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Student Feedback

Letters from previous students

Beverley F - Italian Cookery Course Student July 2014

Hello Mr Winston,

I attended the one day Italian cookery course today and I would like to thank you for a really enjoyable day. I had a lot of fun. I was feeling very nervous and anxious at the start of the day but soon felt at ease.The recipes have provided me with new ideas and I feel especially inspired by the pasta. It is my birthday tomorrow and have been given some money, I have decided to buy a pasta machine because I was so impressed today.

Thank you very much for a brilliant day and I am looking forward to hopfully being able to attend another course in the future.


Beverley F

Sarah C - Four Week Course Student late 2011 (update 2013)

A quick update since my course. We are still looking to buy a pub but I have now become the head pastry chef at a gastro pub in Essex. I have also recently started work in the main kitchen as well and I can safely say that I love being a chef!!

Thank you so much to you and all your team for starting me on my journey.

I hope you're all well,

Kind regards

Sarah C

Phil J - Armed Forces - Royal Navy CTP student on the Four Week Course July 2013

Guy and Lisa -  Indian Cookery Course April 2013

My wife and I attended your 1 day Indian cookery class earlier this year (13th April) and I would just like to drop you a message to say how happy we are that we had this opportunity to spend the day with your fabulous staff. We learnt so much on the day - how to understand, prepare and cook the various ingredients and the introduction to the spices was one of my favourite parts.

We have been able to apply and enjoy the skills that we learnt quite a few times since - we started with the dishes we learnt on the day and have since moved to a few other dishes, trying to keep it simple for the time being and focusing on understanding the many flavours and applying the techniques.

Probably the most significant thing that I personally have been able to take away is the confidence to give it a go! What once seemed like an unobtainable art form that was far out of reach from the simple cook that I am, is now fully in my grasps and has transformed the way we cook together at home, and also the way we enjoy food in restaurants.

I can't thank you enough. We have talked about doing another course at some point which we look forward to and we have recommended your school to all our friends and family.

Guy and Lisa

Pete -  Four Week Course July 2012

Chris hi,

Thank you very much for the emails, I intend on working my way through the menu summary cooking for Sarah when I move down to Bavaria in Oct. You will be pleased to know that our wedding was fantastic and was run with military precision and that the good weather that I ordered turned up on time. We have just got back from our honeymoon and are currently on the slow boat back to Germany.

Please pass on my thanks to the whole team for delivering what I class as the best course that I have ever attended I had a great time and learnt so much. I will certainly be spreading the word about your courses back in Germany as I did with everyone that sat with me in the Hot-Tub.

Thanks again


Cat -  Four Week Course July 2011 (update 2012)

Hey chris!!  Sorry for such a late reply I haven't had a chance to go online much in the last month! How are you and everybody?  Busy I hope!

Myself and my partner were offered and accepted a great job a few months ago.... We're crewing a private 60ft catamaran called best revenge 5 (www.br5.com) based in the british virgin islands in the caribbean from november to june, then sailing to east coast of USA visiting newport, nantucket, maine and manhattan etc during the summer months, and we'll sail back to BVI for the season to start again, spending christmas in st barths! So its all go go go at the moment!!!  In the caribbean the boat will be chartered, but at the moment while we're in america, its just the owner and his family and friends etc.

I'm making lots of dishes from the gables... the chicken tagine, lamb shanks, cheddar burgers, lemon possets, gooey choc puds and summer puddings are some of the favourites!!  I still haven't cooked everything in the cook book but working my way through its a good opportunity in this job!!  I've got a lot more confident thank you to everyone at the gables!!!  Working on a yacht is all about time management, preparation and presentation, and you all helped me to get there!  I'm now cooking for 8 guests and really enjoy it!

I'll send a pic when I can get the laptop on wifi messaging from the blackberry at the moment!

We'll speak soon, hope the world map is coming on ok I'd love to see it some day!


Sue -  Bread Making Course March 2012

I attended an interesting bread making course in March of this year and at lunchtime you served up a lovely tomato and basil soup.  I have searched though the 5 ingredients book given to me on the day and trawled the internet but cannot find any recipe which has ingredients that I think would replicate the taste of  that particular soup.

Would you be able to let me have your recipe please?

By the way as a result of the course I now successfully make my own bread and thoroughly enjoy both making and eating it!

Kind Regards

Sue S

Jasmine -  Four Week Course 

Hi Chris,

Just thought I'd let you know, I've just got a job as a chef on this......


Thanks very much for all your help from the school.

Best Regards,


Laura -  Four Week Course 

Hi Chris,
So onto a new boat for me for 2 months...I am sole crew chef for 18 people on Maracunda - the Saudi Royal Family's yacht!! Flying to Doha in the next 2 days to start a 45 day contract so absolutely cannot wait. Definitely a chance to try new recipes as there is a huge range of people on board.
I don't know if you can help but when we did the course we cooked a fish dish with asparagus and a beautiful creamy sauce, do you have any idea what it was called? I would love to try it again but for the life of me I cannot remember which one it was!!
Love to all and hope the new year is treating you all well.

Sarah C -  Four Week Course 

Dear Chris and Fran,

I just wanted to send you a quick email to say a huge thank you for my experience at the Gable's. It truly is an amazing course which I can honestly say has changed the course of my future for the better. I found the whole thing absolutely wonderful, from the location, the people but most importantly the quality of the tutors and the teaching. They clearly know their stuff inside and out!! The overall structure of the course was absolutely brilliant and I enjoyed every aspect of it, the only down side was that it went so quickly and I could have easlily stayed a few more weeks very happily! :-)

Anyway, thank you once again for all you have done for me. I will recommend the course to anyone thinking of doing anything cooking related.

