|Guest Experiences: Cooking Like a Local at Luxury Hotels.|
By Melanie Nayer ~ Weekly Exclusive Column
Wednesday, 20th June 2012
When it comes to food, luxury hotels are known to go all out: from farm-to-table cuisine to celebrity chefs and themed events, hotel restaurants are turning the traditional act of dining into a glamourous affair.
But recently, restaurants have turned the tables on guests and allowed diners to take the helm for a day.
More hotels are putting the menu in guests' hands - and not just to choose what they want to eat. Cooking classes at hotels have become a popular option for luxury guests seeking a new experience. From hour-long sessions to half-day demonstrations complete with wine pairings, luxury hotels are making the most of their culinary team by inviting hotel guests into the kitchen.
The in-house cooking trend isn't new, by any means. It really took off a few years ago when travel and cooking shows became more mainstream.
More travelers found themselves eager to try the outrageous local delicacies in some of world's remote locations, and many just wanted to don a chef's hat for the day and learn some new culinary skills (the most popular request: scallops, a la celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay).
To cater to this growing trend of guests-turned-chefs, hotels, resorts and inns put cooking classes on their menu, offering a new way for guests to take in a bit of local flare.
So, where can you go to cook like a local? Anywhere. If you're interested in a cooking lesson with the hotel's chef, simply ask for one. Most luxury hotels will happily take you inside the kitchen, or even out shopping for ingredients, so you can get a glimpse of what living the hotel food and beverage life is like.
A few of the more intriguing hotel cooking classes include:
Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.
- Learning traditional Thai cooking techniques and preparing a five-course meal with a Thai chef at all-suite Bangkok luxury hotel lebua. Led by Chef de Cuisine Prayong Khundongling, the three-hour class is taught in both English and Thai. www.lebua.com
- Garden alongside locals at the bio-garden at Radisson Blu Tala Bay Resort in Aqaba Jordan, then learn to cook traditional Jordan dishes like Mansaff (roast lamb in a saffron yogurt sauce) using the fruits of your labor. www.radissonblu.com/resort-aqaba
- Shop Barcelona's legendary Boqueria with Spanish Chef Roberto Holz, then prepare a Mediterranean lunch at Hotel Arts Barcelona. www.hotelartsbarcelona.com
- Hunt for honey at a local bee farm to prepare a Southeast Asian meal at Cambodia's Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor. www.raffles.com
- Fish for wild trout and learn to make homemade chowder at the Guinness family's 18th C estate-turned-hotel in Cong, Ireland: www.lisloughreylodge.com
- "Dive and dine" for your own spiny lobster at Four Seasons Nevis, then prepare it at a traditional Caribbean barbecue. www.fourseasons.com/nevis
- Explore the on-site garden and cook local Mauritius cuisine with the chef at Shanti Maurice. www.shantimaurice.com
Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com