With coronavirus making travel a tricky and even potentially dangerous prospect this year, we’re embracing the summer staycation via transportive flavors and travel-inspired ideas from around the world. Here, we highlight online cooking classes with international flair.
Cooking classes are an incredible way to fully immerse yourself in another culture as a traveler. Such classes offer not only a taste of how the world eats, but a sense of how the world lives, with the preparations and rituals that go into making meals. Never has it been more evident that food is something that connects and unites us in humanity.
Related Reading: The League of Kitchens’ Cooking Classes Let You Taste the World
Virtual interaction will never fully take the place of actual interaction, but while the world remains less accessible than it once was, all hail Skype, Zoom, and any other interactive media that lets us stay connected and virtually visit places we long to go. International cooking classes are still possible for staycationers this summer, as many traveler resources quickly pivoted to make their experiences available online. These opportunities provide not only much-needed enrichment for those who would otherwise travel, but also possibilities for hosts and cooks whose income relies on healthy tourism. Here are eight cooking experience platforms that offer you the opportunity to dabble in global cuisine right from the comfort of home.
Airbnb Experiences was one of my favorite elements of actual travel, with the opportunity to have unique cultural encounters hosted by locals in their hometowns. The service has quickly developed an online platform so virtual travelers can continue to indulge in these authentic activities. Cooking classes are among the most popular selections, with terrific opportunities like Balinese Vegetarian Home Cooking—I’d do this just for a closer look at the sumptuous garden—and Argentine Empanadas and Chimichurri. Additionally, other food-related experiences are available like Meet My Bees and All About Olive Oil. Hosts set their own prices, and because the service is so new, some run as low as $3 per person, with the average cost being around $15 per person. Browse all Airbnb Online Experiences for more.
Related Reading: 10 Cooking Tools from Around the World That Everyone Needs to Own
Eatwith’s traditional model is a boon for travelers, offering not only cooking classes, but opportunities to literally eat with locals in organized group dinners or tours. Its newly minted online cooking experiences “bring the world into your kitchen.” (I don’t know if they’ve seen the size of my kitchen, but I’m keen anyway.) Prices range from about $20-$30 per person, and you can imagine yourself backpacking around Europe—modify your Zoom background accordingly—as you experience live cooking instruction from London, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, etc.
With The Chef and The Dish, a chef from just about anywhere on earth can join you in your kitchen in real-time via Skype. Worldwide cuisine is represented authentically by chefs in those locations, whether you want to explore Brazilian Steakhouse, Hungarian Goulash, or Singaporean Satay. An opportunity for international social interaction, the site is also offering a class on cooking with What’s In Your Fridge right now with an international chef, featuring an improvised element and no additional shopping required. Cost runs about $150 a class for two participants.
From sushi to gnocchi, Cozymeal connects would-be food travelers with chefs via Zoom for about $29 to $39 per class, with ingredient delivery available in some cases. Most classes are led by US-based chefs, but focus on international dishes including Authentic Spanish Paella, Intro to Indian Cuisine, Crispy Orange Chicken, and Fresh Flavors of Mexico. All classes are fully interactive, and several are hosted live from Italy such as Traditional Pasta Carbonara and Handmade Sicilian Pasta.
Born in the wake of the current pandemic, this Japanese company functions similarly to AirBnb Experiences for staycationers. Home cooks from around the world offer single classes via Skype or Zoom to help you create a particular specialty dish, from bento boxes to eggs benedict. The majority of classes are Japanese focused, from popular street foods to homemade noodles, but include selections from around the globe including Poland, Thailand, and Portugal, among others. Price per class ranges from about $10 to $50.
Traveling Spoon is another resource for actual travelers that quickly pivoted to provide enriching opportunities for virtual travelers. Group and private lessons are both available, and some classes are helpfully sorted into popular categories such as Pasta Making, Vegetarian, Family Friendly, and Bread Making. For some lesser seen cooking experiences, try Moroccan Tajine, Burmese Cuisine, Georgian Khinkali Dumplings, or Goan Prawn Curry. Prices are typically $25 for the first guest, and $15 for each additional screen.
YesChef is a membership-based platform that gives members access to video cooking classes from some of the world’s most celebrated chefs. You sacrifice the interactive element of many of the above platforms, but it is made up for in high production quality and exposure to world-class cuisine from several James Beard Award-winning and Michelin-starred chefs: Nobel Peace Prize nominee Chef José Andrés, master Italian butcher Dario Cecchini, Korean BBQ specialist Edward Lee, and and “Queen of Delicious” Nancy Silverton. Currently in its pre-launch, sales are available for monthly, annual, or lifetime access passes.
Not only a cooking resource, MasterClass is a roundup of video tutorials, available for a $15 monthly membership fee, by experts in numerous fields. Each unit includes multiple classes on a topic by various professionals. For international flair, you can learn French Pastry Essentials with Dominique Ansel, Mexican Cooking with Gabriela Cámara, or Modern Italian Cooking with Massimo Bottura. Add Wine Appreciation with James Suckling to your agenda to sip your way around the globe. And to properly document your staycation experience, check out Photography with Jimmy Chin to make your local experiences, cooking and otherwise, look like an adventure.
Header image courtesy of Ann Summa / Getty Images.