2000s Archive

Cooking Schools: Two Bordelais

A luxury program in Bordeaux, France. See Gourmet’s full list of the world’s best cooking schools.
Two Bordelais

The good life: Cooking class in Bordeaux revolves around stellar ingredients, local wine, and, if you’re lucky, dinner at the family château.

What if the people I always thought were my parents only raised me on behalf of my true father, Paul McCartney, or what if Johnny Depp is harboring an unspoken love for me? Never mind. I’ve happened onto the next best thing: A livable fantasy with bragging rights that will make your dearest friends deliciously envious. It happens in Bordeaux with a cooking program called Two Bordelais, hosted by the two Bordelais themselves, Denise and Jean-Pierre Moullé, quite the formidable duo. He’s been a head chef at Chez Panisse for more than 20 years; she knows everything about wine, a knowledge no doubt picked up at one of her family’s world-renowned châteaux. Each morning, we (Jean-Pierre, myself, and five other lucky stiffs) would go off to market, picking up whatever we fancied: foie gras, lamb, duck, mushrooms. Then we’d scurry back to the Moullés’ home—they live in a gorgeous renovated 17th-century barn—to prepare the evening meal. (Guests are housed at La Forge, a 200-year-old stone house in the village of Entre-deux-Mers.) In the afternoons, Denise would give us tours of the area’s vineyards. One evening, we dined at Denise’s father’s luxe château. Aside from the dizzying array of cutlery, we were treated to wines that were out of reach of mere mortals. Often we dined in the homes of locals—professionals, artists, other foodies—sharing their food and wallowing in la vie bordelaise. I’m still pinching myself. (510-848-8741; twobordelais.com; $3,500 for six days, double occupancy, meals and wine included. Two Bordelais also runs programs in Normandy, the Basque Country, and South Africa.)

What I Learned

The thicker the rind on a cheese, the less likely it is to be eaten.

Biggest Surprise

That you can talk knowledgeably about wine without a hint of snobbery.

Before You Go

You don’t have to do a thing except book your flight (which is not included) and practice your French.


Sea Bass with Marinated Vegetables

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