The little known cooking schools worth travelling for

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There’s no better way to experience a culture than through its cuisine. How people grow, prepare and enjoy their food gives a special insight into their lives, which is why so many travellers can’t wait to get into the kitchen when visiting a new destination. Here’s six of the best cooking classes from around the world. Words by Danielle Norton.

French cooking classes in Uzès

In the south of France, food is of utmost importance and dessert is a reward after a good meal. Using nuts, oil, and fruit, as well as safran and lavender, this cooking school teaches how to make the perfect nougat glacè, and fougasse d’aigues mortes (like a brioche with floral extracts). Take yourself on a culinary vacation. Try the seven night package and go home with a little bit of France in your heart.

Khao Lak – Thailand

Pui’s Cooking School in Khao Lak north of Phuket is the only one in the region that offers students the chance to choose their own dishes to cook. After trailing Pui through the local market where spice pastes, vegetables, fruit, meat and seafood are artfully displayed, return to her home and let her guide you through the recipes until your authentic Thai feast is laid upon the table for lunch. It’s a pleasure to eat on the verandah of her lovely home, an oasis tucked away from the heat and commotion of Khao Lak’s main street.

Apia – Samoa

One of Samoa’s finest chefs, Chef John, loves to show people through the fresh food markets and introduce them to the foods of his childhood: coconut, breadfruit, papaya and taro. If you prefer to be less hands on, Chef John will cook for you while you enjoy the local attractions, swim in the sea or a local cave pool, or just relax in a beach side fale. Enjoy his signature dish, grilled masimasi fish with special Samoan ginger sauce on a traditional ma’ilo plate made from banana leaves.

Amman – Jordan

The Beit Sitti cooking school, in one of Amman’s oldest neighbourhoods, is a social enterprise which employs local women who share decades of culinary knowledge as they teach their regional dishes—felafel, ouzisurar, freakehoudjaj, tabbouleh, and kibbeh. Started by three sisters, the name translates as ‘My Grandmother’s house’. Savour the delicate fragrances and textures when you eat out on the pretty terrace.


Forage through the abandon gardens of the area for wild herbs and greens then use what you have gathered to create seasonal dishes. Pasta, cheese in lemon leaves and dessert ravioli taste all the better when you have harvested and prepared them yourself. Learning about the different properties and qualities of each plant is amazing.

La Isla – Patagonia

For the elite, the rich and the famous, Frances Mallman’s barbecue cooking school is something to aspire to. On a secret and very remote island, this world renowned chef with restaurants in Miami and the south of France, offers private cooking classes for those who can afford them. At approximately AUD 63,000 for four people for five nights, it’s certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity. The accommodation is luxuriously simple and elegant, like Mallmann himself.