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  1. Food & Drink
May 28, 2019

The Best Culinary Classes in the World

By Emma

Oftentimes, cooking is the best way to explore a new destination and get a feel for the local culture. Whether you only have time for a half-day class or more immersive lessons, Elite Traveler has rounded up the best culinary classes around the world.

The Culinary Academy at Monteverdi Tuscany

Sarteano, Italy

Located within boutique hotel Monteverdi Tuscany, the hotel’s Culinary Academy brings together guests of the hotel to learn how to create dishes like pici pasta, boar ragu and other regionally focused dishes. With room for only 12 students, classes are very intimate, held daily and led by executive chef Giancarla Bodoni. There are marble workstations and an indoor chef’s table in addition to an al fresco dining area. Monteverdi has its own organic herb and vegetable garden, and in the classes, you’ll use ingredients from here. After class, enjoy a complimentary lunch paired with wine. The Culinary Academy, completed in 2018, is located in a historic building, that was once a school for children for two centuries – one step inside and it’s like walking back in time. In addition to cooking lessons, Bodoni hosts Chef’s Table dinners every Tuesday and Saturday. A multi-course menu is served in the Culinary Academy’s kitchen while you taste various regional wines.

Sapori Cooking Academy at JW Marriott, Venice

Venice, Italy

Outfitted with six private stations in a classic Italian-style kitchen, the Sapori Cooking Academy at the five-star JW Marriott Hotel in Venice, Italy caters to all types of students, but guaranteed to be a private and intimate experience with other hotel guests. Here, you can choose from a six-hour course called Authentic Venice where you’ll learn how to create authentic Italian dishes, or a two-hour class on the small plates served in Venetian wine bars called ciccheti, among other programs. During your cooking lessons, depending on the dish, your chef will take you to the Rialto Market in the morning to pick out seasonal produce, such as swordfish, sea bass or soft-shelled crab. Children are welcome here, too. Take your little ones to create Venetian cookies or enjoy a picnic with the whole family. In the Make Your Own Picnic class, learn about Italian sandwich making and nibble on healthy salads and snacks. The best part? Unbeatable views of the Venetian lagoon and sitting underneath the shade of weeping willows.

The CIA at Copia

Napa Valley, California


The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) is one of the top schools for wine-and-food education. There are four campuses, CIA California, CIA New York, CIA Texas and CIA Singapore. While there are comprehensive programs where students can receive an associate degree in culinary arts or baking and pastry arts, each school also has certificate programs, food-industry-specific programs as well as classes for food and wine enthusiasts. The CIA at Copia in Napa Valley allows oenophiles and food enthusiasts the chance to pair some of the best regional wines with local dishes through hands-on cooking classes (ranging from two to five hours), wine and beverage classes, boot camps, chef demonstrations, family classes and more. While in Napa touring various wineries, CIA at Copia allows you to expand your wine and food knowledge. We love that CIA at Copia in Napa and CIA at Greystone in St Helena, California are just 20 miles apart and offer different types of culinary experiences so you’ll never get bored. 

The Kitchen Cookery School at Chewton Glen

Hampshire, England, UK


This Relais & Châteaux property in the English countryside is the ultimate destinations for foodies who seek to increase their skills and knowledge of both local and global cuisine. Helmed by chef James Martin, The Kitchen Cookery School is an open-plan and purpose-built space dedicated to food. Here you’ll find stations for cooking classes, an informal dining room, raised beds and greenhouses surrounding the space (which is lined with glass walls to let in the natural light). Plenty of classes are on offer, including Coffee Connoisseur led by guest tutor and founder of Midnight Blue coffee, Tim Wookey; The Perfect Barbecue where you’ll learn about meat and fish preparations, marinades, rubs, salad and sweets; the Seafood Chef focusing on Mediterranean fish; It’s a Gin Thing where you can create your very own gin; Junior Chef classes; Teen Chef classes; The Perfect Steak; Bread – The Next Level; Italian Road Trip from Rome to Sicily; Essential Italy; Greek Odyssey; The Perfect Risotto; Mediterranean Tapas; Chewton Glen Classics; Classic Deserts and other special holiday-driven classes. The endless list of class options brings all types of guests eager to learn. 

Le Cordon Bleu

Paris, France


Founded in 1895, Le Cordon Bleu (meaning the Blue Ribbon) is arguably one of the most famous and prestigious culinary academies in the world focusing on French cuisine. While many come here for professional degrees, Le Cordon Bleu also offers classes to wine and food enthusiasts that range from four hours to four days depending on the type of class and level of commitment you’re willing to make. Choose from classes such as Traditional Breadbaking, Pastries Workshop, The Art of Making Sauces and Jus or Financiers, Pound Cakes and Cakes Workshop. With only 16 people per class and helmed by one of the academy’s talented chefs, each class is extremely hands-on. Perfect for adding into your itinerary on your next Parisian vacation, there’s something for everyone – even kids – within Le Cordon Bleu’s Short Courses offerings. All students will receive an apron, tea towel and cooler to take their dish home in. 

Cooking Workshops at La Maison Arabe

Marrakech, Morocco


Five-star hotel La Maison Arabe in Marrakech is home to one of the best culinary workshops in the vibrant city. Helmed by a dada (traditional Moroccan cook) at the hotel’s renowned restaurant, The Restaurant at La Maison Arabe, you will prepare traditional Moroccan dishes and learn the secrets to Moroccan cooking during the half-day workshops with up to 10 people or by booking a private lesson for you and your group. Called L’Atelier Cuisine, the room with individual cooking stations features traditional Moroccan design, including a zouaké ceiling, tile flooring, arched walkways and lounge seating. After you make your meal, dine on the dish you just created with your group and the chefs.

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