The best restaurants at luxury hotels have always given diners a culinary education, but some destinations really school you on food—with onsite cooking classes. Our editors rounded up some of the best cooking classes in the U.S.—and one in Italy—that let you into the kitchens and behind the scenes for hands-on training with top chefs. Read on for our picks where you can slice, dice and cook your way through your stay.
The White Barn Inn, Kennebunkport, Maine
Head to quaint Kennebunkport, Maine for a stay at the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel, The White Barn Inn. While there, take a dip in the stone pool, take a bike ride along the coast and dine at the Five-Star White Barn Inn Restaurant, known for its rustic and romantic candlelit dining room and refined upscale New England recipes. Afterward, you can work side by side and learn directly from chef Jonathan Cartwright during the hotel’s private cooking classes. The two-hour classes consist of hands-on demonstrations from Cartwright or executive sous chef Derek Bissonnette and the restaurant’s team, all while you prepare dishes from that evening’s menu. After, you’ll receive the inn’s cookbook signed by the entire kitchen staff. Personalized classes are also available.
The Biltmore Hotel, Miami
In 2009, The Biltmore Hotel in Miami opened its Culinary Academy, which is led by executive chef and longtime cooking instructor and cookbook author, Lourdes Castro. The Culinary Academy provides much more than just simple cooking classes. It offers guests and local residents the opportunity to learn hands-on in the kitchen. There are so many classes to choose from; you can focus on everything from Italian and Asian classics to chocolate desserts or tapas. If you’d rather emphasize your training on the culinary basics, there are several three-day culinary boot camps that provide intensive instruction on fundamentals and techniques. There’s even a culinary program for children and teens.
Villa San Michele, Fiesole, Italy
Located in the hills overlooking Florence in the town of Fiesole, Italy, Villa San Michele has long been a favorite luxury retreat with its manicured gardens and restaurant boasting pristine city views. The hotel’s renowned cookery courses also have earned a reputation as some of the best in the region. Popular morning courses taught by the villa’s chef Attilio Di Fabrizio provide instruction on Tuscan gastronomy, while host chefs from the area also teach you about traditional Italian cooking methods, ingredients and seasonal tastes in Tuscany. Pasta lovers should book the special four-day, three-night package that includes three cooking lessons from various local chefs.
Photo Courtesy of White Barn Inn