with James Beard recognized Chef, Chris Maher
We welcome our students, friends and guests to join us for a week long (6 nights) food and cultural immersion in the Umbrian hills near Todi, Italy. We have reserved an incredible, private venue on the grounds of one of Umbria’s highly acclaimed wineries.
The estate is located on a hilltop with amazing 360-degree views of the surrounding hills and towns. Expect a peaceful, scenic and perfect setting for our culinary immersion week.
We can accommodate a maximum of 12 people for the week, which will include multiple days of cooking (with what is available locally and seasonally) and a few group outings, with spare time for relaxing or exploring the area on your own.
The estate boasts a renovated 13th century monastery and has a gorgeous kitchen facility where we will be conducting our cooking classes. Umbria is nestled next to Tuscany in central Italy. Landlocked, it relies on pork for most of its classic preparations, and its pork butchers are said to be the best in Italy: every scrap of the pig is put to good use, and specialties like Guanciale (the salted and cured meat from the pig’s cheek) are tossed into pasta sauces and pots of fava beans or peas. And the region’s aromatic black truffles scent many dishes, from delicate polentas to savory cheese breads.
Each morning, 2 students along with the chef will prepare breakfast for the group. Free time after this for the group prior to meeting up again for the day’s activities and preparations / learning of the recipes. On cooking days, we will enjoy a lighter, al fresco lunch and have an evening meal of the recipes we have created together on the evenings of the class days.
Group excursions: one day, we will visit Deruta, Italy for their farmer’s market and continue on to one of the finest creators of Italian Deruta. Francesco Sberna worked for two decades in contact of the most important masters of Deruta of the twentieth century, then in 1959 he founded a small workshop that’s today one of the most important factories of Deruta. Sberna creates prestigious objects for house and kitchen. Both shapes and patterns are inspired by traditional motifs but their colors and designs are tied to fashion and contemporary art. This will be followed by a beautiful, delicious lunch at an authentic, local restaurant. Later that afternoon we will visit a nearby historic, medieval town (Orvieto) with a local guide. At the end of our excursion day, we will sit to dinner prepared by Chef
We also encourage our participants to let us know if there are any particular Italian recipes they are interested in learning in advance so that Chris may incorporate with his lineup.
Getting into Italy / arrival to our location – you can fly into several different areas, also may depend on pricing from where you are flying from and if you plan to travel on your own before or following our week together (check Milan, Rome, Florence, Venice, etc.) You will want to have a car to drive to our location and for use during and after.
Arrival to our location – After settling into your room, we will meet for a wine tasting and a briefing of what you have in store for the week, followed by a welcome dinner.