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  • Writer's pictureJenny

What actually is a cooking retreat?

Updated: Mar 13, 2021

What is a cooking ‘retreat’ vs a cooking ‘class’ or cooking ‘school’?

We can learn a bunch of very reliable and impressive recipes these days by picking up one of millions of cookbooks, or googling any meal we fancy. Most likely we can order the ingredients in too! But most of us don’t cook anywhere near as much as our parents' generation. Why? Perhaps it is because we have calculated, either intuitively or precisely, that pre-made processed food from the supermarket or cafe is so much cheaper than us devoting an hour of our time + buying in the raw ingredients. We are just all so busy. But have we overlooked the true value of cooking?

I know; our minds are full, our lives are full. Even taking a day off to ‘relax’ is a full day of mind-led activities. Pilates, dog for a walk, coffee with a friend, kids to a play-date, cinema, 20 minutes of reading before bed. We live in our heads, and we rarely get to live from the quiet and wise place in our hearts.

At a cooking retreat you will not be given an exam, and your creations will not be judged and given a pass or fail (at least not by us and we hope not by you either!) We provide the recipes, and all we ask is that you show up with a willingness to see what you can find out. Each day we cook together and eat together, and there will be some free time, and periods of meditation. We are diving into a world of being merely, mysteriously present to our experience, and keeping a warm spot in our hearts - we may create a new masterpiece or we may burn the onions, either way we are developing wisdom and other wholesome qualities such as generosity, acceptance, patience, humour and equanimity as we cook.

The Zen master Suzuki Roshi used to encourage his students to ‘settle one’s self on one’s self’. I believe this to mean resting one’s mind in one’s heart. Just drinking in your real being, and being refreshed in that. It’s so wonderful!

We hope that a few days on our cooking retreat will open the door to your own warm heart, and we can be sure at the very least that you will enjoy some delicious food in good company.

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