Cooking up gourmet adventures across the West

Cooking classes are sprouting like shiitake mushrooms across the West, often in gorgeous locations. For travelers who want to plan their gourmet adventures, we’ve found restaurants, hotels, lodges, resorts and culinary academies where they can improve their home-chef skills with hands-on lessons, demonstrations or tutoring by noted chefs.


The Cavallo Point Cooking School, at the Cavallo Point Lodge in the Golden Gate National Parks, holds both demonstration and hands-on sessions two or three times a week in its 1,200-square-foot classroom. Offerings may include cioppino, risotto, the foods of Venice, Italy, tapas and cava, as well as locally grown seasonal foods paired with California wines. As a break, you can walk around the grounds for stunning views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Cavallo Point Cooking School, 601 Murray Circle, Fort Baker, Sausalito; (888) 651-2003, Classes $65-$145.

L’Auberge Carmel’s monthly classes are taught by chefs in the kitchen of the hotel’s Aubergine restaurant. The sweet and savory themes may cover puff pastry, French cakes, homemade marshmallows or soda-fountain treats, or Dungeness crab, raw fish, sake or umami, the newly discovered fifth-taste sense.


L’Auberge, Monte Verde at Seventh, Carmel; (831) 624-8578, Classes $100.

Shadow executive chef William Bradley of the Addison restaurant at the luxurious Grand Del Mar resort in the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. Hands-on training covers basic chef’s techniques as well as a behind-the-scenes look at how a high-end restaurant’s kitchen works.

Addison, Grand Del Mar, 5300 Grand Del Mar Court, San Diego; (858) 314-1919 or (858) 314-1900, $700 per person per day, two-day minimum. Tuesdays-Saturdays only.

British Columbia, Canada

Angling for a combination fishing and culinary tour? The West Coast Fishing Club runs just that at its upscale lodge near the northwest tip of the rugged Haida Gwaii archipelago (formerly called the Queen Charlotte Islands) in British Columbia. Dates are July 22-26, and the trip includes hands-on gourmet cooking classes with chef David Hawksworth as well as food and wine seminars, a lighthouse tour, beachcombing and relaxing in the spa. Wild salmon is always on the menu.

The Clubhouse, Langara Island, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada; (888) 432-6666, $6,500 per person, including lodging, cooking lessons and fishing guide.


Drive 222 miles from Anchorage to Homer. Follow that with a 25-minute water-taxi ride across Kachemak Bay to reach a former crabbing boat that’s now the Cooking School at Tutka Bay. Here, from mid-May through the end of September, visitors can create a three-course lunch primarily from local Alaskan fare: crab, scallops, salmon, halibut, Kachemak Bay oysters, berries, honey, carrots, beets and other vegetables.

Tutka Bay Lodge, (907) 274-2710, Weekend cooking classes open to the public (as well as lodge guests). Classes are $225, which includes the water-taxi ride from Homer.

Winterlake Lodge, along the Iditarod Trail on the southwestern side of the Alaska Range, offers daily cooking lessons in summer. Run by the same family as Tutka Bay Lodge, it specializes in local seafood. The lodge also is open from Feb. 1-April 15 for winter activities.

Winterlake Lodge, (907) 274-2710, Classes at no additional charge for guests. Lodge rates start at $1,395 per person per night and include air transportation, lodging, meals, individual guide service and use of lodge equipment.


On three weekends in spring and fall (May 11 and 12, June 15 and 16, Sept. 21 and 22), Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes, on 82 tree-covered acres on San Juan Island, offers Gourmet Glamping, or glamour camping: two nights “camping” in a canvas cabin and chef Kyle Nicholson teaching gourmet campfire cuisine. Last year’s dinner fare included Dungeness crab-stuffed sweet peppers, Snake River Farms steaks and grilled banana splits. Hiking, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, fishing and biking are also on tap.

Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes, 4313 Roche Harbor Road, Friday Harbor; (800) 617-2267 or (360) 378-2350, Cost from $449 for two people for a two-night stay.


Demonstration classes at Bob’s Red Mill in the Portland suburb of Milwaukie cover whole grains, cornmeal, Indian cuisine, exotic grains, gluten-free desserts and more. Free tours of Bob’s stone-grinding mill (one mile east) are offered at 10 a.m. Mondays-Fridays.

Bob’s Red Mill, 5000 SE International Way, Milwaukie; (800) 553-2258 or (503) 607-6455, Classes $20-40.

Cooking classes at In Good Taste in Lake Oswego range from a 90-minute Basics of Cooking to a weeklong Culinary Boot Camp with an emphasis on farmers markets, safe and proper use of knives, Pacific Northwest seafood, cheesemaking, gourmet salts, local wines and Italian, Thai, Argentine and Korean cuisines.

In Good Taste, 6302 SW Meadows Road, Lake Oswego; (503) 248-2015, Single-session classes $25-$135; Boot Camp $1,250.


On the north side of Tucson, along the base of the Santa Catalina mountains, Westward Look Resort executive chef James Wallace and landscape manager Raymundo Ocampo show budding chefs how to pick the ripest fruit and vegetables from the on-site garden. Classes focus on how to develop a different culinary skill, such as creating great marinade or grilling meat and vegetables. Westward Look Resort, 245 E. Ina Road, Tucson; (800) 481-0636 or (520) 297-1151, Classes $39.


Boulder is known for its outdoor activities, but there’s also a large foodie culture. At Escoffier Boulder, locals and visitors alike can take short classes in roasting, sautéing, braising, poaching, flambéing, cheesemaking, boning fish and flipping omelets as well as preparing vegetarian dishes and international cuisines such as dim sum.

Escoffier Boulder, 637 S. Broadway, Suite H, Boulder, (877) 249-0305, Classes from $25.

Baja California, Mexico

The chef at Las Ventanas al Paraíso, a luxury beach resort in Los Cabos, gives newly married men lessons on how to make a romantic breakfast. If that’s not enough, executive chef Fabrice Guisset also can guide a guest in creating a gourmet meal for two, which will be prepared and served in its aromatic herb garden.

Las Ventanas al Paraíso, San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico, (888) 767-3966, Rooms for two from $855. Men in White is $85 a person plus a $135 set-up and consultation fee. Cooking classes are $340 a couple.