Where Are The Best Cooking Schools Around The World?
There really is nothing quite like a great traditional food experience when exploring the world – always in search of the best food in the world! Who doesn’t love to try new foods when they travel? Who isn’t so curiously minded that you wonder what on this earth have they put in a meal to make it taste so good? What better way to find out but to go to a Cooking School, take a class and do a food tour!
Why Should I Attend A Cooking School and Take Cooking Classes?
Not only are cooking classes fun, they teach you new things and they allow you to try new foods. You learn about cultures, cuisines, how foods are harvested and prepared for meals.
Going to Cooking School makes a unique date night and an awesome travel experience. A cooking class will teach you to perfect a dish and they will teach you to cook like a real chef!
Cooking Schools and Cooking Classes in Asia Pacific
Vietnam – Vy’s Market Restaurant & Cooking School
I have a confession: before we went to Vietnam, I wasn’t too excited about Vietnamese food. Despite having tried pho several times at various restaurants at home in California, I found it bland and overrated. Imagine my delight at discovering just how delicious Vietnamese food really is! Of course, that meant immediately booking the most highly recommended cooking class we could find.
Vy’s Market Restaurant & Cooking School came up in several people’s recommendations, so off we went! It was easy to book a class for the next day, even in peak tourist season. And we were lucky enough that our group of four was the entire class.
We realized we had made the right choice as soon as we set foot in the door. In Hoi An’s packed Old Town area, starting a cooking class with a street food tour wouldn’t be practical. Instead, Vy’s Market brings the street food to you! The class takes place in a large covered courtyard market surrounded by stations making various traditional foods.
During the class, we spent some time at each of those stations. One or more people at each would demonstrate how to make traditional Vietnamese food, showing us the techniques for everything from pressed noodles to grilled rice crackers. And at each station, we were warmly invited to jump in and try for ourselves. While our folded dumplings and banh mi buns weren’t as pretty as those made by the professionals, it was so much fun to eat our own creations.
We came away from the class knowing not only how to cook several local dishes (including Hoi An’s famous cao lau), but also with a deeper understanding of Vietnamese ingredients and techniques. My very favorite part was at the end, when we were invited to try a wide range of “weird” foods ranging from jellyfish salad to steamed pig’s brain. It was definitely a memorable ending to an incredible class! Plus you’ll get some printed recipes and even a seasoning pack to take with you so you can recreate Vietnam’s amazing food at home.
Written by Gretchen Holm, from Three Big Bites
Japan, Kamakura – airKitchen
Towards the end of our month-long journey around Japan, my husband and I booked a cooking class in Kamakura with airKitchen. For me, the biggest appeal of the airKitchen classes is that they are offered by locals in their own homes. This makes it a much more personal experience than attending a group class in a restaurant or some other professional space.
To be honest, even though I’m a huge foodie, I’m not really into cooking food. What I really wanted was to be invited into a local’s home and have the chance to chat with Japanese people and learn about their cuisine. And with this class in Kamakura, that’s exactly what I got. When I explained to our host Naoko that I wanted to learn from her about Japanese food but didn’t necessarily want a lot of hands-on practice, she adapted the class to suit my needs.
The fact that my husband and I are both vegans was no problem either, as many of the airKitchen classes have a vegan option. For our Japanese cooking class, the theme was ofukuro no aji, which translates literally as “mother’s flavor”. Basically, it’s the homecooked food that Japanese mothers prepare for their families.
And the best part was that Naoko’s 88-year-old mother was there to teach us as well! While her mother only spoke Japanese, Naoko was fluent in English (and French) so she was able to interpret for us. It was fascinating to hear her mother’s stories about when she worked as a tea ceremony host when she was younger. Even though it rained the whole time we were in Kamakura, I remember the town very fondly because of the wonderful experience we had at Naoko’s house.
Written by Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan
South Korea – Kimchi Making Class in Seoul
Kimchi is one of the staples of Korean cuisine. Wherever you go in South Korea – whether you’re out at a restaurant or invited into a Korean friend’s home, you will always find a generous serving of kimchi at the table as a side dish.