Take care


Laura -  Four Week Course 

Hi Chris,
Happy Christmas and New Year to you all, I have finally got a job on a sailing yacht!! We are based in St Maartens at the moment and have successfully finished two charters so am very happy. Am still on the look for a more appropriate yacht (something a little bigger as i am stew here as well) but so far so good.
Hope you are all well, 
Love Laura

Cat C -  Four Week Course 

Just a quick update..... I went back to Sydney for 6 weeks after the course and worked in the city which I loved, and I'm now in the British Virgin Islands on our lovely yacht! We're very lucky we were given a brand new sailing yacht!  So we got to unpack everything and its very shiney!  We have a one day charter on the weekend then our first one week charter starts next weekend.
It's a small world.... I'm working along side Suzy, a girl who came to the Gables about 3 years ago, she's crewing a yacht with her boyfriend Dan. She said she stayed at a friends house when she was at the gables I'm not sure of her second name you may remember her though!  She said she's always using the Gables recipes and has given me lots of tips and advice, I've been practising lots... can't get enough of your crumble recipe!

Thank you so much for your help hope everyone's well at the Gables!
Cat C

Matthew B -  Four Week Course 

Hello Chris and Gables team.

I was just emailing to thank you ever so much for all your help on the course, I thoroughly enjoyed the course and found it extremely beneficial.

I would like to add that I secured a Commis chef position with Ski-bound which starts 25th November. currently don't know which resort I will be in but anywhere in the alps will suit me.

Couldn't have got to where I am now without the course.

Many Thanks again,

Matthew B

Sally P -  Four Week Course

Dear Chris

I wanted to thank everyone concerned especially you, Katharine and Fiona. I had a wonderful experience and learned tons of new techniques. I am still unsure what I am going to do next, but it will definitely be something to do with food.

Thanks again

Sally P 

Lucy B -  Four Week Course

Hi Chris and Fran,

Hope you are both well? I have some good news - I found a job! I have just started as the editorial assistant of Grub, a local food magazine for Surrey and Sussex. Just wanted to say thanks again to everyone at the Gables for their help and support and for giving me the skills and confidence I needed to get the job I wanted. Also, thank you for passing my details on to Lumley's. They found lots of temping work for me over the last few months which was all fantastic experience. Hope everyone is well?

Take care and thanks again for all your help, I'll keep you updated on how I get on.

Best wishes,


Laura G -  Four Week Course

Thank you for a  wonderful four weeks at the school It has been a brilliant opportunity for me and one that I will make the most of!

I will certainly keep in touch and let you know how things progress towards the end of this year especially.

All the best Laura G

Megan D -  Four Week Course

Hi Chris

Hope your all well at gables!

My boyfriend and I have been given the Ski Famille job I told you about previously. And we’re going out to Reberty in the three valleys in December which is great news.

Megan D

Gabi -  Four Week Course

Hi Chris

How are you all doing? I am currently up north in Finnland, getting a boat ready to sail down to Palma. Fortunately I got a big freezer on board and already could pre cook several meals so, once we are at sea it is just easier this way...
In my gables recipe file I miss my pages for the brown bread recipes 383/384 and 43/44. Could you maybe e-mail me these ones, please? I really love them and it would be great to have them again....

James -  Four Week Course

Hello Chris,

I am now starting to look at chalet companies for a ski season this winter; the list you gave me has been very useful.  

Just a quick note to say how much the course meant.  I can't express how much I got from the four weeks they were so brilliant and well organised.  I have learnt loads and I really enjoyed the final day when Irina and I cooked everyone the 4 course meal it put everything we had learnt nicely into practice!  I can't deny that I have already found myself cooking in the kitchen at home more than I used to and I am looking forward to cooking a big dinner for some friends at some point this summer.

Once again thank you for the course. Please send my regards onto my two teachers Fiona and Katharine!  Best of luck with the next course.

Kind Regards,


James -  One Week Course

Dear Chris,

Thank you ever so much for last week’s course, I had a really good time. I hope this week is going just as well; please pass my regards to the rest of the course. I successfully cooked a few courses for friends on Sunday, with an amuse bouche of carrot and corriander soup served in heart shaped espresso cups with a drop of cream shaped like a heart with the cocktail stick trick; shallot and camembert tarts; roast duck on artichoke mash with red berries; and custard tarts. My wife commented how relaxed I was in the kitchen despite cooking so much, and also marvelled at how, despite her jokes in the past, this time I really had used every pot and pan in the kitchen. I was particularly pleased, after failing to find serving rings in any of our local shops, to make one out of a tin of bamboo shoots!

Thanks again for all your help and patience in the build up,


Helicopter Pilot RAF - Career Transition Partnership Candidate

Helen A -  Four Week Course November

Hi Chris,

I did the month long cooking course at the Gables back in Nov-Dec 2007 and thoroughly enjoyed it - it has led to me cooking all over the world. Just to let you know I got a forward about a cooking job in France from Alexandria 3 weeks ago (email forwarded from parents below)- and got the job - much needed in this time of recession! I finished a season in a chalet in France in April 2011, and am busy trying to decide the all important what to do next with my life, but this will do nicely to tide me over while I make the decision. Will let you know how it goes, busy menu planning and looking forward to cooking in a chateau - how grand!

Kind regards

Helen A

Lucy -  Lucy Bristow Team Corporate Event

Dear Chris and Fran

I meant to email you earlier to thank you for the great day you provided for the Lucy Bristow team recently!  Everyone had a fabulous time and considering it was a corporate fun day we felt it was just the right balance between learning practical cooking skills and light hearted entertainment! 

