Ibiza on a plate

Creative Mediterranean cooking classes

Ibiza’s superpower is not found within its famous nightlife nor on its postcard beaches; rather, it comes directly from the rich red earth in wild abundance. The island’s locally grown fresh produce is unsurpassable and home cooks, foodies and those who just love to eat could not be better served here. Restaurants are plentiful, and local chefs love to showcase the bounty yielded from local land and sea, however if you want to delve deeper into the Mediterranean way of eating, cooking lessons could be considered the ultimate holiday souvenir.

The Mediterranean diet has long been the focus of newspaper headlines and cookbook concepts, and heading out on an excursion to discover, taste and learn about its colourful, delectable and healthy produce is an experience very few Ibiza tourists get to enjoy. Science shows again and again that the foods of the Med promote longevity and good health. From the ripest figs and persimmons to organic cold-pressed virgin olive oils, handcrafted cheeses, wild mushrooms and herbs, the island is the Mediterranean Mother Nature’s pantry just waiting for exploration. And there’s no better person to explore it with than Tess Prince of Love Food Ibiza.

explore mediterranean cuisine with tess prince of "love food ibiza"

Tess is a trained chef with a keen eye for style – a powerhouse of delicious creativity who presents Ibiza on a plate in ways that will surprise and delight her budding students. Spending an afternoon with her to learn the tricks of the trade is a unique way to experience island life. There’s nothing better than traipsing after her as she wanders through market stalls, picks fruits right off trees or chats amiably with a local farmer, all the while spinning tales of delicious dishes before heading back to her delightful kitchen to show you just how easy it is to create tasty, healthy fresh food – and that includes cake.

Born and bred in Buckinghamshire in the UK, Tess’s family joke that she held a pastry brush before holding a pencil – cooking is in her blood. After attending culinary college in her hometown she went onto complete a degree in food science, nutrition and food technology at the University of Leeds. A career in product development for corporate catering companies was cut short by her love affair with Ibiza. “I came here for a friend’s wedding and understood straight away what the island was really all about,” Tess recalls. She booked her own Ibiza honeymoon and as the newlyweds sat on the beach on their last day watching the sunset, the deal was sealed. Within six months she’d quit her job, packed up their house and created a brand new life in a gorgeous villa in the island’s north.

Ibiza abunds of locally grown fresh produce

The passion for cooking imbued during her childhood and career followed Tess to Ibiza where she discovered an abundance of locally grown ingredients and a brand new direction. “In the UK you easily get caught up in the rat race and buy all your food from the supermarket,” she explains. “It’s all about one-stop convenience. So when I arrived in Ibiza, I looked for a similar supermarket-style shopping experience, but instead I discovered a whole new way of shopping, cooking and eating.” Organic farm shops, roadside shacks and local markets opened Tess’ imagination to the seasons. “It really is zero kilometre shopping,” she says. “Some of these places have been going for generations.”

Tess’s Ibiza working life started as a private chef – often for celebrities – but her true passion is in recipe development and teaching. “I started to get more jobs cooking for yoga retreats,” she says. “All of a sudden the brief was very different – often vegetarian or vegan, gluten and refined sugar-free.” Her intense curiosity and insatiable lust for learning lead her to discover a whole new culinary world. “It’s not just your physical health that benefits but also mental health too.” The proof is actually in the pudding (quite literally) and Tess has developed raw, vegetarian and vegan alternatives to many favourites plus some dishes that have sprung purely from her imagination.

The Red Scorpionfish is native to the balearic islands

Finding healthy alternatives is just one of Tess’ trajectories – her other passion is supporting local growers and using local, seasonal produce. Red Scorpionfish [pictured], for example, is found in abundance in Ibiza waters. The flesh is white and firm making it ideal for the grill or oven. “It's native to the Balearic Islands,” Tess explains. “The flavour is mild and sweet almost like lobster meat.” Roasted with local artichokes, wild foraged fennel that grows all over the island and a citrus sauce made with capers and ghee these beautiful fish make an easy midweek supper. It’s a dish that can be transferred to almost any firm white fish, meaning once Tess shows you how to make it you’ve got a go-to recipe for life.

“It's all to do with eating the spectrum of the seasons”

The best teachers are the ones who love what they do and Tess’s classes are a cornucopia of delicious flavours, exciting textures and local knowledge – not to mention lots of laughs. “I show people how to take out all the rubbish and nasties from their diet, but it still feels and tastes indulgent.” The basis of her style lies in creating a new kind of pantry. “I used to have white sugar and now I use date or fig syrup,” she explains. “Those small changes make a huge difference and they are also delicious.” Tess’s raw carrot cake is topped with thick cashew cream and filled with nuts, fruit and carrots. It’s cake, yes, but one that is good for you and incredibly easy to make.

More recently, Tess has turned her talents to creating a set of recipes designed to support midlife health. “Many of my private clients are women coming into midlife who face a unique set of health and wellness issues,” says Tess. “They are experiencing a big journey and wanting to make changes to themselves and their understanding of nutrition.” Many of the ingredients of the Mediterranean diet also support midlife health. “It's all to do with eating the spectrum of the seasons,” she says. Keenly aware that breaking habits is often a fraught undertaking, Tess gently guides her students to simply start enjoying the flavours. “It can be really hard for some people, so just try it for a week and see how you feel. It quickly becomes second nature.”

"It’s cake, yes, but one that is good for you and incredibly easy to make."

Ibiza has provided Tess with so many gifts, foremost a selection of some of the best produce in Europe. “I just love it here,” she says. “I love watching the seasons change through what’s on sale at the market. I love it when the figs come in and I can just pick them from the trees.” Luckily for visitors to Ibiza, Tess is more than willing to share these gifts, with creative Mediterranean cooking classes that are tailor-made to suit each student. The session may start at the local market or in the forest foraging for wild herbs and fruits, before heading back into the kitchen to teach you how to create simple, quick, healthy meals for all the family. Cake included. 

Contact our Guest Relations team to arrange a class with Tess during your next stay at 7Pines Resort Ibiza.

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