Get away from the house and learn some tasty new culinary skills at the same time — safely.
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Whispering Angel Culinary Garden series
Chef Owner Trisha Pérez Kennealy showcases her expertise at the Whispering Angel Culinary Garden
| Credit: The Inn at Hastings Park

We're all in just about the same place — tired of being stuck in the house amidst a pandemic, ready to go out and find some since of normalcy, but perhaps not quite ready to go too far from home to warrant spending the night away.

To find just the right blend to satiate wanderlust with a sense of security, we searched across the country to find a handful of chef-led events this fall that will expand your culinary horizons without needing to venture too far from home. These events are open to the public and do not require overnight stays.

Whispering Angel Culinary Garden

Some of the food available at Whispering Angel Culinary Garden
Whispering Angel Culinary Garden's Corn Chowder and Brussels Sprouts Grilled Cheese

Earlier this fall, the Inn at Hastings Park in Lexington, Massachusetts reopened as a culinary destination with its new Whispering Angel Culinary Garden series. The garden's intimate setting — between the inn's main building and the restored barn — sets the perfect stage for Chef Owner Trisha Pérez Kennealy to showcase her culinary expertise with up to 12 guests around a large, wood farm table.

Over the course of each class, Chef Trisha, who studied at Le Cordon Blue in London, will share her passion for teaching others during interactive cooking lessons and meals inspired by Whispering Angel. Guests will also have the opportunity to pick through the garden's beds of herbs, root vegetables, edible flowers, and a micro-orchard, depending upon what's in season.

The garden series' initial seasonal lunch menu features Corn Chowder and a Brussels Sprout Grilled Cheese, Roasted Vegetable Salad with Olive Oil Poached Halibut, and an Apple Spoon Cake for dessert. Dinner features Sun-Dried Tomato and Eggplant Pizzettes, Persillade Baby Lamb Chops with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes or Roasted Vegetable Salad with Olive Oil Poached Halibut, and Caramel Apple Tartlets with Pecan Streusel for dessert. Each tasting menu is paired with select Whispering Angel rosés.

The Whispering Angel Culinary Garden can be booked individually, or for private "quarantine pods" of up to 12 people.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

Executive Pastry Chef Thaddeus Dubois demonstrates a fruit tart
Executive Pastry Chef Thaddeus Dubois is teaching a series of classes at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City resort
| Credit: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City

When indoor dining was put on hold in the midst of the pandemic, Executive Pastry Chef Thaddeus Dubois began offering tastings and classes in the DAER Deck Lounge, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. Throughout the summer and into the fall, he's been hosting "The Art of Dessert with Chef Thaddeus Dubois," featuring sweet treats like chocolate, pies, sugar work, bread, French pastries, frozen desserts and more.

Chef Thaddeus' upcoming themed classes are a Halloween Trick-or-Treat Pastry Class on October 24; the "Classic Pie" Thanksgiving Pie Class on November 14; and Coming Home for the Holidays Pastry Class.

Tides Inn's Virginia Oyster Academy

Learn how to be an oysterman (or woman) at Tides Inn's Virginia Oyster Academy
Tides Inn's Virginia Oyster Academy
| Credit: Tides Inn

Become an oysterman or oysterwoman for a day when you sign up for the Tide Inn's Virginia Oyster Academy in Irvington, on the Chesapeake Bay and along the Virginia Oyster Trail. Begin by participating in a discussion about the history of the state's oyster industry, oyster ecology, and tools of the harvest. Then, join a traditional waterman on a boat for a one-hour oyster harvest excursion. Afterwards, a chef will demonstrate the art of oyster shucking, as well as how to expertly pair oysters with sauces and wines. Dig in!

The inn's oyster academy is held every Friday (noon - 3 p.m.) and Saturday (9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.) through November, weather permitting.

Asheville Mountain Kitchen

Italian, Vietnamese, Mediterranean, and Indian dishes, as well as dumplings from around the world, pasta, and croissants, are all on the menu at Asheville Mountain Kitchen in North Carolina this fall. The culinary events for all ages are COVID-minded, with classes limited to 10 people with gloves and masks, and may be held outdoors if the weather agrees.

During each class, participants learn between three and six dishes (depending on complexity), stopping for tastes throughout the duration. At the end of class, everyone enjoys a meal together.

Stanford Inn and Resort

View at the Stanford Inn and Resort
View at the Stanford Inn and Resort
| Credit: The Stanford Inn and Resort

The Stanford Inn and Resort in Mendocino, California, is offering a variety of culinary classes that appeal to all levels of home cooks. Choose from Beginning Culinary Classes; Vegan Sauces, Dips and Dressings; Plant-based Cheese and Sauces; and Whole Plant Nutrition and Cooking.

The private, couple, or group demonstration classes are held about 10 feet from the mobile kitchen (taking into account social distancing), and the chef talks through recipes and techniques, providing tastes along the way. Guests are encouraged to interact and ask questions so that they can tweak recipes to suit their tastes. The inn and resort is also home to a Grow Biointensive® educational farm, attracting students from around the globe to learn how to sustainably grow a complete diet in the smallest amount of space possible. Some of the farm's beds are used to provide edible flowers for garnishes and salad.

The Stanford Inn and Resort's culinary classes are private and offered daily from 1:30 - 3 p.m.

Olde Square Inn

Learn the "how" and "why" behind the ingredients you use in some of your favorite recipes when "Let's Cook With Nancy" debuts at the end of month. Hosted by Nancy Skee, the innkeeper of the Olde Square Inn in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, the online courses strive to inspire confidence in the kitchen by "understanding how the deliciousness becomes reality." Questions to be answered include: What happens to food in the oven at particular temperatures? Why baking soda and not baking powder? What happens when you reduce a sauce? Why whipped butter instead of melted?

Nancy's first five-lesson module, "The Science of Chocolate Chip Cookies," launches later this month.