Although we didn’t take it all too seriously everyone has tried one of the recipes we learnt with you and had appreciative remarks from friends and family consumers!  Particularly popular was the lemon posset and even Ben has made the soup with great success!

I have put some comments on our website www.lucybristow.com under the ‘news’ and my ‘blog’ with a link to your site so I hope that will give some good PR for you!

All the best for the future and hope to see you again soon.


Ed -  Four Week Course 

Hi Chris

Hope you and all the great folks at the gables are all well and business is good. I am sorry to say i have had no chance to use my culinary skills recently and wont for at least 3 years as i have moved to a tiny island in Indonesia and set up my own dive centre....we have a bungalow and no kitchen lol !!! Have to make packed lunches, pre prepared meals for guests on daytrips to dive in komodo but hardly taxing my abilities.....Still think happily of my time with you guys and have recommended you to many friends over past few months. If you guys ever fancy a holiday on a tiny island or your students are divers and want to come play then they can find us at  www.kanawaislanddiving.com or check out kanawa island diving and kanawa island resort on facebook. Give my love to all and best of luck for the future.

Ed S
Kanawa Island Diving

Gabi A -  Four Week Course

Hi Fran and Chris
How are you today? It`s been a while since I did my cookery course with you and I have fond memories of it. I am still working on boats, burning the ingredients less and less, hehe...this season I am working on a Sailing yacht which is under construction right now and the owner, who ownes a restaurant in Germany offers me to work in the restaurant for a month and looking over the chefs shoulder and taking some notes. Really excited about it. I have been contacted from a friend of mine, Marita, who is looking into taking a cookery course in 2011.... she might get some reduction in price if she gets recommended through me? I think I remember you mentioned something about this when I was on the course?

Best Regards

Ann M -  Indian Day 

Hello, just to say Victoria and Myself really enjoyed the indian cookery course last Saturday, thank you very much and hope to see you again for one of your other courses.

Best Wishes Anne and Victoria M

Norman F -  Four Week Course

Hi Fran & Chris,

I would have loved to have taken the French job but will be on holiday myself. I entered the competition for Britain's Best Dish and went to the audition which was quite an experience. There were about 100 contestants for 8 places for the three courses. I had a positive feedback and they suggested I apply for the next competition. I continue to cook for 40 at the old peoples luncheon club and have introduced soup when I am on. It is amazing what you can cook for £3 a head a 3 course meal and still make a profit!!! I am hoping to cook some dinner parties during the year to raise funds for a school in Uganda and asking for donations after the meal.

Keep up the good work.

Norman F

Kim S -  Four Week Course

To Fran, Chris and everyone at Gables School of Cookery.

Thank you so much for the last 4 weeks.

Love from Kim

Megan D -  Four Week Course

Hi Fran and Chris,

Hope you are both well! Thought i'd give you a quick update!

Working on the boats going really well! And the duck and berry sauce is the owners wife's favourite... shes asked for it about 3 times now! ... and they've only eaten on the boat about 5 times so far!!

Currently applying for couple ski chalet jobs for this winter! My boyfriend and I have an interview on the 26th! So fingers crossed for that! They were really interested in the course so hopefully all will go well!

Hope you are all well at Gables.

Take care,

Megan X

Debbie -  Thai Day

Dear Chris,

Thank you for a very enjoyable day on the Thai Cookery day on Saturday. Looking forward to cooking my first thai meal tomorrow night.

Many thanks


Phil - Easy Dinner Party Course


Forgive me for not contacting before but we have been rather busy!! Just a quick note to say how much my wife appreciated the 'Easy Dinner Party' course on 15/1/11. She said that the instruction and make up of the course were perfect and she thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks for all your assistance, i will have to get her to see what else she would like to do.

Thanks again,

Maria - Four Week Course

Hello Chris

Hope you are well. I know you have already sent me once before the link for the course recipes but it didn't work. Can we please work out another way of getting them electronically. At the moment in St Marteen, working on a yacht. Your Sweet Chile sauce is the best, and so it the Caramelized onion camembert tart, both I know will go down a treat.

Enjoy your day

Kind regards


Norman - Four Week Course

Thanks Chris & Fran,

Sorry to hear about your burst pipes.

I am having a new kitchen fitted next week here at home following on from having a utility room built. This will give me more room to cook for dinner parties which I hope to do this year to fund raise for Ugandan students and other projects.

Yes I am still cooking at luncheon club and have introduced soup as well as a main course and dessert.The soup has been really popular with the old folk. Not so sure about the helpers as it means more washing up and not something the other cooks are doing. Will let you know how I get on.


Andie - Canapés Day

Just wanted to send a small note to say thank you so much for the wonderful day I spent with you on the Canapé course recently. I really felt that I was part of the family and would definitely come again. I certainly learned so much. Fiona was an inspiration!

Thanks again

Ed - Four Week Course 

Just wanted to say sorry that i didnt get to say goodbye properly on friday, lots to do when i got home with work and Azores trip etc....It was a pleasure to meet you guys and you looked after us all fabulously. The course was everything i hoped it would be and has prompted me to alter my plans to the extent that i am starting to apply for trainee chef/kitchen jobs in Nottingham already ! One in particular is as chef de partie at a fanatstic fish restauarant in the city, i know my lack of prof. kitchen experience puts me way back in the running but if you dont try you dont get right


Mario -

Just writing to say I am seriously impressed with the service. Phoned up yesterday just before midday to order a voucher as a leaving Gift.

This morning at 8:30 the postman deliveries it!



Roger - Pastry Cookery Course

Many thanks to all concerned in last Saturday's course. Not having made pastry before I found the course interesting and enjoyable. Also I have recommended your book to a few folk.

