, per day.  Additional B&B accommodation available on request. Evening meal €17 per day - eat what you cook!):

€130
Non-cooking friend or partner
(Five day/five night - lunch @ €12 & dinner @ €17 per person per day):
€395

B&B accommodation
(1/2/3 Day courses - at venue or local B&B. Per person, per night):

€45
Return rail transfers (Per person. Agreed times only - see below. Email us prior to booking tickets):
€75

Single occupancy supplement (5 day/5 night) for an exclusive en-suite room all to yourself (waived when sharing):

€195
Cooking & Painting holiday
(Five day/Five night residential.  Day courses from €130):
€845

RETURN AIRPORT/RAIL TRANSFERS:
We pick you up in our own seven-seater vehicle each Monday afternoon and drop you off the following Saturday morning. Destinations include Limoges airport, and Brive la Gaillarde and Sarlat train stations (see details of our airport and rail transfers).

If you want a transfer at another time or on another day, please EMAIL US or Tel: 0033 (0)553 302405 in order to discuss the possibilities.

Transfers are conducted on a first come first served basis. Detailed dates and times are to be agreed with us prior to booking your travel arrangements, so please do not book tickets until you've agreed them with us.

ACCOMMODATION:
Accommodation is normally on-site, but, under exceptional circumstances, 1 & 2 day guests may be accommodated at a very pleasant nearby B&B 5km away.

NUMBERS:
The optimum number of participants on a course is six, but sometimes we have fewer than that and have occasionally taken up to ten.

ITINERARY:
The itinerary may be subject to change according to the seasons and local weather and is variable in order to take advantage of regional festivals and holidays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





       

SELF-CATERING ACCOMMODATION

Self-catering holiday accommodation

Just want a relaxing holiday?

See our holiday home rental page or email us now!

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5 Day/5 Night Cooking Courses Include:

  • Expert hands-on tuition with British chef

  • All courses conducted in English

  • All cooking ingredients, equipment and aprons

  • A continental breakfast each day

  • Lunch each day

  • Dinner
    (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday)

  • Tea, coffee and wine

  • An evening meal on the day of your arrival

  • En suite centrally-heated accommodation

  • Recipe pack containing all the dishes cooked during your stay

  • Entrance fees to places visited

  • Private and secluded pool

  • Internet and Email


  • Want to be sure? Read our great testimonials

    Some of the things you'll be doing on the cooking course:

    Learn how to cook pastries, breads and soups

    Select and prepare the best fish and shellfish

    Butcher common joints of meat

    Cook classic French and Italian sauces

    Construct modern dressings

    Master the art of stylish contemporary food presentation