Our school offers gourmet cooking courses in Italy, France and Morocco.
Villa Michaela in Tuscany
The Rhode School of Cuisine is delighted to present the home of our renowned Italian cooking school, Villa Michaela. Situated in the charming village of Vorno and nestled in the lush Tuscan countryside with panoramic views of Monte Zano to the south and the towers of Lucca and the Alpe Alpuane to the north our superb Tuscan villa estate is surrounded by fifty acres of pine forests and olive groves all within its private walled gardens.
The main structure of Villa Michaela dates back to the early 19th Century. Recently featured in a book of elegant Lucchesi villas and formal Italianate gardens, the walled garden of the Villa Michaela estate will delight you with its exquisite Chapel, extensive grapevine pergola, ancient waterfalls, swimming pool and tennis court.
Our Italian cooking school courses are held in the limonaia, which has been converted to create a magnificent open-plan demonstration kitchen and dining-room.
Villa Michaela will serve as your “home base” for exploring one of the most beautiful regions of Italy. The wooded foothills and meadows are carpeted with wild flowers in the spring and filled with magnificent colour and fungi in the autumn. Pisa and Florence are less than an hour away.
Additionally, there are interesting cultural excursions included. Golf, riding, truffle hunting and the nearby amazing coast line are all close by. Explore Lucca’s maze of pedestrian streets within its walls, stopping in unique shops selling food, trinkets and clothing, interspersed among the churches and other medieval buildings with their striped marble Romanesque façades. Also, there will be day trips to Pisa and Florence, where the displays of cheeses, salamis, vegetables, and fruit are works of art in of themselves. You will discover Vinci with a visit to the Home of Leonardo and a private tour of the Taccini Brothers’ studio, well-recognized ceramic artists, as featured in Bon Appetit.
Our Cooking Classes are a Perfect Tuscany Experience
In Northern Italy you will find the glorious region of Tuscany, filled with ancient cities rich in art and architecture, all nestled amongst vineyards and olive groves, cypress and lemon trees. As such, the course in Italy includes wine tasting
Vorno is a charming traditional village, comprised of rustic old stone farmhouses and majestic villas set in the lush countryside at the foot of Monte Pisano in Northern Tuscany. The wonderful walled city of Lucca lies just six kilometers north, midway between Florence and Pisa.
Your introduction to wine tasting in Tuscany will include some of the revolutionary Super Tuscans, such as Sassicaia, Tignanello, Castello dei Rampolia and Ornellaia. During the wine tasting you will hear the story of the Gallo Nero, which defines the Chianti region. You will learn of the different varieties that create this region, including sangiovese which has survived the Super Tuscan revolution of the late 1970s when a small group of Tuscan wine makers began to experiment with the new French grape varieties and new methods. The wine makers replaced their massive old casks with new barriques of French oak, while planting trendy international varieties alongside sangiovese, the ancestral source of Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. ‘Super Tuscans’ have reached heights of prestige, as affirmed by triumphant recent tastings in New York and London. – The New York Times
Your Italian Cooking Classes
The Italian cooking classes are set up in an intimate, hands-on manner, so that complete novices can sit along side professional chefs, yet both be educated and amused. Our chef will patiently teach you the skills and techniques required to prepare beautiful Italian cuisine in a relaxed and enjoyable environment. Our chef’s warm personality will make you feel comfortable and fully capable of producing some of Italy’s most famous dishes.
Our chef will help you unravel the mystery of selecting the finest, freshest ingredients available. You will learn to differentiate between various olive oils and balsamic vinegars and use them appropriately. With this knowledge of ingredients, you will make full Italian meals: antipasti, soups, assorted primi piatti of pasta, risotto, pizza, secondi piatti of meat, poultry, and fish, various vegetable contorni, and many delicious dolci including Tiramisu and biscotti. You will recreate the flavours and aromas of traditional Tuscan cuisine with pizzas, breads and roasted meats cooked in our wood-burning oven. New “traditional” techniques adapt these recipes for the modern home kitchen and barbecues.
As well as some of the more complicated dishes there are several simple and delicious recipes all complied in the recipe manual each student receives at the beginning of the week. The manual also contains a wealth of information such as a glossary of Italian cooking terms, conversion tables and a list of the Italian recipes you will prepare, cook and eat during your week of cooking classes.
About our Cooking School in Morocco
Rich in both history and flavor, Morocco cuisine is one of the most exotic in the world. The sophisticated Moroccan palate arose as the country played host to travelers and rulers from such disparate lands as China, India, Spain and Persia and then, finally, from serving for 40 years as a French protectorate. In particular, the French influence remains. French is the second language of Morocco, and an air of French sophistication infuses the Saharan oasis with a European flavor.
Imagine making Tajine de viande, Tajine des poissons, poulet aux olives et citron couscous, M’Choui (lamb), B’Stilla (the legendary centerpiece of every banquet), Harira (traditional lentil soup), salade Marocaine, cornes de gazelle (sugar-coated pastries with a delicate almond paste filling) and M’Henca (almond filled pastry), or briaouts au miel covered in honey. Simple and easy to prepare organic salads and vegetables take on an immediate exotic flavor within the context of Moroccan recipes.