Many thanks.

Teresa - Pastry Cookery Course

Dear Chris

Thank you for a great day on Saturday on the pastry course.  Although tired at the end, my Mum and I enjoyed it very much,


Sarah - Easy Dinner Party Course

Dear Chris,

It’s been a couple of weeks since my friends & I came to the Gables School of Cookery for the Easy Dinner Party course.

I just wanted to drop you a line to say a big thank you to you all.  The four of us really enjoyed the day & we all took away a renewed passion for trying new recipes and creative ideas.  The extra recipes you kindly provided have also been successfully trialled....

I also wanted to mention how good the booking arrangements & course materials were, it felt seamless & so professional.


Jessica W

I had been looking for a cookery school as I had just graduated and had always wanted to work in the industry. I chose their four week course as I was hoping to work in ski chalets and thought this was the best one. The course was fantastic - it exceeded all my expectations! We had two cooking sessions a day and the teaching was brilliant. I went from being able to cook basic student food to being a real pro in just one month! They gave me so much confidence and even put me in touch with the people who now employ me. I was so impressed that I even bought my dad an Indian day course and he's now confidently and proudly cooking curries for everyone who will eat one! I would recommend this course to anyone as the friendly staff are bound to go out of their way to make sure you get what you are looking for.


Hi Chris, hi Fran

how are you doing? I am well, currently in the south of France. Since I did the cookery course with you, I havent really started to cook on boats. But now, finally I got the courage and doing it. i work this week on a 26mt Motoryacht, the guest arrive on friday. Americans, kosher food, but not strict, luckily! Of course, I am a bit nervous about it all and would like to ask you, in case of emergency and to normal working hours, would you mind if I call you please? Only when it smokes and I am need some back up plan...thanks for letting me know. Please say hi to the rest of the team from me.

Best regards

Big hello to you all

I just very successfully finished my luxury charter as chef on board a motoryacht. I had to cook for kosher people (luckily not to very strict, in regards of using pan, pots and plates...). Been cooking up a storm, breakfast lunch and five course dinners! They loved it! Me too! Thank you so much for being my back bone! I have to admit, that I was pretty nervous before the charter. This people pay a lot of cash and have high demands. But I was very well organized and always prep the food/ingredients well! Thanks again!


Iain - Four Week Course 

Dear Fran + Chris,

Just finished unpacking and found this apron. Apologies for taking it all the way to sunny Scotland. Thanks again for all your help during my stay. The course was great, the work experience could not have been better and your hospitality was appreciated by me, Anja and wee Vuk.

I'll be in touch in the near future with how things are progressing. Exciting times ahead!



Jennie - Easy Dinner Party

Thanks to you all for giving Ann & myself such a wonderful day, we had a ball & so much was learnt in one day. Brilliant.


Rosalind - Easy Dinner Party

Dear Fran and Chris,

I would like to say how much I enjoyed the cookery course on Saturday. I found it thoroughly enjoyable, easy to follow and everyone was most helpful and patient. Not being the most confident of cooks, I now feel I can go into battle fully armed!!! LOL. I have also tried out a couple of recipes from the cookery book and am finding them very easy to follow and very tasty. I love the trout and watercress.

Again many thanks!

Zuzanna - Four Week Course 

Dear Fran and Chris,

I wanted to say BIIIIIG Thank You for great four weeks I've had in your school. I have learned a lot and enjoyed every minute of it.You guys were very caring and I really like the variety of different teaching techniques you provide. Each of you taught us a lot and I think learning based on practice is the best way to go.

Thanks All of you again.!!!

Sorry, I didn't have time write you earlier. I was very busy with organizing my work.I'm in Turkey at the moment working on a yacht called Capri as a Sous Chef.It is very very busy and I'm glad I can use everything what I've learned at your cookery course.It's great to have a little base I can build on.

I'll keep you posted with my little travels.

All the Best!!!!

Hayley - Four Week Course 

Hi Fran/Chris,

I hope that you are both well. I meant to call you to thank you once again for a great course, I had a fantastic time and learned a lot of skills which I'm sure will stay with me for life!

Take Care,

Teresa - Easy Dinner Party Course 

Dear Chris

I'd like to thank you, Fran and the team for a wonderful day on Saturday for the Easy Dinner Party Course.  It was such a great day and I came away feeling like I had learnt so much and that my confidence in cooking had been lifted.

I will be keeping an eye out for future courses that I can attend!



Yvonne & Holly - Four Week Cookery Course

John W - Easy Dinner Party Course


Andrew P - Indian Cookery Course

Thanks very much for a very enjoyable day's cooking experience. It has shown me one very important thing:

I can cook !!

A big: THANK YOU !!




John M - Indian Cookery Course


I thoroughly enjoyed the course and I am cooking dishes with more confidence. Photos attached for your interest.

I live in Bristol - can you give the names / address / post codes of shops where I can buy a wider range of ingredients.

Also you were talking about a seafood course - I would like to get the confidence to cook crab, and lobster as well as shell food such as mussels, scallops, cockles etc.

On the course I had some very good reports on the Italian cookery course - so you may well be seeing me again.

Kind regards
John M


Maria B -  Four Week Course

Hello Chris,

It was great to speak to you last week, and I really like your idea of "where are you now". I have been offered a boat delivery from Panama to UK in April so i will be leaving the French Alps, I will be taking my Gables School of Cookery (GSoC) recipe binder

Whilst working here in the Chalet I have received so many compliments about dishes I have cooked, the  GSoC  recipe binder certainly provides a variety of dishes, and flavours there is no way any client can get bored. Big thank you, makes my job a lot easier

At the mo I am cooking for a film crew so its  not your typical 4 course gourmet dinner they just want snacks or a light dinner as their schedule varies, have to be creative and flexible but it’s all good practise, I get inspiration and ideas from the GSoC, slowly working my way through it.

