Culinary Arts Weekend Training
Want to learn how to be more like Rachel Ray in your own kitchen, but don’t want to quit your day job? You don’t have to go to culinary school to learn to master recipes and kitchen techniques just like the pros and impress your family and guests with gourmet dishes and decadent desserts. You can learn how to do it in the course of just a weekend. Many resorts and cooking schools offer programs for recreational cooks that teach the basics of cooking and baking and beyond. Pair the courses with an exotic or quaint destination and local excursions to markets and wineries, and you can make it a fun or romantic weekend getaway for you or you and a loved one.
Weekend cooking programs include more than just a demonstration and a few samples. Often, your entire stay is organized around your culinary experience, including classes, demonstrations, excursions to local markets and a capstone gourmet dinner. Some programs are more intensive than others, and you can choose your options based on your interests. If you just want to relax, you can choose a program that offers demonstrations, with minimal participation, followed by tastings and shared recipe information. Most include at least a cooking class, but some, such as the Briar Patch Bed and Breakfast in Pennsylvania offer multiple classes in conjunction with local tours and wine tastings. Classes can last up to four or five hours, and can focus on themes, depending on the program and the time of year, including seasonal items or regional cuisine. Check with your provider to see what’s available, as many schools or resorts will offer different programs during different times of the year. Once you’re finished in the kitchen, you’ll have the chance to dine on your creations, and you’ll be given all the recipe information to try out your new creations at home.
A multiple course gourmet dinner is a frequent capstone to a weekend cooking program. After you’ve spent several hours in the kitchen learning new techniques, you will get the chance to relax while the in-house professional chef does the cooking for you and treats you to new cuisine. Pair that with local wines, and you have the makings of a gourmet feast. Packages also often include trips to local markets and areas of interest, making for a total culinary weekend getaway.
Booking Your Trip
Packages are available at locations throughout the country, as well as overseas. Search for programs by state or school, or try sites like Epitourean (www.epitourean.com), which book custom tours with culinary themes. Many packages book quickly, as class size is limited to make the experience memorable. Sign up for the mailing list at the school or resort you’re interested in to be notified when new packages become available and get first opportunity for booking.
Program costs can vary from as little as $100 to over $1,000, depending on the length of stay and what’s included. Most packages do not include lodging, but they often includes the classes, breakfasts, multi-course gourmet dinner, local excursions and special gifts. Be sure to check the policies before you book. Some programs are only available for groups, and minimums are required. Others offer group classes as an option, as well as private classes.
Weekend Cooking Schools:
179 East Highway 100
Hermann, MO 65041-0285
Gourmet cooking class weekends
Briar Patch Bed and Breakfast
23130 Briar Patch Lane
Middleburg, VA 20117
Weekend cooking program with local wines offered once-a-month
Camano Blossom Bed and Breakfast
1462 Larkspur Lane
Camano Island, WA 98282
Weekend Chinese cooking classes
Cooking with Chefs at The Inn on Park Street
69 Park St.
Brandon, VT 05733
Standard weekend programs or custom programs
P.O. Box 841
Devizes, Wiltshire SN10 4UX United Kingdom
Residential weekend programs
Culinary Vacations Inc.
P.O. Box 747
Roswell, GA 30077-0747
Weekend getaways in Asheville twice a year
Gourmet Retreats at CasaLana
1316 S. Oak St.
Calistoga, CA 94515
Two-day gourmet retreats focusing on seasonal and regional themes
Three- and five-day culinary learning vacations
Harvest Moon Bed and Breakfast
311 E. Main St.
New Holland, PA 17557
Two-day tours with regional and cuisine-specific themes
L’Academie de Cuisine
Locations in multiple states
Weekend getaways and day tours of various themes
L’ecole de la Maison at The Ostoff Resort
101 Osthoff Ave.
Elkhart Lake, WI 53020-0151
Two-day courses in artisan breads, desserts, and breakfast pastries
Learn Great Foods
Weekend retreats in Michigan, Missouri and Illinois
Agri-culinary tour and dinner
Weekend retreats themed by food or season
(focus on natural foods and sustainability, retreats include chocolate, fish, seasonal, tour farms and gardens)
Little Creek Inn
2623 N. Little Creek Road
Dover, DE 19901
Weekend getaways or classes
Starlight Pines Bed and Breakfast
3380 East Lockett Road
Flagstaff, Arizona 86004
Weekend culinary adventures
(three hour cooking class and six course dinner)
The Firelight Inn on Oregon Creek Bed and Breakfast
2211 E. Third St.
Duluth, MN, 55812
Weekend cooking class and dinner party
The Mercerburg Inn
405 S. Main St.
Mercersburg, PA 17236
Weekend programs in French and Italian cuisine