If books and films have taught us anything, it’s that cooking school can be a hazardous place. Plates get thrown, fingers and arms get burned, and you’ve taken two years of your life to pay someone to verbally abuse you for churning out a deflated soufflé.
Hotels and resorts around the world have begun hosting a wide array of cooking and food-related courses for guests who are curious enough to learn more, but not curious enough to attend a full-time academy. Whether you’d rather forage outside the kitchen or stand behind the stove working on some local, signature dish, there are flexible and fascinating programs to take advantage of. Truffle hunting with expert dogs is followed by a sumptuous truffle lunch and Italian cookery courses at a Milan hotel, while a Barcelona hotel will take you from stall to stall through the famed Boqueria market.
Splurge on a fully-planned itinerary with Abercrombie and Kent and add a gourmet element with Tuscan wine and cheese courses or a workshop in saffron, honey, and wine. Book a room at a Peninsula Hotel and enroll in their Academy, which includes courses in Thai cooking, a how-to on making dim sum, and tempura and sushi cooking workshops.
Attending a full-fledged culinary program also means that friends and family will suddenly be interested in what you learned in school — rather than accepting your less than stellar batting average in the kitchen, you’ll be invited to every potluck and picnic within a five-mile radius. Rather than letting everyone know you’ve got new skills, these skill-building holidays are hosted at stunning resorts and in coveted destinations all their own. So when your aunt and uncle ask how Telluride was, it’s up to you whether or not you brag about the seafood cooking classes you took.