Cooking Schools and Culinary Vacations: 9 Top Cities

A glimpse into the facility at Rhode School of Cuisine, Marrakech. Photo: Courtesy Rhode School of Cuisine Courtesy Rhode School of Cuisine
By Charis Atlas Heelan

The experience of traveling to romantic destinations need not end when you get home. Bring back the essence of your trip by enrolling in a cooking class in Italy, France, Thailand, and other foodie hot spots around the world.

Photo Caption: A glimpse into the facility at Rhode School of Cuisine, Marrakech. Photo: Courtesy Rhode School of Cuisine
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Learn to make chocolate like the masters of Valrhona, at their Ecole du Grand Chocolat. Photo: Courtesy Valrhona Courtesy Valrhona
In Lyon and the surrounding Rhône-Alpes countryside, you'll find a variety of culinary workshops, short-term cooking courses, and French cuisine master classes, often taught in English by expert chefs and restaurateurs.

Valrhona, makers of some of the world's finest and most expensive chocolate, run the Ecole du Grand Chocolat (www.valrhona.com), less than an hour south of Lyon. Courses range from two hours to two days and will provide chocolate aficionados with expert tuition in the art of chocolate. You'll learn the essentials for preparing the perfect gateaux, soufflé, tart, macaroon, or mousse.
How Much: A two-day Valrhona course is €279; a two-hour workshop is €59.

Institut Paul Bocuse (www.institutpaulbocuse.com) offers one-day to six-week courses for food enthusiasts at its historic chateaux in Ecully, just outside Lyon. You can choose to prepare pastries, seasonal dishes, regional specialties, and delicacies like foie gras.
How Much: A one-day Paul Bocuse course starts from €170 and a three-day course is €470. Accommodations cost extra.

Photo Caption: Learn to make chocolate like the masters of Valrhona, at their Ecole du Grand Chocolat. Courtesy Valrhona
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During a class at Bluone Cooking Tours in Italy, students learn to make tortellini from scratch. Photo: Bluone Photo Courtesy Bluone Photo
We owe so much of what we deem Italian cuisine to the beautiful Emilia Romagna city of Bologna, including tagliatelle al ragù (bolognese), tortellini, lasagne, and mortadella. Learn how to create an authentic Italian menu at one of Bologna's many culinary schools.

Vecchia Scuola Bolognese (www.lavecchiascuola.com) runs one-, three- and five-day courses that focus on the creation of pasta and the accompanying sauces, as well as antipasti and dolci. Students prepare dishes and sample them with wine for lunch. English-speaking classes are held from September to June.
How Much: A one-day course at Vecchia Scuola is €80, a three-day class is €210, and a five-day course is €250.

Bluone Cooking Tours in Italy (www.bluone.com) runs a one-day course that includes a two-hour Bologna food market visit with an English-speaking guide, a three-hour Italian hands-on cooking lesson taught in English, dinner after the cooking lesson with regional wines, a recipe book, and an apron. The Bluone one-day course is €180.

Casa Ilaria (www.casailaria.com) is an intimate B&B in the city center that offers traditional cooking classes taught in English by Ilaria herself. The course includes a market visit to purchase ingredients, dinner, plus an apron and a recipe book. Dishes prepared include sfoglia, tortelloni, brodo, lasagne, ragù alla bolognese, besciamella and cotoletta alla petroniana.
How Much: Cooking courses at Casa Ilaria are €60 for one day and €130 for three days. Accommodations with breakfast cost €100 to €150 per day.

Photo Caption: During a class at Bluone Cooking Tours in Italy, students learn to make tortellini from scratch. Courtesy Bluone Photo
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Cooking classes at La Maison Arabe Hotel in Marrakech teach traditional Moroccan cuisine. Photo: Courtesy La Maison Arabe Courtesy La Maison Arabe
One of the imperial capitals of Morocco, Marrakech is a city steeped in history, culture, and fine food. These three cooking schools are open to amateurs and professionals seeking to learn authentic recipes.

