Cookery Courses

 Cooking with Richard Gynn

September 6th – 12th, 2017

Only a few spaces left – Please click here to reserve your place 

Travel to the beautiful countryside of South West France and immerse yourself in an exciting week of haute cuisine cooking with professional chef Richard Gynn this autumn. Join us for a comprehensive culinary course covering a broad range of cooking techniques and skills all of which are easily transferable to your own kitchen.

This specialist hands-on course is specifically designed for passionate amateur cooks keen to perfect their cooking expertise. Over the course of the concentrated 6-day programme you will be working individually and as a team in the spacious La Balie kitchen preparing a wide variety of interesting menus and learning short cuts and professional tricks of the trade, as well as the finer details of plating and presentation.

At our exclusive cooking course, the emphasis is on flavour and presentation: you will learn how to prepare and cook fabulous fish, meat and poultry dishes to perfection. We will also demystify intricate desserts and delicate petits fours, with a combination of demonstrations and practical sessions that will enable you to replicate these newly acquired skills at home.

While our attention will be mainly focused on spending precious time in the kitchen, as part of the course we will visit the open-air market of Villeréal to shop for seasonal products to be used in the afternoon class.


The course is limited to eight guests

Please click here to reserve your place!



Richard Gynn



Richard is an experienced and established London-based chef with over 15 Richard Gynnyears of experience of cooking at the highest level. Having trained under Gordon Ramsay at Maze, Jason Atherton at Pollen Street Social (both Michelin starred restaurants) and reached the semi-finals of Masterchef the professionals, he is currently Head Chef at one of London’s leading events companies. I first met Richard when he was head chef at the beautiful Borgo Santo Pietro boutique hotel in Tuscany where I was staying as a guest. The food arriving at our table each night was so fabulous I asked to meet the chef and the rest, as they say, is history….




The course:

This comprehensive, hands-on cooking course will incorporate a broad variety of complementary cooking techniques and skills. Over the five days we’ll cover:

  • Ten-minute canapés:

    Learn the tricks of the trade in prepping and producing an array of bite-sized morsels that look as good as they taste.

  • Fish preparation:

    Richard explains the key elements to look for when choosing fish, then demonstrates the techniques of filleting and brining, which you will then apply to your fish recipes during the course.

  • Meat and poultry:

    As well as mastering the different cuts of meat and the most appropriate cooking methods, the course unveils ways to produce the tastiest meat and poultry-based dishes and explains how to ensure minimum waste – with maximum results.

  • Desserts:

    Richard reveals the secrets of accomplished dessert-making, together with perfect pâtisserie artistry guaranteed to impress your future dinner guests.

  • Petits fours:

    A lesson in how to produce professional-looking miniature treats at the end of a delightful meal. Originally oven-baked, these French fancies now cover a multitude of sweet possibilities and a host of different methods involving culinary savoir-faire.

  • Bread making:

    While you knead and stretch the dough at the communal kitchen table, Richard discloses key facts about yeast, seasoning and gluten, as well as the all-important rôle chemistry plays in making bread.

  • Pasta:

    Roll up your sleeves and master the fine art of making incomparable pasta. As tricky to perfect as a perfect loaf, learn about the different types of flour used, the names of the different pasta shapes and just why they differ, before preparing your own delicious dishes.

  • Plating and Presentation:

    Professional and imaginative plating will be an important part of the course.


Masterclass dinner

For the majority of your time on the course, you will work on an individual basis, ensuring you receive personal attention and gain detailed experience of each of the recipes covered. On the last evening, however, Richard will put your finely honed skills to a friendly test! He will organise the group into teams, each of which will prepare one course of our final grand dinner. We will be revisiting some of the dishes you have cooked earlier in the week, but this time you will have the chance to prepare them for a larger number of 10 – 12 people. Ideal practice for planning a dinner party back home, you’ll be encouraged to perfect the skills needed for preparing and managing all aspects of the menu under Richard’s watchful and supportive eye – from kitchen prep work to adhering to timings, right through to presenting your dishes at the table. Bon appétit!

