It’s never too late to make those New Year’s resolutions. Whether yours is to travel more or to learn a new skill, we have a plan for you — why not do both? Hotels around the world are expanding their culinary offerings with courses and programming to help improve your repertoire in the kitchen — and you’ll enjoy a vacation to boot.
So, whether you’re looking to kick those skills up a notch or learn a new cuisine, these courses and schools have something for even the most experienced of cooks.
Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
Where better to learn the art of Thai cuisine than in Bangkok? From ingredient preparation to finishing touches, this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel’s cooking school takes an interactive approach. You’ll learn how to grind spices into paste, gain secrets into the art of traditional cooking styles like stir-fry and find out how to perfectly meld Southeast Asia’s unique flavors.
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
When you enroll at the Jimbaran Bay Cooking Academy at this idyllic Five-Star Bali escape, you’ll get more than just hands-on experience with authentic Indonesian fare. Your lessons will begin with a tour of the nearby Jimbaran Fish Market, where you’ll source seafood for your dishes and visit the extensive onsite herb and vegetable gardens, where many ingredients for your cooking adventure are grown.
You’ll then prepare an original recipe from the amazingly patient chef Kris or one of the other talented teachers, who will design rotating menus inspired by their home regions across Indonesia.
Afterward, take your meal to the outdoor garden for an inspired lunch or dinner.
The Inn at Dos Brisas
This Four-Star hotel just outside of Houston may have fewer than a dozen rooms, but it packs a big attraction for cooks — a 42-acre, USDA-certified organic farm and cooking school.
Not only does the farm supply most of the ingredients for Texas’ only Five-Star restaurant, but it also provides inspiration for intimate classes with the property’s chef or baking instruction with the inn’s pastry team.
Life at this Four-Star country inn near Knoxville is distinctly luxurious and designed for high-end foodies. In addition to its regularly rotating array of celebrity guest chefs (David Chang, Daniel Boulud and Rick Bayless have all been recently featured), the resort offers the culinary-minded a variety of activities, ranging from guided farm tours to weekly cooking demonstrations and full-day chef shadowing. You can even work with the resort’s famed Lagotto Romagnolo dogs, which are bred onsite and trained to hunt for truffles.
The Resort at Paws Up
Head West to Greenough, Montana, and you’ll get a taste of authentic dude ranch life. In addition to cattle roundups, glamping, whitewater rafting, ATV riding and even visiting a real-life ghost town, this luxe country retreat plans a wide array of food-focused programming.
On January 25 to 28, the resort will host the popular Winter Fest, where you can enjoy three and a half days of cooking and wine experiences. Past culinary weekends have featured classes on becoming a grill master and transforming into a pie-baking guru.
Borgo Santo Pietro
There’s no better place to learn the fundamentals of Italian cuisine than at a Tuscan resort surrounded by acres of organic farmland, vineyards, olive groves and vegetable fields.
At the enchanting Borgo Santo Pietro, you’ll learn the fine art of pasta making with a real Italian mamma. Prepare your own gnudi (dumplings) stuffed with ricotta or go for gourmet with handmade tagliolini topped with local tartufo (truffles).
Courses change each day and vary with the seasons. In the spring, for example, you might try cheese making with milk from the resort’s own cows and sheep, whereas, in the fall, you may learn how to make the most of the produce from the property’s extensive gardens.
Adults and children alike can participate in boot-camp-style programming designed for novice cooks up to experienced chefs. You’ll learn everything from how to mise-en-place to figuring out the way to prepare meals for a crowd.
Those who don’t wish to spare an entire weekend can take advantage of à la carte programming (like the upcoming deep dive into vegan fare). There are even dedicated courses just for little chefs.
Restaurant Guy Savoy
When you enter this Five-Star Caesars Palace establishment, it’s easy to be intimidated by its shiny awards and pressed linens. But step inside of executive chef Julien Asseo’s “office” for a fun, informal cooking session and any stresses will be put to ease.
During your class in the haven of stainless steel and expensive toys, you’ll laugh, you’ll sample and you’ll learn a lot about lamb. After chef reveals a few trade secrets and an assistant explains how you’ve been cutting carrots incorrectly all these years, enjoy the fruits (and vegetables and proteins) of your labor at the elegant Krug Chef’s Table.
El Pueblito’s Cooking School
Visit the luxury resort community of Riviera Maya’s Mayakoba and you’ll find plenty of high-end dining at lavish area resorts, such as the Five-Star Rosewood, Four-Star Banyan Tree or the elegant Fairmont. But one of the best ways to truly dive into the local culture is at the El Pueblito’s Cooking School, a place that specializes in authentic Mexican cuisine.
Choose from a variety of one-day themed courses that revolve around a host of tasty topics, like the flavors of cocoa and mole, cooking with huitlacoche (often called “Mexican truffle”) or the art of street tacos. You’ll even find a dedicated “Pro” series for more experienced chefs.
Vacation like a royal at Chewton Glen, a Relais & Châteaux-manor-turned-resort in Hampshire, U.K. The property’s new cooking complex, appropriately dubbed “The Kitchen,” is helmed by English chef and television personality James Martin.
The 12-station school gives classes in areas like entertaining (learn skills to impress guests), wellbeing (where you can fulfill that other New Year’s resolution of shedding a few pounds) and exploring (discover everything from local delicacies to exotic flavors). There’s even a popular celebrity chef series, during which you’ll get to work with top toques from across the nation.