Cooking in Venice – Gillian tells all about her first cookery holiday…


“The staff at NotInTheGuideBookswere extremely friendly and helpful. The course itself went beyond our expectations – the 2 cookery teachers were generous in imparting their knowledge of both the cuisine and Venice in general. The quality and quantity of the food and wine provided was exemplary.”

Ever wondered what it’s like to take a NotInTheGuideBookscookery course? Gillian Levy took our 3 day non-residential cookery course in Venice with a friend and was happy to tell us all about her first cookery holiday experience…

Did you come to the website initially looking for a cookery holiday?
My friend and I were looking initially for a residential cookery holiday with accommodation, but we just loved the look of this 3 day cookery course in Venice so decided to go for this in the end! Booking our own accommodation in Venice gave us the flexibility to organise the trip how we wanted, and it worked out perfectly.

How did you find the booking process with and did anyone in particular help you?
I’m not a big user of the internet and I find some websites quite frustrating to use. One of the things that attracted me to NotInTheGuideBookswas how easy the site was to navigate, and all the information I needed was available online. The team were so patient helping me book as we changed our dates a few times and I have been singing your praises since!

untitledHow did you get to your cookery classes from Venice?
We met at the same point each day to be transferred to the cookery school and then back, which was really easy and worked well.

What were your chefs like?
Monica and Arianna were great, so knowledgeable about the local area and the dishes we cooked. Monica’s english was fluent and Ariella is learning english although her knowledge of cooking and the techniques that she demonstrated despite her rather broken english  somehow added to the authenticity of the experience.Both chefs were extremely warm, hospitable and generous hosts  who had an indepth knowledge of the local cuisine.

Have you made any of the dishes back home?
We learnt to cook gnocchi which was quite complicated but delicious, and I am planning on making this with my daughter over Christmas and setting aside an afternoon to do it!

What was your favourite dish you learnt to cook?
We made a lovely guinea fowl sauce with tagliatteli which was quite unusual but delicious. Even simple things like a ragu sauce were interesting, as I’m left handed so usually chop the vegetables more roughly but we learnt to chop them really finely and the sauce was beautiful. One of the best things about the cookery classes was when we went to a large greengrocer to choose the fresh vegetables for the class and it was great to get a real insight into the local life

What surprised you about the cookery course?
After our lessons, knowing that we only had bed with no board at our hotel, Monica and Arianna insisted on giving us left over dishes, wine and bread from that day and even provided us with a home made pot of jam. We ended up eating our creations for breakfast most days which although was slightly unconvetional somehow only added to our memories  of our experiences from the previous day.

What would you tell people who were considering booking this holiday?
One of the best things about the holiday is that my friend and I were the only participants, which meant we had the undivided attention of the chefs and probably learnt a lot more than we would have done in a large group. It was really hands on which allowed us to get really involved, and 3 days was the perfect length for the course as it was so intensive.

Would you take another holiday with in the future?
Yes, I’d recommend NotInTheGuideBooksand have done already to my friends! I’ve also already planned to take my daughter on the 3 night/4 day weekend cookery course in Gascony over the summer once she’s finished her exams as a treat as she loves cooking as well, so I can’t wait for my next cookery holiday!