"Maynard and Benedict have certainly exceeded any expectations I may have had before coming to the course. Bravo! I will certainly encourage our friends & family to follow suit. Boys, remember me when you are rich and famous."

Emily Quah,
United Kingdom

Walnut Grove Recipes

Breast of chicken wrapped in Parma ham on a bed of mashed butternut squash

Serves 2

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/4 butternut squash
  • 2 slices Parma ham
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh pesto
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • seasoning to taste
  • olive oil for frying



1. Chop the butternut squash into even sized cubes and boil until soft with the fresh thyme.

2. Wrap each chicken breast with a slice of Parma ham, heat a small frying pan, add half the butter and a little oil and seal the chicken on both sides (fry quickly for about 30seconds to a minute on each side, which seals the meat to stop it drying out). Transfer to a hot oven to finish cooking.

3. While the chicken is cooking, drain the cooked squash and mash it with the Parmesan cheese, the remaining butter and seasoning to taste. 

4. To serve, put half the mashed squash on each plate, carefully place the cooked chicken on top, and drizzle generously with fresh pesto.

For the Pesto:

125g fresh basil

100ml olive oil

1 tbsp pine nuts

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

seasoning to taste

Simply add all the ingredients to a small food processor and blitz.

Serving Suggestions

This dish is a lovely winter warmer and extremely easy and quick to prepare. As a summer dish the addition of a crisp green salad would be an ideal accompaniment.

Advanced Preparation

The chicken breasts can be pre wrapped, the pesto can be made up to a day or so in advance and although the mash can be made in advance it really is better made to order.

Cooking courses and gourmet vacations available at 


Walnut Grove cookery courses - a dream vacation - in wonderful surroundings


Experience the reality of gourmet cooking yourself. There is only one way to learn and that is to do it! Top chefs, luxury accommodation, set in France - the home of gourmet cuisine; what more could you ask for?

Your hosts and tutors are acclaimed chefs Maynard Harvey and Emerson Farrar, two modern chefs who use the freshest ingredients with an emphasis on distinct flavours and clean, meticulous presentation. Their passion and enthusiasm for cooking will stimulate your own love of food, and their expertise will help you gain confidence and perfect your technique in the kitchen.

To find out more about our holidays, courses, accommodation and location deep in the heart of the 'real' French countryside, please look around our site. For further information, contact us.