Kitchens have invaded television sets—in the past six months, Sanjeev Kapoor, Zee Network and the Alva Brothers have launched 24-hour food channels in quick succession, lifestyle channels are increasing their food and cooking programming, and the Top Chef franchise re-entered Indian consciousness last week when Floyd Cardoz won the American show for making an upma remix.
Fun as it is to watch really good food taking shape on a TV set, there’s no substitute to doing it yourself. And as good as TV chefs are, they can’t give you personalized attention. The solution? A cooking holiday that combines cooking classes, shopping for local ingredients and a resort experience.
Cooking holidays are still niche experiences. The people who’ve been taking them so far have usually been Europeans, not Indians, and the prices are targeted at European tourists, even in lower-cost destinations such as India and Thailand. That said, the cooking holiday is a travel option that’s different and exciting. Lounge explores some options.
Food trail: (clockwise from left) At The Pimenta, Kerala; parippu vada and aubergines and cashew nuts. Photographs : Courtesy www.thepimenta.in
Located not too far away from the forested areas of the Kerala ghats, The Culina is an organic farm resort. It conducts four-day and eight-day courses on Kerala’s vegetarian cuisine, which are combined with visits to local spice gardens and factories, produce markets, and handicraft workshops. The prices, starting at Rs27,000 per person for a three-day course (inclusive of boarding and lodging), are steep, but you’re assured of personalized attention in the kitchen: No more than eight people are allowed to take the course at a time.
For details, visit www.keralacookingholidays.com
Thai Cooking Holidays
Thai Cooking Holidays has tied up with the Bangkok training school of the Blue Elephant, one of Europe’s top Thai restaurants. You can do a one-day intensive cooking course there on your regular Thailand vacation, or a seven-day course at the Thailand Culinary School at Chiang Mai in which you’ll learn to prepare more than 30 classic Thai recipes.
For details, visit www.thaicookingholidays.co.uk
On The Menu
A cuisine-focused offshoot of established tour operator On The Go, On The Menu runs cooking holidays all over the world. It started with Goa holidays for curry-mad Britishers, but now conducts courses in countries such as Italy, Mexico, Australia and Morocco. Visit their website (www.holidayonthemenu.com) for a complete list of courses and prices.
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