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2012 Top Culinary and Food Cooking School Training and Vacations

Updated on November 15, 2012

Culinary Adventures for all!

It's all about good food in this compliation of great culinary training, cooking schools and food festivals. If you want to expand your culinary education, love to cook, or like to mix good food with traveling, you will find plenty here to whet your appetite. So pull up a chair, grab your napkin (or bib) tune up those taste buds, and get ready to slice, sauté, and salivate.

European Schools

Cucina Con Vista - Florence

Tuscany, Italy

Florence native, Chef Elena Mattei commands the kitchen in this farmhouse with pro kitchen, vineyards and olive groves. Students will prepare classic Tuscan dishes with a small teacher to student ratio (1:4). Chianti wine tours and market excursions are included. Prices range from $270 - $1,025 for one- to four-day classes. 011 39-055-632-348

Villa San Michele School of Cookery - Fiesole

Tuscany, Italy

Courses explore the differing styles of northern, southern and central Italy in this cooking school set in a former 15th century Franciscan monestery. Classes are held from April through October and include a children's program for children 8 - 14). Classes are three-four days and start at $1,300 with accommodations. 800-237-1236.

Diane Seed's Roman Kitchen - Lazio

Rome, Italy

These classes are run by cookbook author, Diane Seed and are held in her home in Piazza, Venezia. The social history of foods and market visits are included in the teachings. The curriculum includes actual cooking experience for up to 12 students. Ms. Seed provides seminars on olive oil. Class length varies from one to five days and are priced from $270.00.

US Schools

Johnson & Wales University

Campuses in Charlotte, Denver, North Miami and Providence, RI

This premier school offers Bachelor and Associates degrees in Culinary Arts. Curriculum infuses hands-on, life experiences and critical thinking skills. Johnson and Wales is top rated by Chef Emeril Lagasse. Programs in Baking and Pastry, Culinary Nutrition, Food Marketing and Services. Offers internship program.

New England Culinary Institute

Montpelier or Essex, Vermont

This New England Institutes provides hands-on training in on campus restaurant in Montpelier; Essex has a four-diamond culinary resort and inn. Focuses on small class size with personal attention.

Scottsdale Culinary Institute

Scottsdale (Phoenix), Arizona

Features a comprehensive 15 month Associate degree of Occupational Studies in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary arts. Facilities include eight kitchens, meat shop and full service bakery.

French Culinary Institute

New York City, New York

This program is described as rigorous and hands on. Bobby Flay, Alice Waters and Marcella Hazan have provided lectures at this school that includes master chefs Jacques Pepin and Jacques Torress and master sommelier Andrea Immer.

 This school features Total Immersion programs with study options for career or amateur cooks as well as specialized classes for those seeking to increase their knowledge in one area such as the  Artisanal Bread Making class where students engage in a week of training on breads such as challah, focaccia, baguettes. This school was voted best vocational cooking school for 2010 by the IACP and has study abroad opportunites.888-324-2433.and has advanced classes and short sessions for engaged amateurs.

L'Academie de Cuisine

Washington DC

This school has programs for children, adults and gourmet chefs. Studies include Fundamental Culinary, Pastry and International Culinary Techniques and Professional Culinary Development.

Individual or Specialized Cooking Classes

Texas Culinary

Austin, Texas

The LeCordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts actually has numerous locations including sites in Las Angeles, Vegas, Dallas, Boston, Chicago, Orlando and Miami. This Academy offers professional and specialized classes including offerings such as The Art of Dinner Parties and Grilling and Chilling. 512-839-2665.

California Sushi Academy

Venice, California

This school is the first for training sushi chefs in the United States. In addition, students may partake of a three-hour class geared for non-professional cooks. This school opened in 1998 and offers intensive 12-week courses in sushi and sake. The school offers gift certifications. 310-231-4499.

Culinary Training Hotels

Whether you are traveling to cook or cooking to travel, you will find a hotel to satiate your appetite.

