Culinary Arts Classes on Land and Sea

Granted, for some folks vacation means sitting by the ocean and doing absolutely nothing. But for others, vacation means the chance to explore a passion. If your passion is the culinary arts, plenty of cooking schools and travel agents are waiting to fulfill your summertime food fantasies. However, not all of those cooking schools offer what real chefs-in-the-making want. Here's how to find a summer cooking experience that's right for you.

Tips for Culinary Arts Explorers

Since the sky hardly limits the costs on high-end culinary arts vacations (one "Dive & Dine" program costs $3,000 per couple), you'll want to find out what you're getting for your money before you head out on the high seas. By contrast, a day-long seminar can cost as little as $150. If your bliss is sampling quesadillas on Mexican beaches or trying seafood stew at a Mediterranean port of call, a cruise ship culinary arts experience might be just your vacation style.

Cooking Schools or Cooking Demonstrations?

If what you're looking for is hands-on cooking experience, read the fine print. Some cooking "schools" only offer demonstrations. You'll taste, but you won't touch. Another caveat from culinary arts traveler Joyce Barnathan: be prepared to resist hard-sell marketing of food and cooking products. Also, ask about the kitchen and the menu, since the point of hands-on cooking school vacations is to take the experience home with you.

At-Home Cooking Schools

If the price of gas means a summer getaway isn't likely for you this summer, you can still find plenty of summer stimulation in a culinary arts class. Your fellow student chefs just might become your culinary arts "family." Just such bonding experiences happen spontaneously when culinary study brings culinary artists together.

Either way, on the road or at home, do your homework and make cooking schools compete for your vacation dollars.


  • "Cooking School: Don't Get Burned," by Joyce Barnathan. Business Week 3851 (Sep 19, 2005).
  • "Cooking Up A Vacation," by Amy Cortese. Business Week 3978 (Apr 3, 2006).