When are you running your advanced course...really keen to get smarter in the kitchen as I sometimes tend to faff...is that just lack of experience or a character flaw?

As I have accepted this boat delivery, I have to be in Panama on 10th April I am leaving before the season ends which is not ideal, but it’s an opportunity I can not miss, its six week delivery with the possibility of a permanent position, in addition the daily rate is almost my weekly rate, and there is more..the boat is off to the Pacific in November.

So as not to leave my bosses, the owners of the chalet in the lurch I am prepping up dinners for them as the film crew are staying to 18th May be 23rd April. Not sure if one of the 4 week students would be interested in getting some work experience, it could be a taster of what to expect if they fancied doing a season, not sure of details but you never know..could you ask?

Not sure how I have managed it but I have lost the recipe for Broccoli and Cauliflower in sour cream could you e mail it please..as it is very tasty.

Please pass on my best wishes to the team

Stay happy - stay in touch

Kind regards



Carolin M - regarding final week dinner (which the students produced) Four Week Course

Many thanks to all of you for a lovely evening last night. It was a very enjoyable evening, it was so nice to meet everyone and the food was fabulous all the students did an amazing job. Many thanks for inviting me. It was much appreciated.

Carolin M


Freddie and Reaveley -  Four Week Course

Hello Chris
Thanks for sending e mails through about vacancies etc and I pass them onto Freddie who I think will be very interested when he returns from his ski season.
I thought you would like to know however that both Freddie and Reaveley are doing very well running their chalet in Motarret.  They have been voted the best chalet in the Meribel/Motarret valley because of the number of complimentary letters they have received from guests.  I think this is a real accolade as they are up against superb 5 star chalets with lots of 'old hands' running them.
Everyone who has stayed with them has remarked on their fantastic cooking and superb organisational skills which have far exceeded most guests' expectations;  especially when they first meet them and realise how young they are.
They have managed to stay within their budget which i think is quite an achievement given they don't have control over all aspects of purchasing!!
Anyway, when asked they always say they went to the Gables for their skills so I think you would be pleaseed with them too.
Hope you are well and busy.
Best wishes

Vanessa B


Stephen W - Indian Cookery Course

Hi Chris,

Just wanted to knock you a note to say how much I enjoyed the course on Saturday. I learnt so much and I thought that Catherine was a brilliant tutor.

 On the strength of having such a good time I'd like to book Paula (my partner who gave me the Indian course as a present) onto the Italian course in July as a present for her. How do I go about securing her a place on the course?

Cheers and thanks again.

Steve W


James de la F - Four Week Course

Dear Fran and Chris,

I just wanted to write and thank you once again for the truly amazing month that The Gables has given me. It really was such an amazing experience and has had such an incredible effect, transforming me from someone who had the most basic cookery skills to someone who would feel confident working in a professional kitchen.

It is actually amazing how much I have learned in just 4 weeks and of course I have a feeling that your wonderful cookery bible will become a new lifetime companion. Please pass on my thanks to our kitchen mentors Katherine and Sally for their wonderful help, support and guidance during the month and most of all making the whole experience so fun and sharing their enthusiasm for food and cookery.

I will of course be recommending your courses to everyone and I would be really grateful if you could send me any details of any advanced courses you decide to run.

However for now thank you so so much for everything.

James de la F

Louise G - Easy Dinner Party Course, Saturday

Thank you for a great day on Saturday- Ric & I really enjoyed it. We
will definitely recommend the day to our friends.
Thank you also for accommodating him & coming up with the chicken!

Louise G

Gill L - Four Week Course

Hi Fran and Chris

Happy Xmas to you all

Course below sounds great - unfortunately I will be busy on our latest yacht. By the way, you get a mention on our web site www.syparaiso.com.

Best wishes


Linda H - Four Week Course

Happy Christmas to you all.

Thank you for a fantastic course in July/August. The course and the company was the highlight of the year. To find all the different age groups getting on so well was like a holiday.

All the best for the New Year

Linda H

John A - Four Week Course


... With your tuition in the autumn she was able to work for the winter season in La Plagne with SkiBeat and then spent the summer catering in Chamonix, and is now is doing the same in Nagano, Japan, till the snow melts.

Best wishes to you and your team on Helen's behalf.

John A, funding agent and parent."

Anne and Mark D - Four Week Course

Chris, Thank you for your email.

Simon is now working in French Restaurant in Brighton as the Sous Chef - He is enjoying himeslf and making good progress.

Hope you have a good Chritsmas and thank you for helping Simon on his way!


Anne and Mark D

Pollyanna H - Four Week Course

Dear all,

Merry Christmas to you all too. I hope it is fantastic. I’m out here in the British Virgin Islands on my beatifull boat. Thank you so much for teaching me all my skills in cooking. much love to everyone Pollyanna xx

Frances H - Four Week Course

Thank you for sending the emails about work opportunities. I am currently working for Lumleys Cooks, getting loads of work from them, also, by word of mouth and a couple of adverts I put out I am cooking in various forms nearly 6 days every week and loving it!

I am so glad I did the course, I really really enjoyed it and feel so much more confident cooking now. So thanks so much to both you and Fran & co. for making it such a great experience. I will be sure to tell all my friends and family where to go for the best cooking course. Also please thank Fran for giving good references to my potential employers, its definitely helped getting me all these jobs!

Nick F

The kindness and professionalism of the staff at the Gables school of cookery go far beyond what can be expected. They really take the time to ensure that every student has a fun, worthwile and enriching experience. The course is definitely appropriate for absolutely any level of cooking ability, and everyone on my course had an absolutely amazing time!

