For some, a vacation offers the perfect opportunity to get out of the kitchen and let someone else prepare their meals, but not for the foodies among us. We know one of the best ways to learn more about a new destination is via our bellies, and one way to learn more about local tastes and flavors is by taking a cooking class. Not only will you add some more recipes to your repertoire, but you’ll also have a chance to meet some locals while enjoying new dishes and drinks. Most U.S. cities are home to cooking schools where you can drop in for a mini-workshop or two. Here are 5 great places to take a cooking class.
This enormously popular Italian dining and shopping spot offers a variety of classes on everything from making pasta sauce to guided wine tastings. You will learn the secrets behind their favorite Eataly dishes. Renowned chefs, Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batali, have handcrafted a class selection where you can learn how to stir up a tasty risotto, how to crank out fresh pasta, and how to pair wines with it all. Classes come in a selection of formats – hands-on, demo only, and tastings.
Known as the world’s premier culinary school, the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) has been teaching people to cook for over 70 years. It’s also one of the world’s most unique and inspiring locations for culinary education. CIA offers classes for chefs of every skill level, with courses ranging from two-hour demos covering cooking techniques, like grilling and cooking with wine, to multi-day boot camps. Boot camps, which can last anywhere from two to five days, feature a range of topics like “Gourmet Meals in Minutes” and “Techniques of Healthy Cooking.” By design, their New Yor, California, and Texas campuses are located right in the heart of a vibrant culinary region.
Explore the fun, food, and folklore of Louisiana cooking at the New Orleans School of Cooking, a Creole and Cajun-focused cooking school located in a renovated molasses warehouse built in the early 1800’s in the heart of French Quarter. Expert Cajun/Creole chefs teach New Orleans specialties such as gumbo, jambalaya, étoufée and, pralines, seasoning them with history, trivia and tall tales!
Located in a charming north side neighborhood, the Chopping Block has been teaching people in Chicago to cook for 20 years. Their classes are designed for home cooks with busy lifestyles who have a passion for food. They offer a myriad of cooking classes on everything from basic knife skills to backyard barbequing. Chef spotlight classes highlight local Chicago chefs’ talents, passions and personal favorite recipes, while the Wine and Dine series will have you cooking in small groups then enjoying the fruits of your labor over a glass of wine.
BBQ lovers learn grilling secrets from some of the country’s top pit masters. The 2-day courses teach students how to cook an entire pig, in addition to chicken, beef brisket, prime rib and Alaska salmon. It’s not all meat — there’s coleslaw, of course, baked beans and banana-and-Nilla-wafer pudding. Over the course of the weekend participants learn to perfect their own barbecue techniques as well as get certified to judge barbecuing competitions. For weekend grilling enthusiasts, this will take you to near-expert overnight.
Whether you’re looking to spend an hour or a few days, these are 5 great places to take a cooking class. Food and wine lovers will have countless experiences that include hands-on cooking and beverage classes, world-class dining, shopping for the home and kitchen, and more.