The famed restaurant at La Maison Arabe Hotel (www.lamaisonarabe.com) runs cooking workshops conducted by traditional Moroccan chefs. Small groups work alongside a translator (French/English) to prepare a typical two-course Moroccan meal, which is then enjoyed as a group.
How Much: A half-day workshop at La Maison Arabe is 1600 Dirhams for one or two people ($182), 600 ($68) for three or four, and 500 ($57) if you have a group of five of more.

Souk Cuisine (www.soukcuisine.com) is a one-day cooking class that includes a visit to the souk to purchase fresh produce, a four-hour class held in a traditional riad, a four-course lunch of the meal you helped prepare (with vegetarian options), wine, and take-home recipes.
How Much: A one-day Souk Cuisine class is €45 per person.

Rhodes School of Cuisine (www.rhodeschoolofcuisine.com) runs an eight-day Moroccan culinary extravaganza based at Dar Liqama, a pink palace at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. The program includes seven nights' hotel, hands-on cooking lessons daily, food and wine, transportation for excursions, and airport transfers from Marrakech.
How Much: The eight-day Dar Liqama live-in course is $2,395 and $1,995 for a non-cooking accompanying guest.

Photo Caption: Cooking classes at La Maison Arabe Hotel in Marrakech teach traditional Moroccan cuisine. Courtesy La Maison Arabe
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Casa Luna Cooking School, Bali. fatskier
Several schools in Ubud, Bali, teach visitors about the importance of food in traditional Balinese life. Experience the exotic herbs and spices of Balinese cuisine and learn how to prepare the perfect Indonesian meal.

Taman Rahasia Resort (www.balisecretgarden.com) offers one- and two-day traditional Indonesian cooking courses with accommodations, a massage, and breakfast daily. Courses are run throughout the year on Fridays and Saturdays.
How Much: A one day intensive Indonesian cooking class with all meals and two nights' accommodation is $290 based on single occupancy.

Classes at Casa Luna Cooking School (www.casalunabali.com) provide an insight into Balinese life, beliefs, and culture through its food, cooking, and culinary myths. Half-day classes featuring instruction on a variety of dishes from satay to gado-gado are held in the elegant grounds of the Second Honeymoon Guesthouse.
How Much: An intensive one-day Indonesian cooking class with all meals and two nights' lodging is $290 based on single occupancy. A two-day course with three nights' lodging is $465. Half-day courses (menus change daily) at Casa Luna are $33.

Casa Luna Cooking School, Bali. Photo by fatskier/Flickr.com.
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Cooking class in session at A Lot of Thai in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Photo: Courtesy A Lot of Thai Courtesy A Lot of Thai
Thai food, especially in the northern region of Chiang Mai, combines aromatic spices with indigenous traditions and Indian, Malay, Middle Eastern, and Chinese influences. Learning to cook here is a sensory adventure.

A Lot of Thai (www.alotofthai.com) runs classes four days a week teaching students how to make popular dishes like green curry, spring rolls, pad thai, and sticky rice mango custard. A market tour and full recipe book are also included.
How Much: A Lot of Thai's one-day course is 1200 Baht ($37).

Ban Thai (www.cookinthai.com) has cooking classes that cover traditional dishes; menus change daily. Courses include tuition, transportation to and from your hotel, eating what you have prepared, and a recipe book.
How Much:
A one-day course at Ban Thai is 900 Baht ($28) or an evening course is 700 Baht ($22).

Photo Caption: Cooking class in session at A Lot of Thai in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Courtesy A Lot of Thai
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Traditional Mexican classes in Oaxaca at Casa Crespo. Photo: Courtesy Casa Crespo Courtesy Casa Crespo
This beautiful southern Mexican city of Oaxaca is a perfect spot to indulge your love of cooking and eating. Oaxacan cuisine, a tasty union of Mediterranean and Mesoamerican flavors, is known for its many varieties of mole sauces, tortillas, banana leaf-wrapped tamales, and soups.

Casa Crespo's (www.casacrespo.com) daily cooking classes include morning coffee and pastries, a visit to the market, ingredients, recipes for the dishes prepared plus mezcal or beer.
How Much: Casa Crespo classes are $65 per person.

Pilar Cabrera runs La Olla restaurant (www.lasbugambilias.com) and she also teaches traditional Oaxacan cooking. Classes involve three to four hours of food preparation and the chance to enjoy your meal on the outdoor patio.
How Much: Pilar's cooking classes at El Jardín de Los Sabores are $60 per person for a private class, or $50 each in groups of four.

