Cookery Courses on the Canal du Midi

Written by on June 19, 2016 in Blog


I was really excited recently to meet Heather and David an enthusiastic couple that have created a cookery school right on the banks of the Canal du Midi. Imagine gathering all your local ingredients, learning how to put them together and then enjoy the results by one of the most beautiful Canals in the world. Inspired by her passion for food and cooking I wanted to know more.

cooking class

I would love to know about what inspired you to set up the cookery school

Having spent my career around food organising events for the pharmaceutical industry I had a passion for food which started in Brittany and on the Cote D’Azur many moons ago. Over the years I attended cooking classes wherever we travelled and loved learning about the different styles of food. I was able to retrain as a chef in Australia and served my apprenticeship with award-winning caterers who specialised in privatefunctions for the diplomatic community. We then moved to the French Alps where we spent four winters cooking in luxury chalets.

eating by the canal

Your reason for your love of the Languedoc – what bought you here ?

We decided four years ago that we wanted to open a cooking class to teach classic French food. In December 2012 we began to look for ideas and places to set up our classes. We travelled the Canal du Midi in 2008 and again in 2010 and loved the region for its wine and natural beauty. In January 2013 we discovered Millepetit and it fitted the bill nicely as a place we could create our cooking classes by the Canal du Midi.


Where do you get your inspiration?

There are so many inspirational chefs over the years who have created wonderful French food. Escoffier is probably the best start point for anyone interested in French food. More recently Rick Stein’s French Odyssey pulls together modern ideas with a traditional basis. Orlando Murrin, who wrote “A Table in the Tarn” a few years ago was without doubt our inspiration for both changing careers and moving to France – we stayed in his guest house a few times and his food writing on sourcing French ingredients is a must for anyone living here.


Talk me through a typical day and do you cater for all ages?

We offer a one day hands on Classic French cooking class followed by a three course lunch, which the ‘cooks’ have prepared, on the terrace beside the Canal du Midi under the shade of the iconic plane trees. We have five choices for each course which guests can select from our website – the first to book generally select the day’s menu. Soufflés, duck and chocolate have so far proved the most popular menu!

The class is suitable for any age, our youngest cook was 9, our oldest 87. Some wonderful junior cooks who have shown up their adult counterparts with their knowledge and techniques. Last year we had seven teenage girls prepare lunch for their mothers. Managing a group of 14 year olds was daunting at first, however they were delightful and impressed us and their mums!

cooking classes

How do you source all your ingredients?

We are in a wonderful region of France with readily available seasonal produce. Here at Millepetit we have our ‘own’ maraîcher who grows a range of vegetables and fruit in the fields alongside the Canal. We buy his produce the day it is picked so it is always fresh. We use olives, oil and herbs grown right on our doorstep; and honey from hives along the Canal path. One neighbour is a vigneron and produces a delightful vin rosé 50 metres from our door. We buy vin blanc and vin rouge from Chateau Canet in the Minervios who make their wines from grapes grown in the foothills of the Montaigne Noir. We feel very blessed!

cooking canal - Copy

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