Recipe for Culinary Adventure
When you visit the Land of Enchantment, bring home a true souvenir that will far outlast your vacation – take a cooking class. You won’t have to worry about how to fit it into your suitcase, and you will gain new culinary skills, memories, and friends that you will always treasure.
Across the state, chefs are eager to share their joy of cooking with you. Whether you have a week or just an hour or two, the options are endless. Here’s just a sampling of the culinary fun you can have cooking your way through New Mexico.
Taos: Cooking with an Actor and through Artists’ Eyes
Teaching cooking is Chris Maher’s second act, following a successful acting career that included feature films and television shows. His culinary experience includes working in New York’s famous Tavern on the Green, catering, opening his own restaurants, and cooking for The Dalai Lama and President Bill Clinton. His acting career and other life experiences add spice to his classes at Cooking Studio Taos. With his mastery of various global cuisines, his classes are like taking a trip around the world.
You might not expect to learn cooking at the Taos Art School, but owner Ursula Beck likes to combine two or more art forms in her eclectic curriculum of classes and trips. “The Artist in the Kitchen” celebrates three artists who expressed their passion for art and food in very different ways: Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, and R.C. Gorman. “We’ll cook their food and their art,” says Ursula. The “Cooking with Traditional Foods” class focuses on the cultural traditions of Northern New Mexico. Students learn how to prepare a summer’s bounty of produce from small local farms in traditional and non-traditional ways.
Ohkay Owingeh: Preparing Local Cuisines in Outdoor Wood-Fired Ovens
Norma Naranjo’s mother and grandmother taught her the art of baking bread and pies in their horno (beehive-shaped adobe oven) at the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, and over the years she was frequently asked to prepare her traditional dishes for special events. When she retired, she decided to start The Feasting Place, catering and teaching others how to prepare dishes typically prepared for a Pueblo feast. Norma’s half-day classes welcome small groups into her cozy Pueblo home in Española, where she highlights local ingredients and shares cultural traditions. You’ll learn to make a variety of traditional dishes. Sit-down feasts for up to 40 people are also available.
Santa Fe: Where a Cooking Class is Always in Session
For more than 20 years, the Santa Fe School of Cooking has educated people from all over the world about the flavors of the Southwest. Hands-on classes explore the finer points of individual dishes and sauces or tackle complete meals. In February, March, and April, the school teams up with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum to explore recipes from the book The Painter’s Kitchen: Recipes from the Kitchen of Georgia O’Keeffe by Margaret Wood. The school also offers three-day culinary boot camps, restaurant walking tours, and much more.
Since 1998, Las Cosas Kitchen Shoppe in the DeVargas Shopping Center has hosted classes by Chef John Vollersten, known as “Johnny Vee.” His experience spans restaurants from New York City to Sydney, Australia, and his classes display his broad knowledge and enthusiasm. Classes explore seasonal dishes, global cuisines, high-altitude baking, and more.
Learn culinary techniques from cultures around the world at Open Kitchen. Their engaging, hands-on mix of specialty cooking classes allows you to cook alongside the Open Kitchen Team for a fun, memorable culinary experience. Classes range from Baguettes & Beyond to Foods of Southern Thailand.
At Red Mesa Cuisine, indulge in Native American cuisine with a modern twist. Chefs Lois Ellen Frank, Ph.D., and Walter Whitewater will teach you to cook contemporary Native American dishes using time honored techniques and ancestral ingredients.
Corrales: A Historical Perspective on Southwest Fare
Founded by cookbook author, teaching, and television host, the Jane Butel Cooking School has been a top vacation cooking school since 1983. In addition to delicious recipes, you’ll learn more about the history of New Mexico’s regional cuisine, including why chiles have been revered for thousands of years and how blue corn evolved as an essential grain. Jane’s weekend and week-long workshops in the historic village of Corrales are hands-on and include a get-acquainted reception, Southwest continental breakfasts, and a full dinner, accompanied by Jane’s “perfect margaritas.”
Albuquerque: Dine on a Working Farm
Guests can stay and dine at Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm, set among 25 acres of lavender field, enormous cottonwood trees, and lush formal gardens. Spring at Los Poblanos brings numerous hands-on dining experiences. You can hone your culinary skills in the farm’s 1930’s kitchen, take a spring cooking class with the restaurant’s Executive Chef, or enjoy a classic cocktails class led by their Director of Wine and Spirits.
In the restaurant world, “new” and “hot” always grabs attention. But it’s the older places that create the character of an area, and that provide the foundation on which more recent dining establishments can thrive.