Photo Caption: Traditional Mexican classes in Oaxaca at Casa Crespo. Courtesy Casa Crespo
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The cooking facility at Cook & Taste, in Barcelona, which offers traditional local cooking classes. Photo: Courtesy Cook & Taste Courtesy Cook & Taste
Embark on a culinary discovery tour of Barcelona, the home of distinctive Catalan food.

Cook and Taste (www.cookandtaste.net) runs a half-day cooking class twice daily. The class includes preparing a traditional Spanish meal and can also feature an add-on trip to the Boqueria market. Menus change seasonally and can be vegetarian on request.
How Much: The half-day class at Cook and Taste is €60.

Montse Tolosana (www.catalancooking.com) teaches a variety of Catalan Cuisine classes, including a one-day vegetarian session where participants can learn how to make salads, special sauces, and cannelloni with mushroom. All classes are held in English in a city apartment near Plaça Sant Jaume, with tastings and recipes provided.
How Much: The full day Catalan Cooking vegetarian class is €59.

Photo Caption: The cooking facility at Cook & Taste, in Barcelona, which offers traditional Catalan cooking classes. Courtesy Cook & Taste
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Classes at Hias Gourmet will teach you to prepare traditional Chinese dishes. Photo: Courtesy Hias Gourmet Courtesy Hias Gourmet
In Shanghai, you'll learn how to whip up authentic Shanghainese cuisine in one of Asia's fastest-growing cities.

The Kitchen at Cooking Studio (www.thekitchenat.com) teaches both Western and Chinese cooking techniques, but the school specializes in dim sum classes and Cantonese, Sichuan, and local Shanghainese cuisines. Courses (90 minutes to two hours) are held three times a week. Although the class is taught in Chinese, there's a translator and recipes provided in English.
How Much:
A dim sum course at The Kitchen at Cooking Studio is CNY50 ($7.50) to CNY120 ($18) and two-course Chinese specialty courses range from CNY80 ($12) to CNY120 ($18).

Chef Wang from Hias Gourmet (www.hiasgourmet.com) will teach you how to prepare two authentic courses of Chinese food using seasonal ingredients. Menu items may include Scallops Coated with Salted Duck Yolk and Fried Crab Claws stuffed with Minced Shrimp. Courses are 90 minutes long, taught in English, and are run twice weekly in a private residence in the French Concession area.
How Much: Hias Gourmet's classes are CNY350 ($52) to CNY400 ($59) per person.

Photo Caption: Classes at Hias Gourmet will teach you to prepare traditional Chinese dishes. Courtesy Hias Gourmet
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Pimenta Cooking Adventure at Haritha Farms in Kerala, India. Photo: Courtesy of The Pimenta Courtesy of The Pimenta
The southern coastal region of Kerala is renowned for its cuisine that incorporates Hindu, Christian, and Muslim cultural influences. Seafood, vegetables, and coconut feature heavily in the food, along with spices like cinnamon and ginger. Most cooking courses here are offered as part of a live-in program at eco-properties like resorts and farms.

Pooppally's Heritage Homestay (www.pooppallys.com) is a historic eco-friendly property on the banks of the River Pampa in Kerala. The traditional Kerala-style cuisine is made from produce purchased from the local community and from organically grown farms. The one-week cooking courses feature instruction in a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes.
How Much: 6,000 Indian Rupiah ($128) for a weeklong cooking course plus 35,000INR ($750) for seven nights' hotel and full board at Pooppany's.

Haritha Farms is the location for Pimenta's Kerala Cooking Adventure (www.harithafarms.com), a seven-day, hands-on culinary adventure specializing in the vegetarian cuisine of southern India while staying on a spice farm an hour from Cochin Airport. Courses include all meals, cottage accommodations for seven nights, cooking lessons, all excursions, transportation, entry fees, and taxes.
How Much: At Haritha Farms, a seven-day course is 54,000INR ($1,157) for a single or 37,500INR ($803) per person for two people.

Photo Caption: Pimenta Cooking Adventure at Haritha Farms in Kerala, India. Courtesy of The Pimenta
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