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 An All-Inclusive 5-Night Experience, and deep dive into Recipe-Free Cooking. 



Noun. A surprising and previously unknown fact, especially one that is made known in a dramatic way.


Cooking is a revelationary act.


For years, we’ve been sold a lie.

That recipes are how everyone cooks.
That there was just one path that leads to culinary success.
That you must trust a book more than yourself.

And the Courageous Cooking School is done with it.


 Here, we believe know that: 


You are trustworthy.
Our kitchen is your kitchen. 


Your intuition is better than any book. You know what you’re doing - even if you don’t realize it just yet.


You CAN cook. IN FACT, if you enjoy eating, you’re naturally inclined to be great at cooking. 

Maybe not baking... But cooking? Heck yeah.


What is the Courageous Cooking School? 

It’s an experience. It’s education. It’s community.

The Courageous Cooking™ School and Retreat is a recipe-free (mostly), immersive culinary experience.

Our Chefs and our Culinary Director have tested and crafted what we believe to be the most beautiful way to teach cooks of all stripes how to create, explore, and play with food. 

The goal of the Courageous Cooking School? To teach anyone, and yes we mean ANYONE, to cook from the hip and develop the skills that will make cooking pleasurable for years to come.

We cook from intuition and joy rather than breaking under the pressure of following a recipe as the written gospel of the church of culinary arts. We’re quitting that church, and we want you to as well.


The Experience

Imagine spending 5 nights, 6 days in a world away and outside of your own. You pack your bags, hop a plane, get to our space, and once you arrive? Your every need is taken care of. You’ll meet wonderful new friends, and immerse yourself into the world of recipe-free cooking.

We’ll show you how to take your palette and what you love to eat,  and combine that with our expert chefs and educators to whip up glorious dishes you didn’t even know you had locked inside you. Then, you’ll sit down to eat a meal in community, with friends new and old. Relaxing with a glass of wine or iced tea.  

And you don’t even have to do the dishes! (Unless you want to. If that is what relaxation feels like, we won’t stop you, but we will encourage you NOT to.)


The Education

Guided by an amazing chef and culinary team, you’ll be taught HOW to cook in a whole new way. Gone are the days where a photoshopped, food styled beef bourguignon is the goal. Now, we create without the option of failure.

As someone who enjoys eating, you have what it takes to be an excellent cook, we’re going to show you how. 

What happens when you learn to cook without recipes? You learn to trust your instincts. You learn that technique is more important than perfection. You learn that if you’re having fun, it’s likely going to be good - much like life.


The Community

You bring your own community (and take over our home), or you’ll join ours.  Every week, strangers mingle our grounds, and become fast friends.

No matter what, you’ll build connections and amity among your peers that week.  You’ll cook together, laugh, move, and play. 

We promise you, your views and connections to these people will change.  


Pull up a seat to our table

The Courageous Cooking School has two flagship campuses:



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Your Courageous Cooking School Experience includes:


Daily courageous cooking classes

Except on arrival and departure day.


Shared accommodations

If you’d like your own room, we have a single supplement option.


Daily relaxation and movement classes

To undo the ravages of travel and long hours of cooking. Happen in the garden, by the pool, in our Lotus Belle tent, or in the living room.


All meals. Three meals a day

Continental breakfast, and sit down multi-course meals for lunch and dinner. Some cooked by you, and some out and about in restaurants we love.


All the beverages you can consume

Water, sparkling water, tea, coffee, and wine from the region.


Life changing perspective shifts

Guaranteed by our alumni community.


Our goal? That you can keep your wallet in your pocket for the entire week, except for souvenirs. From the moment you arrive (literally the moment), you'll have a glass of cold wine or tea in hand and food in your belly. And laughter to be had in droves.

Please note...

We will not be cooking from Julia Child’s cookbooks, or learning to cook like her - not at all

We want you to cook LIKE YOU. Using new found techniques, gorgeous knife skills, and delicious flavor combining. 

The only way we try to embody her spirit? We encourage a willingness to just give it a good ole’ fashioned try in the kitchen AND a freewheeling love of really good cooking technique. 

Want to rent La Pitchoune and cook from Mastering the Art of French Cooking? You can do that by clicking here.


Samantha Halpern, Food Relationship Coach and Founder of Fudge Vein

Natalie Arianne Baack, Intuitive Insights Consulting & Founder of Permission to Be.


