Chef Skye Gyngell has for many years drawn gastronomes to her exquisite cooking and her ability to make the simplest ingredients sing. Now budding cooks can learn under her watch in the idyllic surroundings of luxury villa Rocca delle Tre Contrade in Sicily. The chef of London’s Spring restaurant and Petersham Nurseries fame is leading two week-long courses from March 25-April 1 and April 22-April 29, with prices from €4,150 per person including seven cookery sessions and all meals.
Guests will learn to cook with local ingredients, such as foraged wild greens and artichokes. It will be the season for lamb and seafood is abundant all year round. In addition to classes, participants will also visit markets, take a vineyard tour with wine tasting on Mount Etna and sample street food in Catania’s historic centre.
“I’m so excited about this culinary adventure at Rocca delle Tre Contrade,” says Gyngell. “The house is truly one of the most beautiful I’ve stayed at, nestled in an incredibly fertile landscape with Etna looming in the background. The grounds are full of lemon groves and herbs, and the local fish and vegetable markets are wonderful – it’s a really inspiring and exciting place to cook.
Classes will be informal and hands-on, with a focus on Italian classics – pasta, gelato, cannoli – and cooking meat and seafood over an open fire. “Skye will share her ideas and recipes with us,” says Jon Moslet, co-owner of the villa, “and we will get our own house cook to part with her recipe for Sicilian arancini [rice balls].”
No advanced cookery skills are required for the course, which is intended to be a social as well as culinary experience. Guests will be able to enjoy downtime on the former aristocratic estate, reclining by the 25m pool, walking in the grounds or playing tennis.
“I hope people will come away with a love of simple, honest cooking and a few techniques under their belt,” says Gyngell.