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Welcoming our new Head of The Cookery Club


Chef Nino Giovanni Mac Mahon takes the helm of our on-board cookery school

The Cookery Club on board Britannia

The Cookery Club on board Britannia was Britain’s first cookery school at sea

The Cookery Club on board Britannia is a special place. Not only was it Britain’s first ever cookery school at sea, but it’s somewhere guests of all ages and cooking levels can learn new skills, put existing experience to the test and meet new friends in a top-of-the-range setting.


Working independently and as well as alongside our Food Heroes when they are on board, we have a team of exceptionally talented, home-grown chefs handpicked by creator of The Cookery Club, celebrity chef James Martin. These culinary stars will guide guests through a journey of food discovery, taking inspiration from their favourite dishes and the destinations Britannia visits.


Whether you’re an enthusiastic cook, a budding novice or a complete beginner, The Cookery Club team will give you hands-on tuition to help you develop essential cooking techniques and those all-important presentation skills. Or if you prefer to watch and learn, there are demonstration classes where you can see how it’s done and then relax and enjoy the results.


Each cookery class can hold 24 guests and everyone works in pairs – so if you come on your own you will always be partnered up with someone else keen to learn the art of cooking, making the sessions more fun and interactive. If there’s ever an odd number, one of our chefs is always on hand to jump in and pair up.


And the best bit… you get to be your own celebrity chef for the class. There’s absolutely no preparation, washing or clearing up to do – everything is done for you so you can focus on the learning… and eating!

Chef Nino Giovanni Mac Mahon

Chef Nino Giovanni Mac Mahon is heading up The Cookery Club on Britannia

Heading up the team

We are very pleased to welcome on board our new Head of The Cookery Club, Nino Giovanni Mac Mahon. Hailing from County Louth in Ireland, 46-year-old Nino brings his wealth of experience to sea for the first time.


‘I am new to working at sea, but I saw this role and thought it was perfect as I’d get to combine my two passions of teaching people to cook and travel. I love the idea of being at sea because I will get to sample so many different types of cuisine from around the world and pass this knowledge on to guests in The Cookery Club,’ says Nino.


He is certainly no stranger to imparting his cooking wisdom on others, having spent the last 15 years as a Hospitality and Tourism Lecturer in the Southern Regional College in Newry County Down, Northern Ireland. While there, Nino taught professional cookery at all levels, on courses that attracted some of the best chefs in Ireland. ‘In my time there I was coordinator of the chef’s courses and my students achieved some of the highest grades in their final City & Guilds exams in Northern Ireland,’ says Nino. ‘I have coached scores of students in Salon Culinaire competitions – the UK's largest and most prestigious chef competition programme – throughout the years and three of my students have been selected for the UK world skills team to represent their country.’


Nino finds inspiration for his cooking in everything around him. ‘When I am not in the kitchen I like to wander along the hedgerows looking for things to cook, and I use wild fruits when in season to make jams and chutneys. I’m a keen angler too, and I like to smoke the fish I catch.


‘Because of my Italian heritage, I was brought up making pasta, pizza and pesto and homemade breads on a weekly basis. My love of food started in my mother’s kitchen – it is a very important part of our culture, not just something you cook because you’re hungry. In Italy, food is seen as the thing that brings families together, and keeps them together. I recently spent two years living in Tuscany where I fulfilled my dream of having my own kitchen garden and making wine and olive oil with my cousins and friends,’ says Nino.


‘I love cooking many types of international cuisine and like to take my students on a culinary tour of the world while in my classes, passing on hints, tips and stories from my own experiences in kitchens over the last 30 years. My specialty is a very simple pasta dish called aglio, olio, pepperoncino con prezzemolo which is linguine pasta with chili, garlic and parsley that I make for my chef friends when we go out fishing.


‘I have a passion for all things food-related and love to pass this enthusiasm and knowledge on to my students, whether they are in a college or in the middle of the ocean.’


Family is important to Nino, who is married with four children – two girls and two boys. ‘The first thing I do when I get home from work is hug my beautiful wife and kids. Then we all sit down for a big Italian family meal at our dining table and catch up. That’s what it’s all about.’


Find out more about The Cookery Club >