Kimchi is actually pickled, fermented vegetables. This dish is most commonly prepared with cabbage but there are actually more than 180 different types of kimchi! Radish kimchi and cucumber kimchi are also very popular.
Eating something that has been fermented may sound questionable, but kimchi is a lot more appealing than it sounds. The vegetables are marinated in a flavourful blend of garlic, shallots, ginger, chili flakes and miso sauce. The vegetables are then tightly sealed and stored in a dark place to ferment for three days.
There are several excellent places in Seoul where you can take a kimchi-making class. My friend and I participated in a class at the Seoul Kimchi Academy in Myeongdong. The teachers help make Korean cooking seem like a breeze! You can also wear hanbok (traditional Korean noble dress) and take photographs dressed as a Korean noble as part of the experience.
Written by Melissa, from High Heels & a Backpack
Australia – Sydney Seafood School
The Sydney Seafood School based at the Sydney Fish Markets in Pyrmont, Sydney is the best place to learn seafood cooking in Sydney. If you are a tourist to Australia it is a great way to taste local flavours and learn more about Australian seafood.
Being based at the Sydney Fish Markets where the fish trawlers come in to unload their catch you know that the seafood used in the class will be the freshest seafood available in Sydney and also the best quality. The Sydney Seafood School have a wide variety of different seafood classes ranging from cooking seafood paella, Singapore chilli crab, Thai squid salad, barbecue seafood, preparing sushi and lots more. Classes vary in length from 2 to 4 hours depending on the class you choose.
The classes start off with canapes and then a lecture theatre cooking demonstration often by a leading Australian chef, who teaches you how to cook the dish. You learn tips about choosing the best ingredients and seafood, preparing the seafood and other tips to ensure you get the best flavours possible in your dish.
One of the best tips I picked up in the seafood paella class was to NOT stir the pan after adding in the rice if you want that delicious crunchy carmelisation at the base of your paella pan, or socorrat as it is officially known as.
After the demo you then move to a professional kitchen where everything is provided for you to recreate the dish yourself in a small group of 4-6 people. There is ample space, equipment and supplies for everyone, and assistance is available as required.
Once you’ve finished cooking you get to enter the nearby dining room to feast on your cooked seafood dishes whilst savouring a glass of wine. Takeaway containers are available for any leftovers. You also get to take home a Sydney Seafood School apron and recipe booklet.
I highly recommend the Sydney Seafood School especially if you are a keen foodie or cook. I may be biased but I truly believe these cooking classes are the best in the world.
Written by Ingrid, from Fabulous Fun Life
Vietnam – Old Hanoi Restaurant
Bánh xèo, Nem Cuôn tôm thịt, Gà nướng lá chan…Vietnamese food is a culinary tongue twister to an English-speaking tongue. But learning the tonal nuances is worth it to enjoy savory turmeric crepes dipped in a sweet chili fish sauce or prawn and pork eggrolls deep-fried to a crispy golden crust (the first two dishes listed). Just thinking about them makes my mouth water.
My early retirement life in Manila, Philippines, gives me easy access to delicious and affordable international dining. But to satisfy my appetite for the authentic sweet, salty, and sour flavor profile of Vietnamese cooking, I headed to the source, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Old Hanoi restaurant in the Ba Dinh neighborhood of Hanoi runs highly ranked private cooking classes. Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey has an affiliation here. With Ramsey’s reputation for exacting standards, this place was my first choice for a Vietnamese cooking class.
Classes start with a trip to the local market to shop for fresh ingredients. For those that have never been to a wet market in SE Asia, your senses can easily get overwhelmed: the colorful fruits and vegetables, the loud haggling of prices in Vietnamese, and the unavoidable odor of butchered animals. My mom, with prodding and translation help from our guide, joined in on the action to negotiate for our shrimp.
Then it’s back to the restaurant to pep all the ingredients. Our chef breaks down the process and provides help, while the students prepare a 4-course meal. Ours included skewered grilled chicken and lemon leaves (Gà nướng lá chanh), sticky caramelized clay pot pork (Lợn kho tộ đât), and the ubiquitous Vietnamese spring rolls (Nem Cuôn tôm thịt). After cooking, we dined on our hard work in the nicely appointed dining room of the restaurant. Even at $80 per person, this was an experience well spent.
