Cooking is hard, especially if you love to experiment in the kitchen. You never know where to find certain recipes, and it can be difficult to figure out exactly how to cook certain things.
So, you have two options: You could scour Pinterest for hours and do your best to recreate a recipe, or you could sign up for one of these over-the-top experiences led by the crème de la crème of the culinary world. The best part? There’s one for every taste.
For The Sweet Tooth
Learn How To Drink Chocolate
Led by chocolate historian Mark J Scisenti, the Historic Drinking Chocolate Elixir Workshop at Cacao Santa Fe is an hour-and-a-half long, mind-bending experience—complete with hydrosols, chile, spices, herbs, and housemade, 100 percent chocolate. Choose among Meso American, Ancestral Puebloan, Historic European, or Colonial New Mexico-era drinking chocolates, and have your palate thank you later.
Argentinian Pastry Class
Argentina might be known for its empanadas—and don’t worry, Vik Retreats offers classes for those, too. But you haven’t lived until you’ve made Argentinian pastries with world-renowned pastry chef Osvaldo Gross. Watch as he walks you through a mini gateaux class with different kinds of dough, fillings, decorating creams, and icings. Another option? You could sign up for the session that focuses solely on classic holiday dishes, including fruit puddings and ginger cookies.
Beignets In The Big Easy
Just steps from the French Quarter, Hilton New Orleans Riverside recently introduced culinary classes for guests, so they could interact with the chef and beverage team. This means they can try their hand at making Drago’s Restaurant exclusive charbroiled oysters drenched in butter and cheese, as well as beignets for a true Big Easy culinary experience. You can’t come to NOLA and not do beignets—obviously.
For The Green Thumb
Farm-To-Table (And Glass) Class
At the Inn at Dos Brisas, chef Matt Padilla and wife Tara Padilla are the perfect duo to showcase farm-to-plate (and glass) seasonal cooking and mixology. Start with a tour of the 42-acre, USDA-certified organic farm at the nine-room Relais and Châteaux property to see all the produce. Then, grab your basket and get to cooking signature dishes like Texas quail stuffed with cherry sausage, salsify and charred farm onions, melon soup with farm peppers, anise hyssop and grilled cuttlefish, and red ranger chicken with okra and Chinese long beans. Tara will also display how to use these garden gems to craft unique, unexpected cocktails—so come thirsty.
For The Vegan
Raw Cashew Cheesecake Class
Desserts at fancy hotels around the world are usually loaded with butter, sugar, and heavy cream—so, when we came across a property that features a vegan cheesecake course, we were amazed. At Sunrise Springs Resort in Santa Fe, you can whip up this plant-based treat alongside star chefs who will teach you simple, easy-to-digest recipes that are high in flavor, low in cals, and consisting of fully raw ingredients. Now, you can have your cake and eat it, too.
For The Spirit Connoisseur
Everything Is Better With Bourbon
As Kentucky produces more than 90 percent of the world’s bourbon, it only makes sense you’d enjoy a bourbon-themed class at Wild Thyme Cooking while you’re there. Hands-on chef demonstrations highlighting the local food and flavors of the season will incorporate Kentucky’s finest into the dishes—from using it as the base of a creamy sauce to a dessert flavoring.
For The Master Griller
Situated on a 790-acre estate and vineyard in the Uco Valley, Casa de Uco allows guests to enjoy warm treats by the fire. The secret to cooking the Argentinian way is to use ingredients sourced and freshly picked from the resort’s organic vegetable garden. Try your hand at a Fire Menu by preparing dishes such as country bread on the grill, empanadas mendocinas (filled with beef, onions, warm spices, hard-boiled egg, and olives), classic barbecue, and bread pudding with dulce de leche mousse.
For The Carnivore
At Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, elevated street food is what Olla Taco is known for. Get your tacology on in this casual, open-air restaurant, where you’ll learn the science behind creating the perfect tacos and traditional tortas.
So, when you return home for a not-so-average Taco Tuesday after taking this class, you can include your perfected Cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork), Castakan (twice-fried pork belly), and beef tongue tacos on the menu instead.
For The Pescatarian
Fresh Catch Ceviche
The words “catch of the day” just sound better when you actually caught that catch yourself. At SER CasaSandra in Holbox, Mexico, you can embark on a three-island tour in the morning to cast your lines, and then return home with your bounty to prepare fresh ceviche with chef Felix at the restaurant.
Located at the Hilton Atlanta, the city’s only Polynesian tiki lounge and home of the original Mai Tai, Trader Vic’s, recently debuted poke making and Mai Tai 101 courses. So, once you get your degree in the art of preparing the celebrated Hawaiian dish, you can skip all those takeout poke spots—and the classes even offer customizable southern ingredients, including Georgia’s famed peaches and Coca Cola marinated toppings. If that’s not enough, the lesson is often followed by a historical journey that explores the history of rum, tiki, and Mai Tais. Bottoms up!
For The Celeb Chef Fans
Cooking With Celebrity Chef James Martin
The newly opened 12-station cookery school at Chewton Glen holds interactive classes for all ages, for a truly one-of-a-kind gastronomic getaway. Led by TV personality and celebrity chef James Martin, you can “Taste the World” as a family after you sign up for any number of regional cuisine courses. Options include Morocco To The Middle East, Journey Through Asia, Inside Sri Lanka, South American Street Food, and A Taste Of Italy.
For The Adventurous Eater
Foie Gras And Step-by-Step Fowl Preparation
Just imagine saying to your foodie friends, “I learned how to make this dish with Alain Ducasse.” When you sign up for one of the famed French chef’s classes at his gastronomy mecca, École de Cuisine Alain Ducasse, you’d better believe you’re getting the star treatment… and who knows? You might even come out of there on Julia Child’s level.
Intriguing topics include cooking foie gras with Cote du Rhone wine pairings and step-by-step fowl preparation, but there are also options like macaron making, soufflé tips and tricks, puff pastry presentation, and baguette baking for the less adventurous.
Alaska Culinary Tour
Access Trip’s Culinary Tour in Alaska is one of the few food-centric trips offered in The Last Frontier. And the highlight? At 229 Parks Restaurant and Tavern, you’ll have the opportunity to meet and cook with two-time James Beard nominated chef Laura Cole, and create a taste of Alaska with local ingredients such as wild blueberries and world class salmon. You’ll also make and enjoy sample dishes like lamb lollipops, Alaskan octopus with squid ink noodles, and reindeer ragu from Archipelago Farms—because if you visit Alaska and don’t eat reindeer, did you really even go?