9 Cooking Vacations to Take This Summer

Elevate your culinary skills with interactive courses and guided tours in exotic locales.

By Roger Sands, ContributorJune 5, 2017
By Roger Sands, ContributorJune 5, 2017, at 10:54 a.m.
U.S. News & World Report

9 Cooking Vacations to Take This Summer

Happy friends and chef cook cooking in kitchen

Join master chefs for private cooking classes, interactive demonstrations, wine tastings and top-tier meals on an unforgettable vacation.(Getty Images)

For many foodies, the art of cooking has evolved beyond a hobby and into a passion. Knowledge about what people are putting into their bodies, how it is being prepared, finding the best way to add the most nutrients that will excite your palate are topics of interest for many travelers. Culinary tourism, or trips where you can watch cooking demonstrations and join interactive cooking classes are all the rage. So, if you're inspired to take your kitchen skills to new heights, start plotting your next food-focused getaway.

ITC Grand Bharat
India

With its robust culinary programs, ITC Hotels are acknowledged as a leader in classic Indian cuisine. Incubated at ITC Grand Bharat, Cuisine Classica is a unique program where resident guests can interact with master chefs and learn the finer nuances of cooking. The first phase of the program includes Indian and European-inspired cooking lessons. A sample itinerary includes recipe demonstrations, refreshments and lunch, along with a year's subscription to the WelcomZest – ITC Hotels' acclaimed quarterly. Guests also receive an apron, a chef's hat, a recipe booklet and a chef's knife.

Oceania Cruises

Exceptional cuisine has been the hallmark of Oceania Cruises since the first cruise set sail in 2003. Master chef Jacques Pépin serves as the executive culinary director, offering guests outstanding curated gourmet cuisine. Additionally, Marina and Riviera line are home to the Culinary Center, the first custom-designed and hands-on cooking school at sea. Guests can learn how to cook a variety of meals in a teaching kitchen guided by master chefs from around the world. At some ports, travelers may even accompany the instructor chefs while they shop for fresh ingredients ashore at local markets on the line's exclusive Culinary Discovery Tours.

One Aldwych
London

One Aldwych offers guests the opportunity to attend a gluten- and dairy-free master class hosted by executive chef Dominic Teague at the hotel's Indigo restaurant. This two-hour master class features demonstrations and three cooking sessions. Chef Dominic teaches guests how to cook gluten- and dairy-free dishes at home without compromising on taste. The day concludes with a glass of Champagne before heading into Indigo for a three-course dinner with pairing wines, coffee and pastries. To ensure guests put their new skills into practice when they return to their own kitchen, they are gifted with recipe cards and an accompanying One Aldwych apron.

Casa de Uco
Uco Valley, Argentina

The best-kept secret in Argentina's Uco Valley, the 16-room Casa de Uco Resort is situated across a 790-acre estate and vineyard. Guests enjoy one-of-a-kind wine parcel tasting through the vineyards, and hop from section to section with a sommelier and chef where a glass of wine from each variety is offered with custom food pairings. The resort allows guests to learn the sector de fuego (fire pit) barbecue cooking techniques over open flames, and enjoy Argentinian cooking classes and a tasting menu of five tapas plates paired with premium wines.

Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo
Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Part of Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo's bespoke "Just For You" program, the exclusive "Pick Up Your Stick" experience is a guided educational tour of the Monaco fish market led by head chef Takeo Yamazaki. Chef Takeo then invites foodies into the kitchen of the Michelin-starred, Joël Robuchon restaurant for a private cooking class, followed by an intimate lunch tasting filled with Japanese cuisine paired with exceptional wines and Champagnes to highlight the diverse flavors of each delectable dish.

Chefs Club
New York City

Guests at this unique restaurant can get up close and personal with such renowned chefs as Eric Werner who will be performing his culinary magic from June 22-23. Inside the Chefs Club is the intimate 24-seat Studio where guests receive an opportunity to watch the chef at work, ask questions and learn about his inspiration and technique. Werner is the chef behind Hartwood, a wood-fired Mexican restaurant rooted in the ingredients of Mundo Maya. Located on a jungle road along the Caribbean Sea in Tulum, Hartwood will serve as the next temporary location for René Redzepi's Noma restaurant.

Regent Taipei Hotel
Taipei, Taiwan

Regent Taipei has joined forces with Silks Palace, the much-celebrated restaurant at the National Palace Museum, to offer a complete cultural and culinary experience. Guests will enjoy Silks Palace's signature National Treasure Feast for two, which features menu items inspired by the museum's treasure trove of artifacts including the Jadeite Cabbage and Meat-shaped Stone. Following dinner, guests have the chance to recreate the artifacts themselves during a custard pie-baking workshop. This package also includes an overnight stay in a Taipan Deluxe room with all Taipan Club benefits and daily buffet breakfast for two.

An Intrepid Travel Real Food Adventure
Oaxaca, Puebla and Mazunte, Mexico

Get an authentic taste of Mexico on a journey through some of the country's most famous culinary regions. Meander through Oaxaca's aromatic markets and take to the streets of Puebla to sample some the city's local specialties. Explore Mexico City on a taco crawl to experience a delightful culinary heritage that goes back thousands of years. In Oaxaca, enter the heart of pre-Hispanic cuisine and taste chocolate, mezcal and the surprisingly delicious chapulines (grasshoppers). Afterward, take to the sea on a fishing expedition out on the Pacific Ocean, where you will eat fresh ceviche on a pristine beach.

The New York Wine & Culinary Center
Finger Lakes, New York

Chef Danny Boome recently established the Gastronauts Academy in Rochester, New York, which offers a Devour Day Tour. Participants experience tastings at two of the region's wineries followed by lunch and an intimate class with Boome at the New York Wine & Culinary Center, where Boome explains a six dish seasonal menu. The New York Wine & Culinary Center is designed to educate, engage and excite visitors, while focusing on the region's incredible bounty of culinary, beverage and agriculture offerings. Educational classes include Crêpes & Maple Syrup, which features regional restaurant Simply Crêpes and locally produced syrup, along with a Lunch & Learn workshop focusing on seasonal ingredients paired with local wine varieties.

Roger Sands, Contributor

Roger Sands is an experienced travel writer with a passion for destinations that inform and ...  Read more

About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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