Why Taking Cooking Classes Is a Must for Your Next Holiday

Last Updated on December 27, 2023

Everyone needs some time off work to relax and recharge. A vacation is a blessing if you’re feeling burnt out, stressed, or simply want to give it all a break. But one can feel content relaxing under the sun and sipping cocktails only so much. After a while, your days can get too predictable, and you might run out of ideas on how to entertain yourself. 

Next time you’re vacationing, why not try to break your routine by joining a cooking class to explore the local culture and cuisine first-hand? Many studies suggest cooking can be a therapeutic activity, and the delicious outcome is only a bonus.

Let’s talk about the different reasons why cooking classes are so popular with travelers worldwide.

Cooking Classes Introduce You to the Food Culture of the Region

If you are traveling abroad, don’t just be a bystander. Take the opportunity to explore your destination and learn about its culture and history. One way to do that is by visiting different museums, landmarks, and local attractions. But did you know that interactive activities are the best for learning something new? 

When you take part in a cooking class, you get to smell, see, and hold the ingredients before they get turned into a delicious meal. By being engaged in the cooking process yourself, you’re more likely to remember, or better said, internalize the stories that tie the ingredients and the dish to the local culture you’re getting to know.

Food can teach you a lot about the history, values, and traditions of the place you’re visiting. For instance, many cooking classes start with a visit to the food market, where you’ll buy fresh ingredients from local producers. Next, you’ll visit the home of a local chef who’ll not just help you prepare a delicious traditional meal but will also cue you in on its history. It’s an authentic experience few travelers can brag about!

Cooking Classes Teach You About the Origin of Local Ingredients and Techniques

A country’s cuisine is inevitably influenced by the crops and ingredients that are locally available, but it also embraces ingredients that have been introduced to the cuisine through its encounters with different cultures in history. Take Colombian cuisine. The mouth-watering dishes we know and love owe much to the ingredients and techniques that Colombian chefs have adopted from the Portuguese.

So, let’s say you go to Japan and take a cooking class there. One of the most common ingredients in Japanese cuisine is soybeans or some kind of soybean product, such as miso, edamame, natto, tofu, or soy sauce. 

Your chef will most probably explain to you how soybeans have been cultivated in the region since ancient times as an alternative source of protein when Buddhism spread in the country, prohibiting the consumption of animal meat. Today there are all kinds of religious groups in Japan, but soybeans have kept their special place in the country’s cuisine.

Cooking Classes Teach You About Cultural Practices and Values

The cuisine can also teach you about the cultural values and customs of the place you’re visiting. For example, special occasions like traditional holidays are usually celebrated with special dishes and meals in many cultures.

Celebratory dishes usually have a story that ties them to the holiday and consequently to the region’s history. Learning to prepare these traditional celebratory dishes using local ingredients can be a great way to connect with and honor the past.

Can you think of an example of a traditional dish that’s closely related to history and rituals? What about Thanksgiving turkey? It dates back to the 1600s when the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Native Americans shared a feast to celebrate their successful harvest. The turkey prepared for Thanksgiving every year has remained a symbol of gratitude for the opportunities and things people enjoy daily. 

Similarly, the traditional dumplings made to celebrate the Chinese New Year are believed to imitate the shape of Chinese gold and silver ingots. These dumplings represent good luck, wealth, abundance, and prosperity for the coming year.

Learning to prepare a local dish, whether it’s celebratory or not, comes with many conversation starters. And what is a better way to get introduced to the cultural values of a foreign land than through a conversation around the meal you’ve just made yourself?

Cooking Classes Are a Great Way to Connect With Others

From family dinners to social gatherings, food has always been at the center of it all – whether it’s sharing a meal with our loved ones, making new friends over a delicious dish, or bonding with others who have a passion for cooking.

The next time you go on vacation with your family, invite them to take part in a cooking class with you. We guarantee it will be a fun and relaxing activity for the whole family and a perfect way to make memories together.

If you have young children, you may interest them with a gelato or macaron-making class. Or if you’re traveling with teenagers, learning the tricks to rolling the perfect sushi roll might be intriguing for them. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should only join a cooking class if you’re traveling in a group. This can be a great opportunity for solo travelers to make new acquaintances. You might meet others who are trying to get to know the place just like you, as well as locals who’ll have the best recommendations to share. Learning together and eating together is one of the best bonding activities and the quickest way to make new friends!

Cooking Classes Sharpen Your Skills

Learning new things keeps your mind active and engaged, which in turn, improves cognitive function and prevents mental decline. Plus, why settle for being a one-trick pony when you can be a whole circus? 

As you stay curious and open-minded, you’ll feel more accomplished and self-confident. Whether it’s taking a cooking class while abroad or learning a new hobby, exploring new interests and passions adds depth and meaning to our lives.

Finally, whether you’re trying out a new recipe or just experimenting with different ingredients, cooking gives you the opportunity to be creative and try new things.

Unwind Yourself Through Cooking

Many people find that cooking and preparing food is a therapeutic and enjoyable activity that allows them to de-stress and recharge. Not only will you get to crush some garlic and pulverize some paste, but you’ll also get to taste the satisfaction of creating a dish from scratch.

Vacation is the perfect time to hone your culinary skills while you chop, dice, and mince your way to a happier you. Then you can treat yourself to your newfound ability to cook a five-star meal when you go back home. Not to mention you’ll get to try out new recipes and flavors from different cultures, making your taste buds — and possibly Instagram feed — all the happier.

Jokes aside, focusing on the present moment and the tasks at hand can be a great way to relax and tune out other distractions. Cooking can provide a sense of relaxation and mindfulness that can be really beneficial for stress management

Whether you’re an experienced cook or just starting out, there’s something relaxing about chopping, dicing, and creating a delicious meal — and sharing it with others.

Bring the Most Precious Gift Back Home: A Delicious Local Recipe

Forget souvenir t-shirts and keychains – the most precious gift you can bring back from your travels is a delicious local recipe. Not only will you have a tasty reminder of your trip, but you’ll also have the skills to impress your friends and family with a dish coming straight from the source. 

Plus, imagine all the praises you’ll get when you whip up a mouthwatering meal such as gyoza, pasta, or tagine that transports your loved ones straight to the streets of Japan, Rome, or the markets of Morocco. And let’s be real, who doesn’t love a good food story to go with their meal? 

Apart from being delicious, a well-made, authentic recipe is also a tangible reminder of your trip and the memories you made there. As you might know, smell triggers the most vivid memories, and when you think about it, is there anything more valuable than a good memory that puts a smile on your face whenever you recall it?

Over and Out!

If you’re planning to go on a vacation, we wish the best of luck to you! Hopefully, you’ll have the time of your life. As the saying goes: Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer.

But to get that richness, you must immerse yourself in the culture and even leave your comfort zone from time to time. How to do that? The easiest way is through exploring the food. It’s sure to give you a deeper understanding and appreciation of the culture’s unique characteristics.

So start exploring the food by taking a cooking course on your next vacation. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced cook, there is likely a cooking class that will be enjoyable and rewarding for you. 

If you’re looking for a cooking class to take on your next trip, go to Cookly and type in your destination. We have a wide range of cooking classes available worldwide that are suitable for people of all skill levels, tastes, and budgets. No matter your skill set, there’s a class for you!

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