Find Your Inner Chef In The Hidden Kitchen At The Inn At Weathersfield

Turning culinary passion into purpose is the name of the game at The Inn at Weathersfield, according to owner/innkeeper Marilee Spanjian. New England's premier culinary inn offers food lovers a wealth of gourmet experiences to enjoy at The Hidden Kitchen, their cooking school onsite.

"The Hidden Kitchen is our true passion. My husband Richard and I love to cook. We fell in love over cooking for each other. Thirty years ago, I was a young mother with a little toddler. I traveled all week for work and didn't want to hire a babysitter and go out on the weekend," says Marilee. "So instead of going to kid-friendly restaurants, Richard and I would take turns cooking for each other. We'd pick the cuisine, research recipes, create the grocery list, then shop together with our daughter Megs in the grocery cart. We'd cook together, and after putting her to bed, we'd sit down and dine."

It was this ritual laid the foundation for future endeavors. "Fast forward 25 years later, and our goal was to own a cooking classroom (not an inn) because we wanted to bring cooking experts to the non-professional cook so they could learn the skills that didn't get passed down and to learn through hands-on classes," explains Marilee. "We traveled all over the country looking for a cooking classroom/school to buy. Nothing fit so we decided to cradle it inside an existing inn known for exceptional farm-to-table cuisine. Ironically, we named the classroom after my mother's restaurant, The Hidden Kitchen, which was located in Del Mar, CA (where I grew up). She only owned it a few years before dying from cancer. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would be living in Vermont, own an inn with a farm-to-table restaurant, and have a cooking classroom."

The classroom is located in the old barn loft opposite the inn's heirloom vegetable garden. Guests love the intimacy of the classes and the setting. The inn tries to do at least two hands-on classes or special food events each month. Some upcoming events include Cookies & Cocktails class with Molly Pam on December 3; a French Wine-Paired Dinner on January 21; a Silo Distillery Cocktails & Dinner February 25; and a Beer & Cheese Dinner on March 11. "Each of these multi-course dinners will have a wine representative/distillery owner present to discuss the drinks, and we'll feature a local farm and their food product," adds Marilee. "For example, last March we paired Stone Corral Brewery with Parrish Hill Creamery cheeses in the most unique dinner. Guests weren't sure what to expect, yet, when it was over, no one wanted to leave."

Starting in Winter 2017, the inn is planning to add complimentary mini classes for house guests. Some examples include: "How to plant garlic, when to harvest," "How to put your garden to bed," "How to make the proper martini," and "How to stuff, truss and debone a chicken." This list will continue to grow. Guests can opt for private classes too, which are ideal for families, brides and their bridesmaids, girlfriends' getaways and even as corporate team-building opportunities. Last but certainly not least, Scotch Tastings are available in the wine cellar. "This is a true passion of my husband's," enthuses Marilee, "and we offer Special Wine Dinners when vineyard owners are coming to the area. For example, in August, we had Neyers Vineyard here from California."

For more information on upcoming classes, click here.