Course Schedule

Wednesday September 6th

16.00 Arrival at La Balie

19.00 Drinks and canapés – gourmet welcome dinner prepared by Richard

Thursday September 7th

09.30 – 12.30 Course Intro and Cooking class

Sample menu – Brined and roasted sea bass, mixed grains, cucumber and horseradish creme fraiche

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch

16.30 – 18.30 Cooking class

Sample menu – Lamb rump, cous cous, smoked aubergine, baked carrot and spiced kale. Raspberry pannacotta, raspberry purée, mint, lime and cobnut crumble

19.30 – Drinks and dinner

Friday 8th September

09.30 – 12.30 Cooking class

Sample menu – Roasted chicken crown, chicken and mushroom pithivier, glazed baby carrots, tarragon sauce

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch

15.30 – 17.30 Canapé class

– Soft quail egg, celeriac puree, celery leaf, croûte

– Rosemary spindino, parma ham, bocconcini, mint and fig

– Courgette parcel, sun blushed tomato, ricotta and basil

– Smoked salmon parcel, horseradish and beetroot

18.30 – Drinks and canapés

19.15 – Depart for dinner in Monpazier

Saturday 9th September

09.00 – 11.00 Market visit

11.30 – 13.00 Chef demo

Sample menu – Pan roasted cod, puy lentils, smoked lentil sauce and chanterelles

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch

16.00 – 19.00 Cooking class using ingredients from the market

 Sample menu – Main course dependent on market purchases; peanut butter and cherry parfait, cherry purée and polenta crisps 

19.30 – Drinks and dinner

Sunday 10th September

09.30 – 12.30 Cooking class

Sample menu – Rosemary focaccia, tagliatelle pomodoro, macarons

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch

Free afternoon

19.00 Drinks – Dinner prepared by Richard

Monday 11th September

09.30 – 12.30 Cooking class

Sample menu – Roasted pumpkin, truffled goats curd, Italian bitter leaves, crispy sage and truffle dressing; chocolate pavé, caramelised banana, rum cream

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch

15.30 – Team prep for final grand dinner

19.00 Drinks, canapés and dinner

Tuesday 12th September

08.00 – 09.00 Breakfast

10.30 – Course ends




La Balie is a collection of beautiful 16th Century farm buildings, three of which have been converted into light and airy cottages containing a total of eight charming bedrooms each with their own luxury bathroom. Each cottage has its own sitting room, fully equipped kitchen, satellite TV and WiFi.

Click here for more photos and information on each cottage



As we want you to get the very most out of your time on this in-depth course, all the chefs will be spending most of the day hard at work in the kitchen! However, as part of the course, there will be a morning visit to a traditional French market in the pretty village of Villeréal where you will help choose the seasonal ingredients for dinner that same evening. We will also spend an evening in Monpazier, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful ‘Bastide’ villages in the whole of France. We will enjoy dinner here together after strolling through the historic streets that have remained virtually unchanged since 1284.

We have incorporated an afternoon free from cooking part way through the week so that those who wish to explore can visit the picturesque medieval villages surrounding La Balie, and there will be time every day to relax by the pool, to read or enjoy a swim. For non-cooking friends and partners, there are many stunning villages, chateaux and castles to visit or we can arrange wine tastings, horse-riding, walking and golfing activities.

Travelling to La Balie

La Balie is in the Lot-et-Garonne, 50km south east of Bergerac. There are several ways to travel to La Balie – by air, train or car.

By Air:
The closest international airport to La Balie is Bergerac, although Toulouse and Bordeaux are both within reach.

Distance from La Balie:
Bergerac: 52 km
Toulouse: 172km
Bordeaux: 161 km

By train:
For those of you who prefer to take the train, there is a TGV direct from Paris to Agen which takes 4.5 hours and from where we can arrange a taxi to collect you, or from where you can connect to a local train to Monsempron-Libos.

Driving/Hiring a car:
La Balie is set within 10 acres of garden, meadow and woodland and is surrounded by beautiful rolling countryside. The peaceful, rural setting means there are no villages within walking distance – if you would like to explore the local towns and villages we recommend you hire a car.  A good comparison/booking site can be found at

Prices and Deposits

As this is our first cookery course at La Balie we’re offering a special introductory price of €1,800 per person – don’t miss this amazing opportunity!

Non-cooking partners are very welcome to join us for an additional fee of €1,000

Prices include:

  • Five days’ tuition
  • Six nights’ accommodation at La Balie
  • Two gourmet dinners prepared by Richard
  • All meals and wine at La Balie
  • Market visit
  • Recipe booklet
  • La Balie cooking apron


A non-refundable deposit of  €500 is required to reserve your place on the course. The balance of your course fee is payable 6 weeks before the start of the course.

Please let us know as soon as possible if you are unable to attend the course. We’ll refund you the full amount you’ve paid minus your deposit of €500  if you cancel 45 days before the start of the course. If you cancel within 45 days of the course, we won’t be able to refund you unless we are able to resell your place. If we are able to fill your place we’ll refund your payment minus your deposit.

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance, including cancellation insurance, when you book the course.

How to Book

Please use our Contact page to register for a place, being sure to include your phone number so we can call you to answer any questions you may have about the course.