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4 Days Cooking Holiday in Vendee, France with Chris Wheeler

Cooking Holidays in France

Big in France would like to invite you for an amazing cookery course in Vendee, France. Surrounded by a wonderful and great setting, learn French cuisine from Stoke Park executive chef, Chris Wheeler. With all the right ingredients and recipes, relish yourself with some culinary fun. Delight your palate with fabulous local food and meet great people on this vacation!

Meet the instructors

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  • Cooking classes
  • Open to all culinary skill sets
  • Learn cooking from executive chef, Chris Wheeler
  • Exciting excursions around Vendee
  • Daily healthy delicious meals
  • 3 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


3 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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You will stay in a beautiful riverside farmhouse. Situated in the Marais Poitevin, this beautiful holiday home is simply stunning. It has been renovated to a very high standard with an exceptionally large sitting room area. The house is set in a peaceful location with amazing grounds which lead down to one of the many rivers that are in the area. It is full of rustic charm and a perfect place for a well-deserved break.

The house has eight bedrooms and can sleep up to 20 people. The beautiful eight bedroom property has six double bedrooms and two bedrooms with twin beds for the little ones, with a further four bathrooms. The master bedroom is very large and is a perfect family room, comprising of a double bed with a single bed and en-suite. There are three beds that can be moved around the property to suit your needs. Travel cot and highchair are available on the property.

A newly renovated eating area can be enjoyed with a pizza-oven, barbecue, and plancha area to cook for large numbers easily. A handmade table happily accommodates your party and overlooks the gardens and river, perfect for a get-together. The heated swimming pool is wonderful for all the family to enjoy with a bespoke seating area built alongside for relaxing. There is Sky TV and Wi-Fi.

The local village is a fifteen-minute walk away with a bar, boulangerie, and cave. This local village also has boat hire for those that want to explore the many canals and rivers in the area. Le Mazeau is within easy reach of all the local beaches along the amazing Vendée coast and the many beautiful villages of the Marais. Fishing is possible in the canal running alongside the property.


In this cookery course, the executive chef, Chris Wheeler, would like to bring a mixture of fresh seasonal flavors to the table, influenced from around the world and of course with a real taste of the past, as you cook outdoors in a wood-fired oven and recapture the true flavors and influences of the bygone era.

No matter what your culinary skill set may be, from the absolute novice willing to have a go to a true aficionado of the kitchen, your journey and enjoyment of food will be about sharing, learning, and above all having a memorable time as you prepare, cook, and feast upon a variety of recipes and dishes.

The region has a great deal to offer and as you will stay just a stone's away from some of the finest salt available, you will head to "Ile de Re" for a visit to the ancient salt marshes and see how they produce and harvest Fleur du Sel.

While there, you will take advantage of the local and much-renowned oyster beds, loved throughout the region and France! If time permits, you will have the opportunity to take a peek at one of the most expensive spices in the world and the Saffron fields! Relish yourself with delicious lunch and a taste of local delights cooked for you by one of the island's top chefs.

Feeling inspired by the fresh local seasonal ingredients, you will cook and prepare a few ancient recipes of which are seldom found on restaurant menus 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, during your culinary repertoire, Asian influences will be added as you will 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 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! Big in France and Chef Chris Wheeler is looking forward to seeing you soon and spending some time together in the kitchen.

Included excursions

In this cooking vacation, you will have excursions to Ile de Re and the oyster beds.


Chris Wheeler
Chris Wheeler is an executive chef at Stoke Park. In 2016, 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, and Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year for Humphry’s- Buckinghamshire Food and Drink Awards 2016. Chris' flexibility as a chef is legendary, if he's not whisking up culinary delights for guests, he'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.


This holiday will take place in La Mazeau, the Vendee, France. The commune proper of Le Mazeau is 2.7 kilometers from the farmhouse where you will be staying. It is the closest village with the most basic amenities. Benet is the closest larger village with supermarket and diesel, and it is 8.5 kilometers away. The beautiful cities of La Rochelle and Les Sables d'Olonne on the coast also deserve a visit.

Le Mazeau is within easy reach of all the local beaches along the amazing coast and the many beautiful villages of Marais Poitevin. The desirable destination of Île de Ré is close by with lots to offer in the way of shopping, thalassotherapy spas, restaurants, boat trips, superb beaches, and more. There are various golf courses to visit within roughly an hour of the property as well.

Nearby places

  • Beach, 22 kilometers
  • Benet, 8.5 kilometers
  • Caen, 436 kilometers
  • Calais, 696 kilometers
  • Cherbourg, 487 kilometers
  • La Rochelle-Île de Ré Airport (LRH), 51 kilometers
  • Le Mazeau proper, 2.7 kilometers
  • Nantes Atlantique Airport (NTE), 107 kilometers
  • Paris, 442 kilometers
  • Poitiers-Biard Airport (PIS), 140 kilometers
  • Puy du Fou, 51 kilometers
  • Saint-Malo, 325 kilometers



  • Boating
  • Cooking classes
  • Shopping
  • Swimming
  • Swimming pool (outdoor)


  • Barbeque facilities
  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Fireplace
  • Garden
  • Kitchen
  • Multilingual staff
  • Restaurant
  • Yoga studio


  • Laundry
  • Parking lot
  • Wireless internet


All meals and drinks are included in the price.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

During your free time, you will have the opportunity to go boating, fishing, golfing, swimming, beach hopping, or exploring the nearby villages, cities, and attractions.

What's included

  • Cooking classes with executive chef, Chris Wheeler
  • Exciting excursions around Vendee
  • Transfers during the vacation
  • Daily meals and drinks
  • 3 nights accommodation

How to get there

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at La Rochelle - Île de Ré Airport (LRH), Poitiers-Biard Airport (PIS), or Nantes Atlantique Airport (NTE).

Arrival by train

The nearest train station is Niort.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 100% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
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