Written by Marco Sison, from Nomadic FIRE
Vietnam, Hoi An – Tribee Bana Heritage Hostel
The Vietnamese food is very delicious and no wonder it is trendy all over the world. Joining a cooking class at Hoi An, was one of the memorable experiences of backpacking Vietnam for me, along with trying out local street food in all the towns I traveled.
Tribee Bana Heritage Hostel, the place where I stayed in Hoi An in the old quarters organize cooking class once a week, which is super fun to participate. The best things about this cooking tour are it is free for all to join, you will get to meet and socialize with fellow travellers, and the cooking is easy to learn.
It is a traditional Vietnamese dish consisting of rice vermicelli(bún) that is usually topped with prawns, pork, and other vegetables, all wrapped in bánh tráng or rice paper, which is also called cold roll.
The spring roll has its origin in China and was introduced to Vietnam through Chinese immigrants during the early 15th century. Since then, Gỏi cuốn has become to be a very popular appetizer consumed all across Vietnam that is also an integral part of street food.
The hosts were amiable and hilarious as they instructed us on how to make Gỏi cuốn or Vietnamese spring rolls. We were given bánh tráng or rice paper, which is readily available in all shops. After dipping the paper in water, it is allowed to cool down and become soft for some time. It is filled first with a few strips of rice vermicelli. Then, you need to apply the sauces(sour, hot and sweet) on the paper. Then top with chopped pork/prawns/vegetables, and roll gently, folding at the edges. The Vietnamese spring roll is usually consumed cold or at room temperature. We savoured the delicious rolls along with Bia Hoi.
Don’t miss joining a cooking class in Vietnam on your trip!
Written by Reshma Narasing, from The Solo Globetrotter
When heading to Nepal, you will soon enough fall in love with MoMo – and, if you are like me, develop a hate-love relationship with the sometimes bland but always comforting Dahl Bhat. Instead of buying souvenirs nobody likes and I won’t even look at twice when I’m home, I like to take cooking classes. That way I learn new skills (I learned how to temper spices for instance) and I get to impress friends and family with my exotic cooking and dishes.
One of the best cooking classes I have taken so far was a very simple, very personal class in Kathmandu. We were picked up by a 4X4 early in the morning and driven to Kirtipur – a historic city just outside Kathmandu. Here we were to take a cooking class with a local family. We learned how to make MoMo, Dahl Bhat, Curried Chicken and Chutney. It was such a lovely experience, not only because we were alone in this local lady’s small kitchen, but also because of the love our host had for food and cooking. We got to know her family and her husband who used to be a Sherpa but now takes tourists onto hikes.
First we were welcomed with a glass of amazing masala tea – some call it milk tea, which she showed us how to make. Then we went onto making curry chicken, greens, dahl bhat and other accompaniments. After everything was ready we ate out ‘creations’ as lunch with the family. In the afternoon we made cheese and meat MoMo. Our host was incredibly patient and helpful.
Another detail I remember as clear as day is the amazing view we had over the Kathmandu Valley from her house. We saw onto Swayambunath over green paddies and fields. Overall, this was one of the best, most personal cooking classes I have experienced and I loved every single minute of it!
Written by Lieze Neven, from Glitter Rebel
Book your next Asian Cooking School experience
Japanese Cooking Classes
- Tokyo: Tempura Cooking Class at Japan Culinary School
- Kyoto: Learn to Make Ramen from Scratch with Souvenir
Thai Cooking Classes
- Phuket: The Phuket Thai Cookery School: Daily Cooking Classes
- Bangkok: 2-Day Thai Cooking Class in a Teak House
- Bangkok: Thai Cooking Class with Authentic Market Experience
- Koh Chang: Cooking Class at a Thai Cuisine School
- Chiang Mai: Authentic Thai Cooking Class & Local Market Tour
Indonesian Cooking Classes
- From Ubud: Balinese Cooking Class at an Organic Farm
- From Ubud: Authentic Cooking Class in a Local Village
Vietnamese Cooking Classes
- Hanoi: Half-Day Cooking Class
- Hoi An: Home Cooking Class with Market Visit
- Nha Trang: 4-Hour Vietnamese Cooking Class
- Ho Chi Minh City: Farm-to-Table Full-Day Cooking Class & Cu Chi Tunnels
Cooking Schools and Cooking Classes in Europe
Italy, Tuscany – Chicca
Bolgheri and Castagneto Carducci are at the heart of the area’s “Oil and Wine Road” (La Strada del Vino) along Tuscany, Italy’s Etruscan Coast. This is one of the best regions to dive deeper into the top quality ingredients and food heritage of Italy. To do just that, we highly recommend the cooking classes and food tours by Chicca Maione of Cooking In Tuscany. Her collaborative home-cooked meal experiences are sure to delight your taste buds.
