Non-degree courses or cooking retreats, internships for intermediate cooks?

What are some of your dream/aspirational culinary learning experiences? I'd love to take a long vacation to get to know one type of cooking REALLY well, learning from experts near or far (this is a long-term goal, so I'd love ANY thoughtful suggestions). Baking bread might be my first choice, learning from masters. I'm also into world (vegetarian) cuisines, but very wary of overpriced eating tourism retreat-"classes." I'd need to really learn skills that would enhance my cooking and life. I'd put myself in the intermediate cook category, knowing how to prepare almost every meal I eat by myself, adventurous with "from scratch" foods (i.e. never buy bread, have dabbled happily in soymilk making, etc.).



susan G. April 20, 2012
Closer to home, King Arthur does many classes for breads and other baking. I know that sagegreen has been there, happily.
Reiney April 20, 2012
I share your skepticism of culinary tourism packages. I've taken cooking classes in a number of countries, pitched to various skill levels. Your requirement for vegetarian courses puts a bit of a spanner in the works, but I'll contribute these anyway.

My two favourites:

Chiang Mai, Thailand - Thai Cookery School
*Masters* classes - not the day school, which is entertaining for someone who doesn't know anything about cooking Thai food but not at the level you're seeking. I did 4 out of the 5 master classes and they were *excellent*.

Nimmy Paul - Kerala, South India
You can read my account of the school on my blog (
I suspect she could accommodate a vegetarian menu pretty easily. Note: this isn't terribly hands on but you do learn a lot.

susan G. April 20, 2012
Just a PS about Nimmy Paul -- her husband Pauljoseph is a generous contributor to food52 (find him by searching Cooks, upper right). They have a website and I have seen many beautiful photos he has taken, some showing their cooking classes. I just made his Egg Curry posted here -- heads above most recipes.
HalfPint April 20, 2012
If you're interested in bread, check out The Baking Institute located in South San Francisco. They have intensive, non-degree workshops that are excellent. I've taken a few 2 day workshops (baguettes and pies/tarts) and had great experiences. They teach breads, pastry (viennoisserie, sp?), even gelato & ice cream. Here's the website:

The workshops might seem pricey, but when you break it down to hourly pricing (you basically put in 8-9 hours per day in hands-on learning), it's a bargain and a good value.
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