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Cook by the Book at These Favorite Cooking Schools

Traveling groups don’t want to simply stare at attractions out the windows of a motorcoach. They want to get off and have a fun, hands-on encounter they’ll never forget. Cooking schools are perfect for that because, quite frankly, who doesn’t love good food?

These outstanding schools offer memorable behind-the-scenes group experiences.


Viking Cooking School

Greenwood Mississippi

Named after the famous line of Viking stoves and kitchen appliances, the Viking Cooking School is part of the beautiful Alluvian hotel, spa and restaurant. The school is a great way for a group to throw a fabulous dinner party. It’s ideal for many groups — employee team building, board meetings, showers, parties and luncheons.

“We have classes that typically run in the mornings and evenings from Thursdays through Saturdays,” said May McCarty, who handles marketing for Alluvian.

The best part for students is that they sit and enjoy the meal they’ve prepared and receive a meal sheet listing the ingredients, measurements and steps necessary to prepare it again at home.

Several exclusive culinary events, where celebrated guest chefs work their magic, are planned throughout the year.

New Orleans School of Cooking

New Orleans

People the world over travel to New Orleans for a good time, and delicious Louisiana food is one of the reasons. One way to experience it is with a visit to the “classrooms” of the New Orleans School of Cooking, located in a renovated molasses warehouse built in the early 1800s in the French Quarter.

“We have demonstration classes where you watch one of our dozen chefs at work,” said marketing director Jeanne Arceneaux. “They have different personalities, and they’re entertaining. It lasts two and a half hours, and you eat everything they cook, a full meal.” Other classes are for 10 or more people and are hands-on, with guests cooking an entire meal themselves.

Culinary Institute of America

San Antonio, Texas

Whether you’re a novice cook or baker, a gourmet or just love to eat, the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) is calling. Its Saturday Kitchens program or its Parent and Teen Days provide expert guidance and instruction as students are outfitted in official CIA aprons and chefs’ hats and get down to work.

There is a popular program ideal for small groups called Culinary Boot Camp. It is a full day of cooking action, education and camaraderie, all taught by expert chefs.

For students who like Indian or Italian cuisine, pizza and pasta, soups and sauces, delectable desserts or healthy eating or who would love to learn to select a wine for a meal, there’s a class for each of them.

Dan Dickson

Dan has been a communicator all his professional life, first as an award-winning radio and TV news reporter for two decades and then as a communications director for several non-profits for another decade. He has contributed to The Group Travel Leader Inc. publications since 2007.