The owner of Casa Toscana, Chicca, is a charismatic host and fantastic home cook. She lives on the main floor of her Tuscan farm house, where she hosts cooking classes from her self-designed kitchen, and she rents out two self-contained apartments above. Cooking with Chicca is an interactive cultural experience ending in a feast for the whole family. A short but vigorous hike up the hill from the house is a charming little village with cafes where you can truly experience Tuscany off the beaten path. This is a great area to relax a bit, enjoy great food, and make lasting memories.
My husband and I had the opportunity to stay with Chicca and take part in a number of her cooking classes and tours. The delicious dishes we made ranged from hand-rolled pasta to chocolate almond cake. The recipes come from past generations in Chicca’s family, and the ingredients come from the garden or local Italian producers. This is truly a food experience we’ll never forget!
England, London – Sauce
I recently did a cooking class at Sauce by The Langham Hotel, in Marylebone, London. Sauce is a cookery school in the centre of London where you can master your knife, baking or pasta making skills. They have lots of different classes so you can learn more about the different types of food in England. This time though, I was learning how to make Canadian lobster poutine.
Classes include all the equipment and ingredients, and a glass of wine or two, too. You’ll be in a group of no more than 10. The class I joined was great. We were taught by one of the most famous TV chefs in Canada, Chuck Hughes. He was fun and taught us so much about what goes into a true Canadian lobster poutine.
With stories of his cooking skills, life and kitchens he entertained us for hours. And then it was our turn. I really enjoyed cooking the food, and of course, eating it afterwards. So tasty and the quality of the ingredients shined through.
Chuck was great, the food was fab, it was really interesting and we didn’t even have to clean up after ourselves – dreams. I laughed, I ate, and I drank lots of wine. Dream day!
Sauce regularly run classes with celebrity chefs, so if you want to make your cultural immersion into England even deeper, then splash out on a foodie experience for a day out in London!
Written by Vicky, from Flip Flop Travels
Book your next Europe Cooking School experience
Italian Cooking Classes
- Florence: Tuscan Cooking Class, with Florence Market visit
- Florence: Traditional Tuscan Cooking Class in a Winery
- Bologna: 3–Day Cooking Class
- Verona: 2-Hour Gelato Making Class
- Florence: Tuscan Cooking Course with Dinner
- Sorrento Coast: Cooking Class
- Naples: Pizza Making Workshop and Lunch
- Bologna: 5 Days Cooking Class With Traditional Balsamic Vinegar Visit
French Cooking Classes
- Paris: 2-Hour French Pastry Cooking Class
- Paris 2.5-Hour Unique Macaron Cooking Class
- Paris: Hands on, small group cooking class
Spanish Cooking Classes
- San Sebastian: Basque Pintxos Tasting & Cooking Class
- Madrid: Traditional Spanish Cuisine, 3-Hour Cooking Class
- Madrid: Half-Day Spanish Cooking Class
- Valencia: Valencian Paella Cooking Class
Greek Cooking Classes
- Arcadia: Traditional Local Cooking Class and Feast
- Messinia: Organic Cooking Class and Traditional Local Feast
- Crete: Bygone Adventure with Cooking Class
Cooking Schools and Cooking Classes in the America’s
Peru – Choco Museo
You probably know that chocolate comes from cacao beans, but did you know that the cacao probably started growing in the foothills of the Andean mountains 100 million years ago. (Yes, that’s in the time of the dinosaurs)
That’s the kind of fun Peru fact you learn during the totally awesome chocolate making tours offered at the Choco Museo (Chocolate Museum) in Cusco, Peru. We did a super fun workshop called ‘From bean to bar’, which as the name indicates, you follow the process of changing a simple cacao bean through to a delicious moulded chocolate.
