I love taking cooking classes during my travels. No matter where you enroll, these courses often reflect local cuisine while providing new ideas for use at home. From Santa Fe to the Finger Lakes region of New York & agriculturally rich Wisconsin, these schools feature friendly, knowledgeable instructors, cool food prep tips, and great flavors. Here are four of my favorites:
Opened as The New York State Wine & Culinary Center, in June 2006, Canandaigua-based New York Kitchen pairs a gorgeous building with state-of-the-art kitchen facilities. Whether you take a hands-on class or view a culinary demo from comfortable arena seating, this nonprofit cooking school beautifully showcases the state’s food and wine bounty throughout its curriculum. Enjoy tasty, scratch-made cuisine and you may even improve your knife skills (as I did!).
For more than 30 years, Santa Fe School of Cooking has offered cooking demonstrations to hands-on cooking classes. You can choose from a .chile workshop, learn how to make traditional tamales, or even create classic mole sauce. Fresh and local ingredients always star in these, and many other dishes. And, no matter which class brings you to this beloved cooking school, the focus is always 'to celebrate and share the distinctive techniques and flavors of regional Santa Fe cuisine.'
I've also enjoyed classes at two Wisconsin culinary schools. At the L’Ecole de la Maison Cooking School, inside the Osthoff Resort (Elkhart Lake), gourmet fare rules,. During my first class I, and other travel writers, created a five-course French-inspired meal served with premium wine and white linens. My second visit involved a more casual menu, full of fresh produce from the Resort's massive garden. In each case, our gregarious chef/instructor provided patient and thorough instruction, for delicious results..
In Ellison Bay/Door County our press group enjoyed a culinary class showcasing summer produce, at Savory Spoon Cooking School. Longtime culinary professional, Chef Janice Thomas, has owned this school since 2005. It operates inside a renovated 1879 schoolhouse equipped with state of the art culinary equipment, tools and appliances. After three hours spent preparing a summer feast, we sat at well-dressed dining tables and enjoyed perfectly paired wine with our meal..Classes are available in June through October.
During the pandemic, be sure to check the website of each school for updates regarding the status of in-person classes.
Please note: As a writer associated with the travel industry, I received complimentary meals, lodging, and admissions during my visit to each city. While it has not influenced this post, I wish to disclose all potential conflicts of interest.
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