For something different on your next visit and an activity you can share with the whole family, why not take a cooking class? Spend the morning with a local chef to discover the secrets of the Mexican kitchen. During the session you’ll earn about the rich flavors and fascinating history of Mexican cuisine and then dine on the fruits of your labor. You’ll soon see why UNESCO declared Mexican cuisine World Heritage in the category reserved for culture and traditions in November 2010.
Start your journey into the food world by spending some time with our award-winning chef Yann Cozic. Ask your Concierge about arranging a cooking demo with the maestro and his team.
When you are ready for a day in the culinary classroom, the closest school to you is the famous Little Mexican Cooking School at Casa Caribe on Av. Rojo Gomez No. 768 right here in Puerto Morelos. Your hosts for the morning are Australian-born Catriona Brown and Mexican Chef Cristobal Tamariz and the fun-filled hands-on cooking class in the kitchen will have you preparing between seven and eight delicious dishes. These will be served up for lunch with traditional Mexican drinks.
In order to explain the sheer diversity of Mexican cuisine, the chef divides the country into seven gastronomic regions and his rotating menus showcase a selection of dishes from each one, giving students a wealth of information about traditions in the area.
After your meal on the terrace, the Little Mexican Cooking School shop is a great spot to pick up Mexican folk art, organic coffee, honey, vanilla, spicy salsas, preserves and other gourmet products.
Another option in the Puerto Morelos area is Mexico Lindo Traditional Kitchen, Workshop and School at km 6.2 on the Ruta de los Cenotes. Learn how to make traditional dishes from the Yucatan, Central Mexico or Veracruz and a selection of Mexican classics in a bright yellow casita in a jungle clearing.
After a light breakfast of Mexican pastries, hot chocolate or café de olla with your teacher, you’ll visit the organic garden to gather some of the vegetables, fruit and herbs that you’ll be using during the class.
There’s plenty of space in the cheerful yellow and pink kitchen for students to try their new cooking skills and enjoy a pre-lunch botana or snack.
Lunch is served in the thatched palapa and there’s time to visit the little store and stock up on salsas, local honey, community products and Mexican crafts.
Mexico Lindo also has hammocks and Mayan aromatherapy massages can be arranged for visitors who are not participating in the cooking class.
In Cancun, Chef Claudia Garcia and her husband run Mi Cocina es Tu Cocina Cooking School (My Kitchen is Your Kitchen) in the Alamos neighborhood on the outskirts of the city. With over 25 years of experience as a chef, Claudia is a fine teacher, sharing her passion for Mexico and her knowledge of its diverse regional cuisines with pupils.
After coffee and homemade pastries, the class begins with an explanation of the staple ingredients in the Mexican kitchen: corn, beans, tomatoes, avocados and the ubiquitous chili.
The first part of the lesson is to prepare three different sauces ranging from mildly spicy to medium hot and fiery in flavor. The secret of traditional sauce making is the volcanic stone molcajete or mortar and pestle, used to grind the chilies and other ingredients.
Then it’s down to the serious business of making tortillas and preparing the meal. During the morning you’ll watch and participate in making antojitos or traditional snacks, guacamole, soup, a main course, side dishes and a dessert from one of the five gastronomic regions into which Claudia divides the country: the North, Mexico City, Central Mexico, the Coasts and the Southeast.
If you are planning a trip to Merida, you may want to consider classes at Los Dos Cooking School, where chef David Sterling will introduce you to the complex flavors of Yucatecan cuisine.
Chef Sterling’s classes include an overview of the staple ingredients, herbs and spices, a visit to the local market to shop for recados or spice mixes used to marinate pork, poultry and fish, and the fresh fruit and vegetables that you’ll be preparing during the session in the Talavera-tiled kitchen. After the class, lunch is served in the dining room of Chef Sterling’s beautifully restored colonial home.
Chef Sterling is an expert on Yucatecan cuisine and traditional Mayan cooking techniques and won the 2015 James Beard Foundation award for his book Yucatan: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition.
Los Dos offers several one-day class options and three-day and one-week culinary experiences that include excursions to archaeological sites, colonial towns and Mayan communities, all from a food angle. There’s even a chocolate workshop to introduce you to the fascinating world of cacao and its place in ancient Mayan culture. This day trip includes a visit to a cacao plantation and chocolate museum, a tour of Uxmal archaeological site and a traditional lunch.
Ask your Concierge to help you arrange a class at a local cooking school. Cooking school “graduates” receive a CD or printed booklet with the recipes and a souvenir apron at the end of the class.