One day, while lounging on my couch and watching 700 cooking videos online (yes I have quite the passion), it occurred to me that I was missing out. As this woman made Paella in her kitchen; all of sudden I was transported back into history where Spanish cuisine is being cooked up like never before! I started researching immediately–finding cheap flights so I too could experience the authentic nature of telling a story through food.
Here is why I think taking a cooking class is the best thing you can do on your next vacation:
Food is a reflection of its culture; the stories, the smells, the sounds.
With a local teacher you will learn firsthand family stories of the history of their food and how they craft the most delicious dishes. You will leave with a sense of awe of the culture. Taking my class at the beginning of my trip helped me appreciate the local dishes and menus better and improve my overall dining experience.
You Meet Other Travelers
A cooking class is a fantastic way to meet people from all over the world. It’s a unique experience and you undoubtedly end up chatting with your neighbors, sharing your dishes, and your travel stories. Some classes encourage this by having some of the meals made together!
You Contribute to Cultural Preservation
When you take a cooking class in another country, you are showing support for their culture. This is powerful because it communicates a sense of value to the locals and shows that you are interested in them, their culture, and their way of life.
I always love seeing the look of surprise and delight on the faces of the locals that I’ve asked questions on my trip. For them, it is a meaningful interaction that goes beyond the typical waitressing or entertaining services that they provide for tourists.
ing cla on vacation
Bonus: 5 Things to Keep in Mind for Your Cooking Class
When choosing your class, one thing to look out for is the structure of the course. While some cooking classes have flexible arrangements and use smaller cooking studios or the instructor’s house, others have a cooking studio with predetermined class structures. Some will take you to the local farmers’ market to pick out your ingredients, while others will have them ready for you.
Choose the one you are most comfortable with, and that aligns with your trip schedule.
From my traveling experience, I have seen classes taught by non-professionals but offer classes as a side hustle. Other classes are taught by professional chefs who are certified to teach. Both are great options. If you are looking to take an entire course, I recommend learning from a professional who can teach you unique cooking If you are seeking a more local and flexible experience, non-certified will also provide a rich experience.
Another thing to consider when taking a cooking class is the language of the class. Be sure to check in advance if the instructor speaks English or provide a translator for the duration of the class. Some instructors have a basic working knowledge of English, but don’t be afraid to try a little local language too as it shows respect for the culture.
Classes Have Optional Market Visits
Some cooking classes do not allow for market runs before classes. Instead, they give your prepped ingredients to work with.Other cooking classes allow extra time for market runs where you get to pick up and learn about local ingredients. This is a great way to knock two excursions out at once, as local markets can be bustling and fun. Don’t expect a lot of free time here though.
These tend to be more hands-on and allow you to build a relationship with you class. You also get to meet the vendors and maybe even practice your Spanish!
Cooking Classes Can be Tailored To Meet Your Needs
When choosing a cooking class, some tutors allow you to make a special request. That means that you can request vegan and dietary options that suit your lifestyle, a couple’s cooking session as a fun date night. Be aware and respectful that changes, especially last minute, may cost extra. Be sure to speak to your instructor in advance.
cooking class on vacation cooking class on vacation cooking class on vacation cooking class on vacation cooking class on vacation cooking class on vacation cooking class on vacation
Read next: How to spend 4 weeks in Thailand.