Willow Vale Cooking School

Bruno Loubet is culinary royalty, having spent over four decades heading up kitchens in London, France and Australia.

Today, he and wife Catherine run Willow Vale Cooking School out of their home farm in the Gold Coast Hinterland.

The cooking school is all about sustainability and fresh, seasonal ingredients picked straight from the farm’s garden.

Bruno’s passion for growing his own produce stems from a young age working in the garden alongside his father. He now uses a well-known technique in permaculture called “Hugelkultur”. It’s about making the most of natural elements using minimal water and zero chemicals.

Once the ingredients are gathered, it’s time to head to the kitchen, and you’re in good hands.

Bruno’s cooked for royalty worked with world-renowned chefs, published three cookbooks… oh and then there’s his Michelin Star.

From that to cooking for quiet groups of six to eight, Bruno welcomes the sea change.

“I think you cook better when you cook with love, when you cook for your family, for your friends; and yeah, the school is like cooking for friends,” he said. “It’s like being at home.”

Each workshop is different, as are the groups.

“Some classes, everybody wants to get involved, other classes people just want to sit and watch,” said Bruno’s wife Catherine. “It all depends and you have to suss out what people want.”

Workshops options include:

  • French icons
  • Scrumptious truffles
  • My mother’s special recipes
  • A day in Provence
  • French pastry
  • French bread-making
  • Mastering the flame
  • The ultimate picnic basket
  • Fresh pasta
  • Festive entertaining
  • Flexitarian

A special mention goes to the flexitarian workshop, which according to Catherine, is one of the most popular options.

This workshop is ideal for those who are curious about a plant-based lifestyle but aren’t sure where to start, or those already on a plant-based diet who want to extend their vegan experience.

From starting out in the gardens to cooking a meal in the kitchen, Bruno’s workshops are about more than just teaching people how to cook.

“It’s really important to teach people about sustainability, about doing things properly and looking after the land,” he said. “You could do things in a natural way and still have a good yield. Because the argument is always: we wouldn’t be able to produce enough food. I mean — look at my garden! I have too much food!”