Sunlight filled the dining room at the Santa Fe School of Cooking, where tiny bouquets of red- and coral-colored chiles filled small metal buckets on each table. Chile ristras decorated kitchen doors and walls, while a broad mirror above the prep counter assured that our class of 15 travel writers and p.r. staff could clearly see meal preparations.
A grey stone mocajete (‘the world’s first Cuisinart’) full of ground corn meal sat beside a woven bowl brimming with tomatoes, chiles and squash, and a wooden bowl full of multi-colored dry beans. From a handmade ceramic tile San Pasqual, the patron saint of kitchens, ‘oversaw’ a bowl of blackened, roasted chiles. Our chef host shared culinary history as he assembled ingredients.
We learned American Indians long ago believed the gods gave them corn, and corn tortillas are among the world’s oldest prepared food. Beans, squash, tomatoes, potatoes and chiles were other building blocks of this indigenous cuisine. The chef helped us to create savory layered enchiladas in small well-seasoned cast iron skillets, with freshly made chile sauce and bite-sized chicken pieces.
That was more than a decade ago, and the Santa Fe School of Cooking has been going strong since 1989. Multiple chefs, with many decades of culinary experience, offer a wide range of classes. With a PhD in culinary culture, James Beard award-winning author, Lois Ellen Frank, teaches about American Indian cuisine. Fiery food fans may enjoy the Santa Fe School of Cooking’s Green Chile Workshop, while participants in the SW (Southwest) Culinary Bootcamp savor multi-day hands-on, intensive culinary training.
But it’s not all about New Mexico cuisine. From Middle Eastern dishes to culinary wisdom shared by a test kitchen chef, plus High-Altitude Baking, or a Farmer’s Mkt (Market) Class, there are loads of tasty choices.
The popular cooking school also offers three distinct Fodor’s Travel Recommended Restaurant Walking Tours, with four stops, each. There’s a chef intro with food samples at the school, and then the tour begins. Varied cuisine includes regional favorites to modern classics, paired with private tastings involving restaurant chefs and owners, plus sommeliers.
Register for a class or a Restaurant Walking Tour, to enjoy a delicious taste of The City Different.
Please note: As is common in the travel industry, I may have received accommodations and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this post, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.
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