Cavallo Point Lodge

Sausalito, California

This hotel contains exemplary restaurant, Murray Circle and a cooking school employing fresh produce from farmers' markets and organic establishments. Expressive guest chefs and vintners vary and are recruited year round to instruct theme based classes.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel

The Oriental Culinary Academy

Dhara Dhevi, Thailand

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel is surrounded by gorgeous mountains in Northern Thailand. The Culinary Academy imparts the culinary history of Thailand. The classroom has individual preparation and cooking stations. Students should expect market field trips to select fresh and appropriate menu items. A four-course meal highlighting Lanna spices and herbs is later prepared.

Belle Isle Castle

Belle Isle School of Cookery

Belle Isle, Ireland

How about spending St. Patrick's Day preparing in a 17th century Irish castle. Students should anticipate a four-week course outlining the essentials along with a series of casual seven-day or weekend courses focused on seasonal ingredients. The school has evening wine and food tastings and demonstrations.

Food and Wine Festivals and Tours

Food & Wine Classic

Aspen, Colorado

June 2012

Food and Wine Magazine sponsors this 29th edition of this Classic which draws accomplished celebrity chefs, winemakers and other lovers of good food and wine. Events include an opening reception and Best New Chefs dinner.

Two percent of ticket revenue is donated to the Grow for Good campaign. Grow for Good benefits local farms and helps encourage sustainable agriculture. No one under 21 is permitted. Aspen buses are free.

Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest

Rhinebeck, New York -- USA

September 2012

This Fest advertises its dedication to the "gourmet lifestyle." Guests will have the opportunity to sample and purchase over 100 select wines from some of the best vineyards in the world. Over 100 specialty food and lifestyle vendors will participate. Festival attendees can get samples from some of best restaurants while enjoying live entertainment. This party includes Food & Wine seminars. New York area winemakers will be in attendance to educate participants

This Fest is held on the Dutchness County Fairgrounds and is accessible from Penn Station, New York City and Albany, New York via Amtrak. Check with Amtrak to see if they are offering a two-for one fare promotion.

Food & Wine Lover's Tour

France, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, or Central Californian Coast

If you are looking to engage all senses, consider taking one of these tours which incorporate history and culture with food and wine training and tastings. June Forkner-Dunn, PhD and Toby Dunn of Wine Knows Travel conduct these tours which vary from one to two weeks.

Itineraries vary and may include private wine tastings, cooking classes, luxury dining, accommodations in wine-making chateaux, castle hotels or other unique hotels, and local museums and attractions. Travelers will tour top culinary food producers. Tours are scheduled for April, May, June, July, September and October.

Taste of Chicago
Taste of Chicago

Taste of . . .

If you are more interested in consuming than preparing, you may want to check out one or more of the following food tastings events. These events include smaller portions or tastes from different area restaurants along with music and vendors. Check out this link for additional information.

1. Taste of Cincinnati - Cincinnati, Ohio

2. Taste of Charlotte - Charlotte, North Carolina

3. Taste of Chicago - Chicago, Illinois

4. Taste of Dallas - Dallas, Texas

5. Taste of Madison - Madison, Wisconsin

6. Taste of Colorado - Denver, Colorado

7. Taste of DC - Washington, DC

8. Taste of Atlanta - Atlanta, Georgia

Plan Carefully

Whether you count yourself among the amateur or professional chefs, are a degree seeking student, want to supplement your training with a class -- or you just want to enjoy some good food -- you should find an appropriate venue. Refer to the website for additional information on these schools, tours and festivals. Always confirm dates, locations and pricing prior to booking classes or travel. Bon appetit!


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    • profile image

      mariam fawaz 

      7 years ago


      plz i would like to have an intensive course in nice or cannes (france) about the best pastry,i can stay there between 15 and 25 days.

      plz reply on

    • ExpandYourMind profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Midwest USA

      That's one of my goals -- probably Italy. It's in the Bucket List :). Thanks for stopping by.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      It would be fun to travel to a foreign country and take some cooking lessons in that setting. You have certainly showcased some interesting possibilities in this hub for food lovers of every type. Now I'm hungry! Ha!


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