Martine Bertin-Peterson has the best of both worlds. She organizes amazing culinary trips to France, focusing on food and wine, and she teaches how to make simple, Mediterranean-inspired dishes in her cooking classes here in Bucks County. In short, she eats well wherever she is.
I don’t know about you, but among my friends, we all did our stint in corporate America, working long hours and putting up with office politics. As unpredictable as self-employment income can be, none of us want to go back. But how to reinvent yourself?
Bertin-Peterson has done it – several times. She spent most of her life in corporate management and traveling the globe for her job. She and her husband then owned an art gallery in Santa Fe for eight years. When someone approached them to buy the gallery, they decided to come back to Bucks County.
Now Bertin-Peterson is semi-retired—I don’t think she’s the type to ever completely retire—doing the two things she loves most: cooking and teaching. She is an adjunct professor at the College of New Jersey teaching management and marketing.
And she teaches home cooks like you and I how to make fresh, simple and delicious meals that bring a little bit of France into our lives.
“I have been a foodie and cook all my life,” explains Bertin-Peterson. Even as she traveled extensively for work, she found the time to take cooking classes in France, Italy, and South America.
Friends started coming to her, asking for her help to plan trips to Europe. She organized a trip to France which included cooking classes in the chef’s own kitchen, visits to wineries and a lot of good meals, leading everyone around to her favorite spots in Provence.
“My friends kept saying, ‘You should do this for a business,’ and I finally realized I should do it! I love traveling, I love cooking and I love teaching.”
So began Goût et Voyage (pron. Gooteh Voyagh), a cooking and gourmet travel company, which specializes in small group hands-on cooking classes and escorted food and wine experiences to Provence. Bertin-Peterson keeps the focus on the food, wine and culture of the Mediterranean.
Your house or mine?
The cooking classes are small, relaxed and exclusively hands-on in order to build kitchen confidence. “If you have to actually make it, you’re more likely to make it again,” says Bertin-Peterson.
Everything I try to teach people is replicable and easy.
Many of the dishes can be prepared ahead of time to accommodate busy schedules, she adds.
The classes are held in Bertin-Peterson’s Doylestown kitchen or in clients’ homes. They always feature the preparation of a full-course meal focusing on four to six Mediterranean recipes.
“We end our classes with a seated, wine-paired repast created by the participants,” says Bertin-Peterson.
In keeping with Mediterranean cooking tradition, Goût et Voyage sources as many ingredients as possible from local farmers and purveyors. In fact, during the growing season, Bertin-Peterson takes her students to the market to pick out the ingredients for the day’s class. “If you buy good quality food you don’t have to do much with it.”
But Bertin-Peterson teaches more than cooking. She brings French culture to the table too.
I love the way the French do it.
There is a sacredness of the meal and spending time with family.
Food plays an integral part of socialization of kids and adults, she explains. “When my daughter was young, and I asked ‘how was school today?’ I got the typical response – ‘Fine.’ But it was while we prepared dinner together that I really got to hear about her day.”
And then there’s France…
Bertin-Peterson also offers escorted gourmet travel experiences to France. The trips include cooking and pastry classes, tastings at Rhone Valley wineries, market tours and visits to food artisans, tours of hillside villages and historic sites in the region.
“We keep our group size very small, which allows us access to experiences that larger groups and tour buses cannot do,” says Bertin-Peterson, “It’s for people who want to experience the authentic Provençal way of life.”
“For example, we always go to visit the Abbaye de Senanque, famous for the lavender field which leads up to the abbey. Because of the large number of tourists, you want to go as far away as possible to eat lunch afterwards,” explains Bertin-Peterson.
“We drove into a village that looked like a ghost town, all shut down between 12 – 3 pm. A woman on the street directed us around the corner to a real Mom-and-Pop place. In turned out to be one of the rare places in France where you can get an entrée salad.
“We sat on the terrace drinking wine, everyone trying out their French and eating wonderful, fresh food. The owners were charming, and so happy to see Americans had landed in their backyard (everyone else there was French). It’s the beauty of travel; you take a chance. Now we go back there all the time.”