Gerry B - Four Week Course

Having spent 21 years in the military and due to retire at my 22 year point I have now acquired a wealth of new culinary skills. The enthusiasm and encouragement the Gables has given me is unquestionable.  I now know that my new career path will without question be within the catering industry.

Sally H - Thai Cookery

Dear Chris

I just wanted to say a huge thank you once again to Fran, Kate & yourself for such a fantastic day last Sunday - we enjoyed every minute from start to finish, the group was so friendly and everything was very professional and well structured, but so relaxed - it really was the most wonderful experience, which we would undoubtedly repeat with yourselves at some point in the future, but maybe a longer course, or on a different theme. We will be recommending you very highly to our entourage and are looking forward to trying out the delicious recipes on ourselves and our friends!

Kind regards

Sally & Keith

Sally M - Comments

I was a student at the gables nearly two years ago. The Gables gave me the confidence and ability to work as a freelance cook. I now feel quite confident to walk into anybody's kitchen and prepare their dinner party and more importanly get paid for it!

Since leaving the Gables, I cook on a regular basis for a local family and am now starting to branch out into larger functions, numbers upto 250, before I had gone to the Gables if anybody had asked me to cook for more than 10 people I would have fallen over! I have also started a small speciality soup company that sells at local farmers markets, but my major achievement as an avid sailor, I now clock up my nautical miles employed as the cook.

I would without hestitation recommend the Gables for anyone who is either looking to improve their cooking skills at home or to somebody who is looking for a career change.

Comments received from students at end of Four Week Course

Anna K - Yacht four week course

The Gables 1-month residential cookery course has provided me with a solid foundation of basic to very advanced cooking skills that has boosted my confidence and abilities. I came to the course with a few years of yacht cooking experience but now I can provide more upscale cuisine and presentation. Not only did I learn quite a bit, but I had a great time in the process. The teachers and staff are very warm, friendly and hospitable. I recommend this course to anyone who wants to improve their skills and learn new ones, whether pursuing a career in yachting, chalets, private chefing or solely taking the course for their personal growth.

Anna K - Yacht Chef/Cook

Sarah J - Yacht four week course, from Sydney, Australia

Thank you so much for the course, I learnt so much, but also had a brilliant time. It felt very strange not driving up to Bristol on Monday morning. I've cooked quite a few things from the folder, I did a canapes and wine night last Saturday for some friends which went down very very, well, think the walnut bread impressed them the most - "But I bet you didn't make the bread, it's so light". Have been invited to a friends for dinner on Sunday so have offered to bring pudding. Am thinking about a big pavlova if I can get some passionfruit.

I've also been talking to a couple of friends in the sailing industry, apparently there's quite a shortage of chefs who can sail to work on the classic race boats. One owner my friend talked to took 6 months to find a chef!!! So it's looking good for me.

I really enjoyed the way it wasn't a specific "yacht" course but covered so much more, it gives me more confidence to know I can make things the proper way from scratch, even though on a boat you might take a shortcut or two. It's also got me thinking about other things I could do away from the water too. I even like the thought of a ski season just for something completely different!

Sarah Jane T

Yacht Chef

Comments received from students at end of Four Week Course

Clemmie U - Four week course

Dear Fran,

Just thought that I would write a note to thank you for giving us all such a great month. It really was so much fun and I learnt so many new things. I hope that your next course gets as much out of the Gables as we all did. The dinner parties on the last two nights were so much fun - a really great way to finish off.

If it is OK with you I will be in touch to ask anything about starting a catering business as I know that you would give great advice. Once again Fran, thanks you so much.

Love Clemmie x x

Zena N - Four week course

Dear Fran & Chris,

I just wanted to give you some feedback from the course and say thank you for everything, I have been cooking everyday since i got back! so far everyone's favourite was the chicken boursin, my recipe book is now my bible, my confidence has got a lot better now I'm here doing it on my own too, but really i just wanted to say what a great experience it was.

I think the team you have is just perfect, Fran & Chris you made us feel very welcome and at home and thank you Chris for driving us around, very much appreciated. Also thanks to Chris for the correspondence before the course.

Fran I am just so grateful that you've given me the confidence to do any of the food in the book, and know I'm good, (just might need to practise some of it on friends first) you weren't only an amazing teacher and teaching us to improvise when we cant always get what we need and different ways of doing things, but you also were very careing towards us, making sure we were ok in the evenings talking to us individually, it was nice to feel that there was always someone there to talk to so thank you for that,Sam & Katherine were also great, I think the knowledge Katherine has is amazing and anything we asked that she didn't know she found out and came back to us with the answer, Sam being there too is great she just was there helping us with everything

Well I've got a bit of exciting news, me and Scott are going to Paris for an interview to run a 60ft yacht that is travelling around the world and its a private yacht so I'll mostly be cooking just for the owner and his wife, occasionally his friends, (if we get the job), we had a video interview with him the other day and it went really well, he's told us to take our stuff to Paris with us so that must be a good thing hopefully.

Please thank Katherine, Sam, Matt & Richard for me too

I know we probably weren't the easiest group you've had so thank you all for your time effort and patience, i will definitely be recommending your course.

Take Care


Sally P (Retired Lieutenant Colonel) - Four week course

As you are aware, from my CTW, for my resettlement training I had booked a 4 week intensive cookery course at The Gables School of Cookery in South Gloucestershire.  I was thinking of opening a small café/tea shop after I leave the Army and so I very much wanted to do something "catering orientated" for my resettlement course to see whether or not I enjoyed it and therefore whether it was potentially viable.