Our Moroccan cooking school at Dar Liqama is located just outside the ancient imperial city of Marrakech, a walled garden city of tall graceful palms set beneath the snow-capped Atlas Mountain range. About ten minutes from the medina, you will find the Palmeraie, a grove of over 150,000 towering palm trees. It is here you will find the luxury villa Dar Liqama, aptly named the ‘house of green mint.’ The Rhode School of Cuisine in Marrakech captures the richness of Moroccan cooking holidays.
The Rhode School of Cuisine diligently introduces elements of sommelier in your experience, introducing participants to appropriate libations, including some Spanish varieties and the excellent Moroccan wines. Our greatest discovery of local wine is CB Initials, which uses traditional French techniques of wine production. The delicious and delicately rose-colored Boulaouane de Gris is the perfect accompaniment for many of the dishes.
Our luxury palazzo, set against the backdrop of the majestic Atlas and Jbel Ette Mountains, was constructed to reflect the traditional style of Moroccan architecture while offering modern conveniences. Magnificent Moroccan antique doors open from the grand columned entrance, as well as in the great hall and dining room. The graceful archways of the villa create a calm and elegant ambience surrounding an interior courtyard filled with scented flowers and the calming sounds of a bubbling fountain.
The eight spacious bedrooms of Dar Liqama are decorated in traditional Moroccan style and all have bathrooms en-suite, ambient wall lighting, limestone Tadlakt wall finishes, and most rooms feature private fireplaces. The luxury villa’s large upper terrace has a panoramic view of the Atlas mountain range and sweeping views over the Palmeraie. The peripheral salon features a rustic fireplace and pergola with underfloor heating for those cool evenings. Swimming pools, a Hammam (Turkish steam bath), an exercise spa, tennis courts, games room, and conference facilities are sensitively integrated among the palm trees.
The Owner’s Villa A short distance from the main house, sits a truly remarkable villa with each of the five bedrooms opening to a large traditional central courtyard, shaded by orange trees with a cascading waterfall fountain. The sumptuous three-room master-suite features a private dome-covered bath and the four additional bedrooms contain individual fireplaces and luxurious en-suite bathrooms. The villa’s rooftop terrace, with a brick oven cooking area and alcove seating, sets the stage for unforgettable lunches and dinners beneath the sparkling Moroccan sky. The seclusion of the private pond-shaped pool, surrounded by flowers and palms, provides the perfect refuge on a hot summer day.
In addition to nine, hands-on cooking lessons during the week, the Rhode School of Cuisine includes numerous cultural explorations such as: A guided tour of nearby villages, a day trek in the mountains, a tour of the major Historical attractions of Marrakesh including the famous Koutoubia Minaret, the Bahia Palace, the Saadians tombs and the Dar Si Said Museum, Camel-Riding in the desert and river valley, along with full access to the Turkish Steam Bath and other amenities on-site.
France, Le Mas des Oliviers
Our Cooking School in France
The Rhode School of Cuisine France is located at Le Mas des Oliviers near the charming Mediterranean port of Theoule sur Mer just half an hours drive from Nice international airport.
The view from Le Mas is exceptional looking over the bay of Cannes at the city itself and the Iles de Lerins, St. Marguerite and St. Honorat.
St. Honorat is owned and inhabited by monks who still make their own wines. It is said to have been the prison for the ‘man in the iron mask’. Legend has it that St. Patrick visited the islands and cleared them of snakes.
The islands can be visited by ferry from Theoule-sur-Mer
Gilles Morisot trained in Michelin starred restaurants, Les Terraillers and Le Cagnard, before working extensively as head chef on famous motor yachts. He has extensive experience in Italian cuisine in addition to French and has worked in Thai and Chinese restaurants as well. His cooking is varied and full of adventure and spices.
Gilles creates new menus for each course seeking out seasonal ingredients to add variety to the traditional dishes presented at the Rhode School of Cuisine. Choose your week and then please ask for the unique mix of ingredients and menus.
Arguably the most irresistible region in France, Provence ranges from the snow-capped mountains of the southern Alps to the delta plains of the Camargue, and boasts Europe’s greatest canyon, the Gorges du Verdon. Fortified towns guard its ancient borders; countless villages perch defensively on hilltops; and great cities like Arles, Aix and Avignon are full of cultural glories. The sensual inducements of Provence include sunshine, food and wine, and the heady perfumes of Mediterranean vegetation. Small wonder it has for so long attracted the rich and famous, the artistic and reclusive, and ever-growing throngs of summer visitors.
Excursions and Activities for our School in France
All of our weeks include a wine tasting trip and a visit to the famous Forville market in Cannes. Forville is a opportunity to select fresh fish, diverse cuts of all types of meat and of course fresh vegetables.
Other excursions depend on the season and could include mushroom hunting and picking fresh asparagus on the Isles des Lerins. Visiting the monastery on Isle St. Honorat is another fascinating trip possibility.