“What began as my mother’s 80th birthday wish, to go to the cooking school in Julia Child’s provincial home, became a more meaningful and immersive way to travel, full of experiences and flavors rather than checklists and destinations. We started in Provence, then joined in for the Italian excursion, and are already signed up for Mexico! I love the deep dive into the nuances of cooking in each country, while becoming more bold and creative in the kitchen, and making new friendships along the way. This is the back door into the back door... I’ve never felt so connected to the local culture and their passion for their cuisine.”

Anna Barab and LouAnn Dickson


"What can we say about cooking school at La Peetch? Magnifique! It turned out to be even better than we expected/hoped. The staff were just fantastic; it was pretty much perfect from Sunday through Friday. We learned a lot (we’ve been making a lot more Julia-style omelets of late) and we ate a lot. Most of all, we drank a lot of wine! It was all perfect.

The accommodations were great. Nope. Not a 4-star hotel. But comfy enough!  Anyone reading this needs coaxing to make a reservation at La Peetch for the coming years, do not hesitate. For us, at least, it was an unadulterated success. Thanks!"  

Patricia and Tom Starner


 Meet Our Menagerie 



Host, Co-Owner of La Pitchoune

Makenna and Julia share a number of things in common:  They are both incredibly tall, deeply passionate about French cooking, have a 'what the hell' attitude in the kitchen, and call Smith College their alma mater. 

At age 4, Makenna began a border-line obsession with escargot and mussels cooked in butter, parsley, wine, and garlic. Influenced by the lilting voice of The French Chef, she deepened her passion for cooking. But France was Makenna's favorite because of manatees first, as she believed she must learn French to work with Jacques Cousteau. As luck would have it, her rapid-fire Kindergartner grammar French hasn't gone to waste despite no longer dreaming of manatee work - except in her sleep, sometimes.

As an exchange student, she fell in love with French cuisine all over again through the eyes of her host mother, who diligently taught her everything she could. Fast forward to college, she skipped the dining hall, bought a food share, and begun to learn to cook without recipes - before YouTube and a thousand databases for recipes were the norm.  

A natural disrupter and never one to turn away from an entrepreneurial venture, she bought La Peetch sight unseen, and moved her entire life to Provence – never having even visited the South of France. Her previous experience in France?  Paris, Paris, Paris, Paris, and...Paris. About a dozen times.

If she's not galavanting the terraced gardens of La Pitchoune, you'll find her traipsing about the world with Vera, her Green Apple 1978 VW Bus, or swooshing at inhuman speeds down the slopes of the Rockies. When she's not teaching unsuspecting cooks new levels of courageousness around the globe, she writes for and manages Okay Perfect, a food and travel blog focused on exquisite and impartial journalism. She’s also the CEO of ALo Records, a record label giving the middle finger to the traditional music industry, and is the founder and director of Your Leadership Recipe, a coaching consultancy that works with corporate teams & leaders, non-profit leadership, and entrepreneurs to fully embody the notion that leadership is neither hierarchical nor linear but should be radically intersectional and inclusive.

She's a graduate of NYU's Global Affairs program, studied Philosophy at Smith College, mastered whipping up mousse's, sauces, and the like at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, and now studies the gendering of food at the European Graduate School’s Critical Studies program.  

Her current food loves? A good chimichuri, foie gras, Provençal wine (pink water/rosé is her favorite), and a baked Mont D'Or cheese. (Ask her tomorrow, and she'll have a different answer). Also? Taco Bell - hey, nobody's perfect!



Cat Herder, Tender of the Dirt, and Small Talk Expert

Chris is an accidental foodie. He has wandered through his life reveling, often unknowingly, in the growing, making, and enjoyment around food. When he isn't running about to get you fresh pastries and tending to the herb garden at the La Pitchoune, he's a writer of words (education, history, music, and food are his favorite topics) and player/songwriter of music.

Prior to his globe trotting life with his wife, Makenna, he was a rock and roll librarian and curriculum development expert. (He still does both as a consultant on occasion). He is also a professional pursuer of curiosities, which makes him an excellent listener and conversationalist (at least in his own mind). If you need further proof that he’s a likable chap, our resident feline has taken a strong liking to him and, as we all know, cats never lie. 



Head Chef of the Courageous Cooking School, General Expert of the La Pitchoune Kitchen

She’s been called a pirate by many, and delightful by all. Scottish by birth, French chef by choice. Dominie is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in England, where she mastered pretty much all the art of French cooking except for doing it in large quantities and for groups. Enter: A career as a wandering yacht chef for some of the most important award-winning yachts. After 17 years in the South of France, she’s an exquisite French Chef with some skills in South American and Mexican cuisine as well.