I cannot tell you how much I not only enjoyed the course but how much I benefited from it.  Fran Winston is the chief instructor and her husband Chris does all of the course admin.  They have run their own restaurant business in the past.  They employ a lady to assist with the instruction who has also run her own restaurant.  Their main business partner visited the course on a few occasions and has run a number of successful businesses over the years.

The instruction was excellent but I would have expected that.  What I didn’t expect was the level of enthusiasm and support I received from Fran in particular, but from all 4 of them in relation to my future plans.  As soon as they knew that I was hoping to open up my own business, they geared aspects of the course around my requirements - costing, menu planning, portion control etc.  When I have left the Army and am in a position to start looking for suitable premises they have offered to come with me to advise as to the suitability and what would be involved in converting a building if it was not already fitted out as a café. They have also offered to help me plan the menus (including pricing) and to help me put my business plan together in due course. 

They were also hugely supportive of the military.  In sum, I thoroughly enjoyed my resettlement training and found it a very positive experience.  I would commend The Gables to any other Service Leavers you know who may be interested in doing something similar - whether it is because they are thinking about the catering trade or even if they just want to enjoy themselves and learn to be a better cook. 

They have an excellent, easy to navigate website on www.thegablesschoolofcookery.co.uk.

Unlike some of the other 4 week courses I looked up, The Gables will train people of any standard, including beginners, without detracting from the level of instruction given. I highly recommend them.

Mike & Lynda J - Four week course

I thoroughly enjoyed the course and achieved everything that I hoped I would and more.  Your relaxed style both encourages and enthuses amateur cooks such as myself, I need not have worried beforehand about being out of my depth - you made everything look so easy and, more importantly, achievable.  It is now my "party piece" that I can disembowel a squid!  Of course we all learnt more than cookery, we learnt so much from all the discussions as well (with and without the wine!). 
I ordered some herb plants for your garden as a little thank you and to replenish your depleted stocks after the dinner parties - apparently they will arrive in the next two weeks, from a firm called "Inden Croft Herbs" - sorry not sooner, I had hoped that they would be with you already.  Hopefully you will all enjoy watching them grow whilst chilling out on the patio.
I will let you know when we are safely in the Edenhall Country Hotel and hopefully you can visit us whenever you can fit in a few days away from the School, it would be lovely to see you again and repay some of your warm hospitality. 
Thank you again for all your help.

Clare - Four week course

Dear Fran and Chris

It was good of you to call the other day and great to know your support is there.

I just wanted to give you some (more) positive feedback on the cookery course. I have been receiving French clients here for a full 4 days now. One family (a couple and four children under 9) has been here for that whole time and have complimented me several times on the food. The other night they asked if I'd trained (!?) in France and when I explained, seemed to find it quite incongruous that an English person who learned to cook in England could produce such enjoyable food.

They told me (several times also) that the meals they had received in the place they had stayed on their way here, and where a professionally trained chef was employed, were inferior to those they have received in my gite. You have no idea how good that made me feel as I was a little nervous about cooking for the French. The husband grew up in hotels as his parents own a rather sizeable one, so his opinion is particularly valued and encouraging.

You should know that, apart from a couple of entrée salads, everything I have cooked has come out of the course manual. In case you're interested, I have so far made: chicken a la Provencale, creamy fish pie, boeuf bourgignon, chicken tagine (two chicken dishes in 4 days!!), roasted red pepper and tomato soup, panacotta and berries, white chocolate ice cream and amarettis (they loved the amarettis), tarte au citron (they couldn't believe I'd learned that in England) and gooey chocolate puddings (not a crumb left over).

A couple who stayed for one night last night also made a point of thanking me for their experience here and the food! So I think you can be proud of the skills - and recipes - your course has provided me with, and the confidence to even consider charging people money for my cooking.

Anna arrived today (and in fact made the roasted red pepper soup and the gooey chocolate puddings). She's staying for about three weeks which will cover the French summer holidays, and together we are going to do our bit to change the opinion of the French towards English cooking. Its great to have her here to share the load and the responsibility, knowing we both have the same approach to cooking. The poor girl was put to work as soon as she walked in the door, and didn't finish until a little before 11pm!

I will definitely be looking for a couple of people to work here during the winter season (early December until mid April). I hope to be doing a lunchtime restaurant trade then which has the potential to be quite busy. If you know of anyone suitable - a couple or two singles, and potentially interested, I'd be grateful if you'd pass on my email address and the website address for the gite: www.chalet-lourider.com I think one of them should have some experience in restaurant cooking if possible, to be the principal cook, working full time in the kitchen, and the second person would assist in the kitchen as well as doing some more general duties (chamber-maiding and serving meals mainly).

Probably when you see the place, you will have a better idea of its potential and the skill level that would be required. I shall be very happy to welcome you at any time to come and visit and give your opinion on that and any other food or non-food related aspect of running a gite.

Now that I've been here 3 weeks, I'm realising the extent of the work I need to do on the place, in the kitchen and bedrooms particularly. I have already ordered a new cooker which will make the biggest difference, and have some ideas for improving the space in the kitchen, which is actually quite large but currently impractical to work in.

Its great to have Anna's input too, as she has more experience of kitchen work than I have currently.

I still find it a bit hard to believe I'm doing this. The Gables cookery course is the only formal preparation I undertook when embarking on this new direction in my life. It's proving to have been a sound decision and a very worthwhile investment.