Our bubbly instructor started out by showing us which varieties of the cacao bean are in Peru, to roasting the beans (we all got to stir the pot). After that we shelled the beans, then ground them up (it was hard work) before making a chocolate paste. Finally we poured our own chocolates…! And do you know what the “icing on the cake” of this tour was – we came back a couple hours later and got to pick up the chocolates to take home!
These Choco Museo tours are an awesome way for kids to learn about the world, and of course about the simple cocoa bean that becomes the chocolate that is such a big part of our (Western diets.) this is totally my kind of ‘worldschool’ tour and it is recommended for all families visiting Cusco with Kids, and especially for Chocoholics!
The Choco Museo in Cusco was so popular it has since expanded across Latin America, and there are similar museums and chocolate making tours in places like Lima, Antigua Guatemala, and Granada Nicaragua.
Written by Ariana, from World of Travels with Kids
Peru, Lima – Cusco
Peru has recently become one the leading culinary destinations in South America, if not the world. With the popularity of ceviche and the superstar status of Peruvian chefs like Gaston Acurio one thing you must do while in Peru is take part in a cooking class.
Lima is the heart of the Peruvian culinary revolution, and there are a lot of great food tours and cooking classes in Lima Peru. In my case I did a food tour and cooking class in the stunning and cultural city of Cusco while spending a few days acclimatising before a trek.
While some Cusco cooking classes have a well-stocked pantry on the premises, our class started in the wonderful San Pedro market, in the historical centre of Cusco. Having a food tour at the beginning of the class was just awesome! The range of foods in the market were amazing, from jungle fruits, to salted high mountain cheeses, right through a range of different ‘exotic’ foods like frogs legs and various cuts of meat.
From the San Pedro market we travelled to a Cusco residential area to the “Rooftop Kitchen” on the 11th story of an apartment block – the kitchen had stunning views over Cusco, especially as the sun set.
We prepared a series of fusion gourmet dishes using regional products, and as someone who is not a “foodie”, much less competent in the kitchen I felt both competent and enthusiastic.
First up on the menu were Pisco Sours, which were made with great gusto, and helped the group bond a little sipping them out watching sunset. From here we made a Fennel and Olive trout Tiradito, with red quinoa and red wine glazed turnips. A tiradito is a Peruvian dish of raw fish (like ceviche) but cut in the shape of sashimi. The main course was Red Quinoa “quinotto” (Quinua Risotto) with wild mushrooms and blue cheese. It was simple to make, and yet appeared so fancy when finished.
If you are not a great home cook, I want to assure you that these Peru cooking classes will be fine for you and you should totally give it a go while in Peru! You will not regret it.
Written by Ariana, from Apus Peru
Cuba, Trinidad – Milagro Tamayo
One of the best food experiences I’ve had is cooking in Trinidad Cuba. Milagro Tamayo has a casa particular here with rooms to rent and she teaches people how to cook out of her family kitchen below.
The family often joins in if they are around and so you get a great experience of being in a local home, learning how to cook local food and talking to them about their life in the city.
As it was low season I was the only person in the class and was able to request what I wanted to make, subject to availability as supply in Cuba is not always steady. I chose fufu for the appetizer, ropa vieja as the main course and flan for dessert.
When I arrived they greeted me with a classic Cuban drink from Trinidad called a canchanchara, which they later showed me how to make later on. We also made several other bonus dishes like traditional corn fritters.
The class was 3 hours long and only $30 before tip. Family came in and out, each sharing their favourite foods or giving me advice on where to eat in Trinidad and Havana. It was really nice to visit a home and learn from people. Afterwards we all sat down to a fantastic meal. Thankfully I have the recipes now to recreate this at home.
Written by Ayngelina, from Bacon Is Magic
Book your next Cooking School experience in the America’s
- New Orleans Lunch & Lesson: Cajun & Creole Cooking Class
- New Orleans: Culinary Experience and Cocktail Tour
- Cancun: 6 Course Mexican Cooking Class and Feast