We are blessed with a slew of Orlando-based cooking schools where home cooks can hone their skills over the course of an evening, but those who’d like to immerse themselves in an intensified epicurean experience should check out the three-day Culinary Boot Camp offered at The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.
Earlier this year, we got the chance to dive into this cooking intensive inside Biltmore’s Culinary Academy. One of the only hotel-based schools of its kind in the country, the Culinary Academy opened in 2009 as a way to provide training to recreational cooks. Each year, the school features dozens of classes, workshops and team-building events designed for aspiring chefs of all levels, including both adults and children.
Inside the fully equipped, professional kitchen, students are actively involved in fully participatory classes. Taught by members of Biltmore’s renowned culinary team, the boot camp weekends deliver instruction based on professional culinary techniques. Knife skills and tips about critical cooking tools are just the tip of the iceberg.
Each day begins at 10am with a light breakfast and mini lesson, then the tutelage becomes hands-on practice as teams of two cook their way through a series of recipes with the chef and assistants at the ready to offer tips and instruction. Fundamentals from grilling and roasting to steaming and braising are all covered, as well as the basics of mother sauces, cutting meats and dismantling a whole chicken.
To allow all students to enjoy the fruits of their labor, the day’s cooking culminates into a group feast when everyone gets the opportunity to pile their plate high with a sampling of all the day’s dishes.
Class ends each day by mid afternoon, which means hotel guests have time to explore the hotel’s many leisure offerings, including a slew of fitness classes, a top-notch spa and access to the Biltmore’s iconic swimming pool, the largest hotel pool in the continental United States.
Fall 2015 Boot Camp Schedule
Sept- 11, 12, 13
Oct- 16, 17, 18
Nov- 6, 7, 8
Dec- 4, 5, 6
Cost is $450 per student for the 3-day boot camp, which does not include overnight accommodations.