Kind regards


Alice W - Four week course

Dear Fran

I am sorry I have been so remiss in keeping in touch. I hope you are well and the cooking school is thriving. Life has moved quickly for us. After a great few months in the Bahamas - all the skills I learnt with you set me in great stead - we are now in Greece. Although the plan had been to stay in the Bahamas for a year we realised that during the summer months (and hurricane season) the booking dropped off completely. This coincided with us being contacted by a small company operating luxury crewed charters in the Ionian. After a bit of soul searching we decided to go for it and haven't looked back. Cooking for Brits has been a lot more fun and laid back - although we are missing the tips! As Autumn draws in James and I have been wracking our brains as to what we will do next. At the moment we are exploring the idea of buying a boat and trying to set up the business ourselves. It is all very exciting although obviously we have a long way to go and a lot of number crunching to do.

What I really wanted to do was thank you again for giving me the confidence to do this. A lot of people have asked me where I learnt to cook so well and I always tell them!

Love Alice

Pat G - Easy Dinner Party.

A big thank you for helping my Xmas present to my husband go down so well.

My husband was there last weekend and has talked about nothing else since then and what a fantastic time he had and how helpful it all was, so thank you again.

Should you ever do a fish course he would be very interested.


Pat G

Junior F - Four week course

Thank you for providing such an insightful knowledgeable cookery course. The 500 page recipe portfolio really is literally a cooking bible! And the substantial Gables school of cookery book library provided me with an abundance of both information and inspiration.

Over the past four weeks I have literally prepared and eaten the most delicious meals of my life, I especially enjoyed the puddings! I have learned so much about myself realising my ability to cook great food, thanks to the teaching and the practicality of the course. I have certainly developed more self confidence to continue to learn about the culinary arts.

The course would not have been the same without Chris, Dino, Jane and Richard all of who provided endless support and attention throughout the course which made my four week stay at the Gables that much more special.

Once again thank you all, I wish you all the best for the future and for The Gables School of Cookery.


Charlotte V's Slideshow (click the image below to view the slides)


Bridget F - Four week course

Dear Fran, Chris and Richard,

How are you all? It has been such a long time so thought I must drop a line to you all. We have had quite a busy time here on the farm in Sussex, since the course we have renovated one cottage which we have now moved into (hence back online) whilst the major work is done on the farmhouse. As I write this walls are being demolished to make room for the kitchen and the essential aga!!

Now that life is beginning to calm down a little I am just itching to do some more cooking. I gained so much from the course and it really reinforced to me that I want to cook and it is what I should be doing. I had such a fantastic time and working with such wonderful characters was itself a great learning curve. I can only see that working in such a team will be beneficial for when, hopefully, I will be managing and working alongside others I only hope I have half the patience that Fran does! If I had to sum up my 4 weeks in one word it would be ‘inspirational’.

I have started to look on some agency websites and there are a few jobs which have caught my eye, as much as would have loved to I am not going to do a season as it is just too long to go away for when there is so much happening here, but I would go and do a week here and there and certainly some dinner parties. I was hoping that I would be able to call upon you for a reference please (as long as it is a good one!!!!! And I don’t drink that much gin, only when encouraged by you Fran) and if you should here of anything going on the grapevine that you think may suit then please let me know.

Love to everyone at The Gables

Lots of Love



Georgie T - Four week course:

Dear Fran, Chris, Richard, Jane and Katherine

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for making my time at the Gables so special! When I signed up for the course I never expected to have such a wonderful time. I didn’t even realise how hard we were all working. It’s only dawned on me now that last month I couldn’t make an omelette (in fact I couldn’t even crack open an egg!) and last week I helped make a three course dinner for 14 (if you include the teddy).

The demonstrations were really helpful and it was great that there was always someone around to help if you set fire to anything. Going out to the shops was fascinating as I had never put that much thought into where cooks get their food from and I saw some food I’d never even heard of. I really enjoyed cooking dinners in teams in the last week as you were cooking completely independently and the rivalry encourages you to produce the best meal you can.

I’ve never worked anywhere that gives so much freedom, respect and support to young people. It was really great to have so much help deciding what to do after the course and then getting it sorted and I’m very grateful for all the extra time everyone put in.

Outside the kitchen was amazing too. Going to the gym and pool was a great way to get to know everyone and work off all the extra food we were eating. Plus being able to go shopping, bowling and ice skating at Cribb’s Causeway was great but I think the best time was going to the Lizard Lounge in Bristol (mainly getting ready). It was surreal seeing Fran standing in the corridor while we showed off what we were wearing saying "Go out, have fun, you’re only young once!". A big thank by the way you to Jane for getting us set up with VIP entry tickets , that was so cool!!!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year.

Lots of Love


Nov 2006 Four Week Course


Johnny P - Four week course.

Dear Fran,

Hope you are well and had a fantastic summer. I didn't have any  time to go away this year as I have been working very hard since I last e- mailed you.

As you know I started working at  La T... which was good and I learnt a lot although I didn't get on to well with the other people working there which was a problem, so I left. I applied to a lot of other restaurants and hotels for a new job but was getting nowhere and I was feeling extremely frustrated.

Then one day I phoned up Nobu on Park Lane and spoke  to the head chef who after interviewing me offered me a two year apprentership, what a stroke of luck! Im about to start my fourth week at Nobu and i am loving it, its hard work and its been difficult getting use to all the Japanese terms but im getting there. Its a much better environment to work in than at La T..., the people are great and as its such a big restaurant (we can do nearly five hundred covers in a night) there's a lot going on and I can move around through all the sections during my two years and learn an awful lot.  At the moment i am working on the Osusume section which means 'special' in Japanese, Im making things like Steamed Salmon, Lobster, Wagyu Rump Miso Zuke, Chilean Sea Bass and Braised Duck Kame Nabe.

I hope the cookery school is doing well and that the family, Richard and Catherine are well, do send them my love.

Take Care

Johnny P


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