MILES Nixon from Marlow’s Aubergine restaurant shows how to hold a dinner party, stress free.

The Aubergine at The Compleat Angler in Marlow has a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere, and as I entered the purple and olive-hued restaurant for the monthly cookery master class with Miles Nixon, everything was running like clockwork.

The classes initially started in 2010 with the idea it would show people how to run a dinner party, stress free. They were so popular they have continued and take place during the first Thursday of each month.

Once seated, 39-year-old Miles, who moved to the restaurant from the Aubergine in Park Walk, London three and a half years ago, starts his demonstration.

It’s straight into cooking. There is no messing around but Miles does not need to be loud and brash to hold the audience’s attention.

He starts with a wintry starter – sole with mussels and saffron, and what makes the classes great is he is continuously giving tips throughout. He fillets the fish (the sharper the knife, the easier it is) and washes it before he places the nine ingredients in a pan.

The result is a deliciously delicate fish with a strong but not overpowering sauce of fennel, shallot, garlic, white wine, butter, parsley and saffron. He said if you pick a fish that is too small it can be salty. This is a warming starter for a wintery day.

He next cooks a duck confit, which takes four to five hours in an oven set at 110 degrees Celsius. It cooks in duck fat which he says can be used over and over again. Obviously there is not this time to spare on the day. But he shows us each step before bringing out two duck legs he’d prepared earlier.

He serves this with the most delicious buttery mash which is practically half butter and half potato, and red cabbage.

One lady on my table commented that she did not even think she liked duck but after eating Miles’ main course she had to change her mind. The duck’s skin was perfectly crisp and the meat was tender. The buttery mash was to die for. Miles said if you can’t get duck legs you can use chicken instead.

For dessert he made a pineapple tart tatin with caramel ice cream. This looked ever so slightly complicated but Miles assures everyone it is easily done. He said you can tell if a pineapple is ripe by pulling leaves out of the top and checking the bottom.

All the flavours and textures worked very well together from the sweet, caramel ice cream to the slightly tart pineapple and the crispy pastry layer.

Once the chef had shown us how to cook the food each table was then served the three course meal. The restaurant has three rosettes, which it has kept since opening, but what about the coveted Michelin star?

He said: “If the Michelin star happens – all well and good- but I would much rather be busy at lunch and dinner.”

Miles worked at the original Aubergine Chelsea and commuted to his home in Gravesend, Kent where he lives with his wife, Alice, who is a paediatric nurse and his nine-year-old daughter, Joanna.

He now takes a room in Marlow during the week and takes two days off to go home.

Miles said: “Both my sister and myself had to learn how to cook a Sunday roast by the time I was 11 before we went to boarding school.”

He grew up in Norfolk before going to school in Oxford. He left school as soon as he could and got an apprenticeship at the Stafford Hotel in St James’s before working at The Ivy.

He then went to Soho Soho for 18 months, before working at The Atlantic in Hamburg. He then came back to work at Nico at Ninety in Park Lane. And what does he cook? Miles said: “Food that I would enjoy to eat myself. The main thing is I like it when people come and they leave happy.”

To make a reservation call 01628 405405 or go to The class, lunch, including either two glasses of wine or a glass or wine and coffee costs £35.