Valentine's Day Gift Idea: The Chef and the Dish Skype Cooking Class

If you enjoy cooking and eating delicious meals, you are going to love today's post. Those of you who have followed me for a while know that my husband and I got married in Florence, Italy, last May. Prior to our wedding, we had traveled to Italy together and absolutely loved the food, wine, culture, and people we met in our travels. Imagine my excitement when the staff at The Chef and the Dish saw our wedding photos in my Instagram feed, reached out, and offered me a free private Italian cooking class over Skype with their Michelin trained Italian chef in exchange for my honest review! I happily agreed and signed up for a Parmigiano Reggiano themed class. The Chef and the Dish offers private cooking classes in the comfort of your home with professional chefs from all over the world: Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, and more. With Valentine's Day coming up, I decided that today is the perfect opportunity to share these cooking classes as an wonderful gift idea for couples, families, and friends! Please read on for more photos and details of my private Skype cooking experience, as well as how to set up your own class with The Chef and the Dish.

Setting up your own private cooking class with The Chef and the Dish is easy--the hardest part might be choosing between available cuisines, classes, and dates. Just keep in mind any time differences between you and your international chef, as you may not be able to cook at your normal dinner time. For example, my Italian cooking class took place between 10am and noon--which was 7pm to 9pm for Chef Paola Martinenghi in Italy. The timing made a wonderful lunch for my husband and I, so it really was not an issue. Once you have chosen your class and recipes, you will receive a list of ingredients and kitchen equipment as well as schedule a kitchen prep session in advance. The kitchen prep session ensures that your laptop or tablet and Skype account can connect to your chef, you have all of the ingredients and equipment needed, and enables you to ask any questions in advance of your class. I cook frequently but do not consider myself an expert by any means, so I asked if Chef Paola could share tips on how to cook more efficiently: ingredient prep tips as well as how to best pace cooking each dish to ensure everything is ready at the same time.

My Italian cooking class with Chef Paola created a three course meal around a central theme of Parmigiano Reggiano: traditional bruschetta, carbonara, and poached pears stuffed with ricotta. As you can see above, the ingredients were all easy to find at a local grocery store (some items like spices, oil, salt, and pepper were already in my pantry) and I already owned the necessary kitchen equipment (pots, a non-stick pan, grater, etc). I used our iPad Pro and existing Skype account for my private cooking class (propped up with books since I do not currently have a case for it), and positioned it in one corner of the kitchen where Chef Paola could see how I was doing at all times. I appreciated that she heard my request from my kitchen prep session and made sure to point out useful tips like scoring an "x" on the bottom of the tomatoes to make them easier to peel once they are blanched, or making sure to use whole spices instead of ground spices when poaching pears to keep them from blackening. Super helpful for when I make these recipes again!

Chef Paola and I cooked together and chatted for almost two hours! While she taught me the recipes, we also chatted about her home near Milan (she encouraged me to visit Milan of my interest in fashion and fashion blog), Italian cuisine, and our favorite travel locations (she saw me sipping coffee from one of my many Starbucks mugs). I truly enjoyed learning from Chef Paola and getting to know her a bit during my class--she is both personable and very knowledgeable! Since it was a private class, I also felt more comfortable asking questions and taking up as much space as I needed. The fact that were were not in the same location was not an issue, either. At times I would hold up ingredients or a dish to the camera so that she could check and provide feedback--all from the comfort of my own kitchen.

Since this cooking class had a Parmigiano Reggiano theme, Chef Paola also shared information on the special key ingredient. Parmigiano Reggiano is produced exclusively in certain provinces in Italy, aged for at least twelve months, and approved for sale/export only through a rigorous testing process. When purchasing Parmigiano Reggiano, I always ensure that I can see the rind and part of the official approval branding in order to ensure quality. Parmigiano Reggiano was shaved on top of the bruschetta, mixed into the carbonara, and grated on top of the poached pears. What an incredible meal! I also loved that Chef Paola took a screenshot of the two of us (you'll see it below) with our bruschetta--such a great memory!

If you enjoy cooking, I hope that you consider a private cooking class with The Chef and the Dish. These classes are priced on a similar structure as group cooking classes offered here in Seattle--group classes are usually between $75-$100 per person from what I have seen in my research. My class was valued at $299 and geared toward couples or small groups, meaning the cost falls somewhere between $75-$150 per person for a private, focused experience. I will say that if you want to socialize and meet new people during a cooking class, this experience is probably not going to be what you are looking for. However, if you want to get together with your significant other, a couple of family members, or a small group of friends then I think you will really enjoy a private class with The Chef and the Dish. I enjoyed it so much that I am already working on scheduling another cooking class with my husband and another couple, one that we will happily pay for.

Have you ever taken a cooking class? If so, how was your experience and what do you think about a private cooking class over Skype? I hope you enjoyed this review, and that you have a wonderful rest of your week!

Linking up with Curly Crafty Mom, Lizzie in Lace, On the Daily Express, Straight A Style

 Disclosure: The Chef & the Dish offered this cooking class to me at no charge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.


  1. Oh my! This look so, so delicious! And the quality and story telling of these photographs is just amazing. | Fashion Blog | by Dessy Markova


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