Back to school

It makes a pleasant change to be attending class rather than teaching and this week I had the change to experience the new cooking school ‘Côté Cours’  at le Saint James in Bouilac.

The Saint James hotel and restaurant is an iconic Bordeaux establishment on the slopes of the Cotes de Bordeaux overlooking the Garonne across to the city from the right bank. Created by jean-Marie Amat the Michelin star restaurant with its floor to ceiling windows has one of the best views of the city. The chef Michel Portos brought it back up to it’s original excellent level before leaving to return to his native Marseille this summer. The kitchen has now been taken over by Nicolas Magie previously from the Michelin starred le Cap just down the road at Cenon.

Ready for class

The Cooking school opened in July and Chef Nicolas Nguyen Van Hai offers classes from a one-hour lunchtime class, to early evening aperitif or half day classes including a visit to the local market. ?The contemporary style school was previously the bistro restaurant and it is perfect place for it, in a glass veranda along the hotel courtyard. White work surfaces and a table for tasting allow up to 12 students to prepare and taste recipes from the restaurant. Nicolas is happy explaining the seasonal dishes in English and in French that he encourages everyone to participate in creating.

Chef Nicolas Nguyen Van Hai adds the finishing touches

Classes start at €20 a head for one dish and coffee at lunch time but wine is available (of course). You could even try ‘Le Vin du Jardin’ made from the grapes grown in the garden of the hotel by André the gardener and vinified by Stéphane Derononcourt no less.

Le Vin du Jardin

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