For anyone who loves to cook and loves to travel, cooking classes on the road are a great way to learn about local culture and get your hands dirty in someone else’s kitchen.
For me, I like to cook at home, and I like trying new things. I also love to travel. It was only a matter of time before I would get my hands messy and screw around in a kitchen on the road. So, when my wife suggested we take a cooking class on our tenth wedding anniversary trip to Budapest, I swear there was a small pop and a flash of light as the universe came together. It all made sense.
From that moment on I’ve been addicted (perhaps a bit obsessed) with travel and cooking classes. In cooking classes on holiday you can get gloopy to your heart’s content, dirty someone else’s kitchen, and not have to clean up. You can pester the teacher with questions, and not just about recipes, techniques, ingredients and local markets, but also where they learned to cook, what tips they’ve picked up, how food fits into their lifestyle/culture, and what they’d like to know about your own food culture. It’s a great way to make friends.
I even passed my authentic southern buttermilk biscuit recipe on to my Hungarian instructor. It was something he’d always wanted to try, and was the least I could do to thank him.
In these pieces I try to focus more on smaller courses and private instruction rather than “cooking schools”. I think that for travelers they tend to be more flexible with regard to time and content. If there are only a few people in the class it’s easier to find times that are convenient and work around the other items on your itinerary. Also, if it’s just you and friends, or you and a few other travelers, instructors will often customize itineraries based on your unique interests. That said, I do write about formal cooking schools when/if they offer something unique, or have a particular impact on the local food culture.
I firmly believe that if you like to cook, cooking class can enhance your trip, and bring a deeper meaning to the other experiences you have on your holiday (vacation). Ultimately, cooking classes are a gift from one cook to another, and, most importantly, are a gift of time and experience that we give ourselves.