Food has an undeniable intimacy: Rolling up your sleeves and learning about a locale’s offerings provides a glimpse into its history, cultures and hospitality — and you’re rewarded for your efforts with a meal to remember. From Tennessee to Thailand, we present a collection of some of the coolest cooking classes to plan a trip around.
Learn Luau-worthy recipes in Honolulu Kapi’olani Community College in Honolulu, Hawaii, counts some of the state’s revered chefs as its alumni, among them Alan Wong, Sam Choy and Wayne Hirabayashi. Sign up for a continuing-education class to learn about traditional Hawaiian fare, including key lime avocado pie and coconut lilikoi macarons. US$60 808-734-9211, kapiolani.hawaii.edu
Get BBQ lessons from a Tennessee pit master There’s no better place to master fire than in Tennessee. Here, George Ewart, co-founder of Knoxville’s Dead End BBQ, trains enthusiasts of the South’s best barbecue in his “Backyard to Competition” classes. You’ll master ribs, brisket-wrapped scallops, his competition-winning chicken and more. US$100 865-212-5655, deadendbbq.com
Spice it up in Thailand A welcome cocktail at Spice Spoons in Ko Phangan, Thailand, sets the stage for its two-hour cooking classes. Students learn the alchemy that makes Thai food so addictive — that perfect balance of salty, sweet, spicy and pungent. Guided by a master Thai chef, you’ll learn how to make tod man pla (Thai fishcakes), tom kha gai (coconut chicken soup) or yam mamuang pla krob (crispy fish with spicy mango salad), then enjoy the results of your hard work over a bottle of malaga blanc, a local Thai wine. THB2,800 +66 77 239 555, phangan-rasananda.anantara.com
Bask in Basque Biarritz, France, is the hub of classic Basque cuisine. In a three-hour session, local chef Richard Daulay welcomes students into a huge kitchen to school them in transforming regional organic ingredients like freshly caught small squid and local veal into traditional dishes like tender veal axoa de veau and quintessential French seafood, chipirons à la plancha. €85 +33 (0)6 95 45 54 99, biarritzbylocals.com
Catch and cook your own lobster in the West Indies At the Four Seasons Resort Nevis, you can learn to lasso your own lobster during a two-tank dive. Once you’ve dried off, sip cocktails on the beach while chef Jason Adams prepares the fruits of your adventure. He’ll teach you his recipe for a Nevisian barbecue glaze, made with fresh ingredients from a local organic farm, while grilling the day’s catch. Spiny lobster and lion fish are frequently on the menu. US$1,950 per couple, including day use (from 9 a.m. to sunset) of one of the resort’s four private Beach Houses 869-469-1111, fourseasons.com/nevis/