She and Makenna disagree on the perfect vinaigrette, but luckily? She rules the roost in the kitchen so her version reigns supreme (Psssst…she adds honey). 


Your questions, answered


Do I have to already know how to cook really well and without recipes?

ABSOLUTELY NOT! We’ve worked with people from all abilities. Literally from people who have never even boiled an egg, all the way up to students who are cookbook testers and recipe creators professionally.

No matter your current skillset, you’ll learn something that will blow your mind. A technique, a historical tidbit, a new dish. THAT we can promise. And we’ll give you some homework so you can prep, and be the teacher’s pet from day one. ;)

Will we be visiting the perfumeries of Grasse? Museums? Etc etc?

The short answer is no. We are not a sight-seeing focused tour group. In fact, we’re not a tour company. We are a curriculum-centered cooking school. Yes, we leave campus everyday. But we’re not going to be gallivanting from place to place. This is immersive, slow travel done remarkably differently.

Will there be down time for me to sight-see?

Not really. You might have one afternoon to go off on your own, but most of our students relax on campus that day. If you want to sight-see, we encourage you to come before or stay after to do so.

Do you have amenities on campus? Shampoo? Soap? Conditioner? Hair dryers?

Yes! We have everything on campus you need. We ask that you limit your use of the washer and dryer and combine loads of laundry with friends if you don’t have a full one. It’s a historic house and we need to be gentle with water consumption.

Can you send me a rough schedule?

Nope! We can’t. Our philosophy is ‘Be. Here. Now’.

I know that’s weird for those who are used to tour groups, but we aren’t rigid in terms of schedule around here. We live in France, a country that loves to live in the mindset of ‘it depends’.

Since we’re seasonal, we also change things from time to time. We’re not here to create the perfect vacation, we’re here to facilitate a deep dive into the local cuisine. And to teach you about the local cooking techniques, produce, etc. And that changes from season to season.

We can tell you we always visit markets, always visit local food producers/purveyors, always go to at least two restaurants that are extraordinary and always cook A LOT.


Reserve your spot today


"I think of my experience at La Pitchoune all the time, so many wonderful memories!  I loved my time at La Pitchoune, the opportunity to cook in that kitchen and peruse some of their memorabilia that has been collected over the years was marvelous.    I enjoyed the total cooking experience even without recipes!  Dominie, our chef, was a treasure.  We all enjoyed the delicious food we prepared and the French wines with every meal.  It was a photographers dream being able to take pictures of the presentation of ingredients in the kitchen every morning before class, the cooking techniques and of the final presentation of the meals we created.  A good time was had by all!   Bonus?  I received input in my cookbook“Ooh la la! French Inspirations for Entertaining & Travel” and it should be on the market by December 1st, 2018!

Everyone does a wonderful job making all who attend your Courageous Cooking School a holiday to remember!"

Karen Allen, Photographer and Writer


"My favorite part about the Courageous Cooking School?  Interacting with the hosts, the instructor, and the other students in such a beautiful location.  Then there was the day trip to the market in Antibes!  Getting to shop and cook everything we bought the same day was an amazing experience.  I was delighted and surprised by just how delicious the food was (and the never-ending pink water!  Aka Rosé!) If you're someone who loves food and wine and wants a taste of Provençal life?  You should come.  Also? You've never eaten good melons unless you've tried the melons in Provence."

Karlo Atienza


"The Courageous Cooking school was a fantastic experience, start to finish. Dominie and her team were such fun and provided a very intentional and well-thought out program.  The instruction was both fun and informative, neither too serious nor not serious enough, so to speak.  I feel like I left with more confidence as a cook, not just more recipes to add to my repertoire.  We were very well fed with excellent wines and delicious meals, 3 meals a day!  

The accommodations were simple, as I had expected in Julia's decades old house in the countryside, and very clean and comfortable.  The magic of staying there was so special….you did not feel like a tourist but got a taste of being a local, and I loved that.  You can stay in a hotel anywhere.  The charm of staying in Julia’s home just enhanced an already wonderful experience.  My husband is not even a cook, and he participated in every minute and left with a much increased appreciation of the whole process.  If you love to cook and enjoy France, this is a no-brainer.  Highly recommend!"  

Barby White