As we travel through our five senses, living seasonally around the world, one of our favorite senses is taste. And that means eating like the locals. Some of our most treasured memories are cooking classes around the globe, providing the ultimate cultural connection. Take five and enjoy reading about some of our happiest of cooking moments.
Sinuoun Khmer Cooking Class – Sihanoukville, Cambodia
A tuk-tuk drove us to Sinuoun’s Kitchen. We adventured down a red clay, pitted road past tin-roofed concrete huts to an open-air second floor complete with an eight burner bar. Sinuoun was a lively and lovely hostess. She opened class with us pulverizing turmeric, garlic, ginger, and onions to create our first dish, Banana Blossom Salad. We devoured it! Then we concocted Amok, the Cambodian “dish with fish,” and Khmer Chicken Curry. We sat and devoured our creation again. Sinuoun enjoyed our joie de vivre, rewarding us with two desserts to prepare, Mango Sticky Rice and Dumplings in Ginger Syrup. We left totally sated! Find her at Sinuoun Khmer Cooking Class on Facebook.
Mamma Agata – Ravello, Italy
A chef and cookbook author, Mamma Agata opens the door to her lemon terrace overlooking the Mediterranean. Visitors swoon over the views and the aromas. Having cooked for dignitaries like Humphrey Bogart and Jacqueline Kennedy, this chef is a delight to meet. Upon arrival, her daughter, Chiara, and husband Gennaro led us to their garden for fresh vegetables where the grand lunch class begins. Sitting on the terrace after cooking, you’ll feast on your bounteous creations.
Le Pistou Cooking School – Uzes, France
Petra Carter looks like the person you could have as a great next-door neighbor. My brother and sister-in-law signed up for one of her great courses. Now, we will visit Uzes to meet this fun-loving cook, too! Visit Le Pistou Cooking School’s website for more information.
Il Caminetto – Varenna, Italy
Rick and I enjoyed this colorful, lakeside village three times and are charmed each and every time. Picked up at the ferry dock and whisked up the hill to Il Caminetto, Moreno, the chef, makes pasta with his students the authentic way – with his hands and a rolling pin. Practicing his “roll and pinch” technique, we shaped the tortellini from flour, water, and fresh eggs, and then devoured our lunch with bottles of the local wine.
Golden Temple Hotel – Siem Reap, Cambodia
There is a street in Siem Reap known as Hotel Row. Refusing to stay anywhere close to high rises, we discovered a surprising choice called the Golden Temple Hotel. Located just across the river from the Old Market and Pub Street, this boutique lodging blends the prismatic Far East charm with the hometown ambiance of Khmer. Room balconies overlook the inviting swimming pool, complete with palm trees and Buddha statues. Stepping into this oasis for check-in, we were greeted like old friends, with a tray of sweets and hot tea. They offered a cooking class, and we laughed our way through the creation of Gnoam Trayong Chek (Banana Blossom Salad) and Nime Chow (Cambodian Spring Rolls). Wearing their trademark orange aprons added to this charming experience.
Ready to visit Siem Reap? Here are 10 amazing places to visit in Cambodia.