Cooking is therapeutic, entertaining, communicative and inspirational. Anthropologists teach us that cooking expresses the cultural values of a civilization. This is a perfect way to connect with the heart of the city, region or nation that you are visiting. Let’s explore the idea of adding cooking classes to your next trip.
THAT Cooking School: Teaching, Heart, And Team building
Cooking feeds my creative soul. I have been known to make amazing dishes and spectacular disasters, sometimes all at the same time. So the surging popularity of The Food Network and all the various versions of cooking competitions is fascinating to me. I must admit though, that I am far more interested in participating than just watching. You can imagine my excitement when I was given the opportunity to experience a local version of “Chopped”. I was introduced to THAT Cooking School on a sponsored trip to the Minneapolis area.
The name is an acronym for Teaching, Heart And Team building. Their focus, as you can see by the name, is team building. They do offer some cooking classes, but their strength is in group events. Many corporations send their leadership teams to “ropes courses” for team building but why not a cooking competition?
Perfect Icebreaker Activity
Our group numbered 30. We were travel writers and their families. Split into groups of 6 we had one hour to design and create a themed food event. This was one of the best icebreakers I have ever experienced. In my group we had 2 sets of couples and 2 singles. I had never before met any of my teammates but considered them new best friends by the end of the evening.
We were given a bag of secret ingredients and a theme to direct our creations. The team also had to design a table setting to reflect the theme. It was an evening of creativity, imagination and resourcefulness. We had to deal with delegating tasks, creating with ingredients at hand, and working in an unfamiliar kitchen. All skills easily applied to any corporate team setting.
Add cooking classes to your next trip
It is easy to see the value of such a team building outing, but how does this apply to traveling? Many of our American cities are foodie hubs. It is predictable to add the latest dining hotspot to an itinerary, but much less obvious to add a cooking experience. Furthermore, cooking, a vital part of any culture is rapidly becoming a lost art.
In a quick online search I was able to find 3 options for cooking class near me in the Milwaukee area. I found Sur La Table apparently a chain similar to Willimas-Sonoma, Braise a very hip and trendy farm-to-table dining experience in downtown Milwaukee, and Chef Michael Fekker’s Culinary Studio for a Mediterranean experience.
Food and cooking adventures can be the highlight of any travel itinerary. These adventures aren’t only in far-flung destinations. Look for fun, informative and cultural opportunities close to home as well. Cooking classes are part of a growing trend of culinary tourism. Coming up in December I will be sharing a series of posts on Travel Planning Themes. The first installment on December 25th will cover Culinary Tourism more thoroughly. Watch for more details on The 12 Days of Travel Themes coming in December.