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March 2007

Spicy Garlic Grilled Chicken Wings Recipe

What you are about to read is my highly regarded, and up until this moment, highly secret spicy garlic grilled chicken wings recipe. I have decided to share it with you today because that's what good cooks do ;-). 

Spicy-garlic-grilled-chicken-wings-the-cheap-gourmetSPICY GARLIC GRILLED CHICKEN WINGS RECIPE
Serves 2-4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes




12 Chicken Wings, tips removed and divided into sections
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 stick Butter, unsalted
1/3 cup Frank's Hot Sauce
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Goya Adobo seasoning


  1. Preheat gas grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash chicken wings and pat dry with paper towel. Remove tips and cut wings into sections.
  3. Lightly sprinkle cayenne pepper over wings.
  4. Place wings on hot grill. Turn after wings have cooked for about 7 minutes.
  5. Place butter, hot sauce, garlic and Adobo seasoning into a 1-quart pan.
  6. Heat over medium-low heat. When butter begins to melt; whisk lightly to incorporate all ingredients.
  7. When wings are finished, remove from heat and place in a container with a lid.
  8. Pour melted sauce over wings and shake well to evenly distribute.
  9. Transfer to serving platter and serve immediately.
  10. Serve with chunky bleu cheese dressing and celery sticks if desired


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Gourmet Crab Legs Recipe

Gourmet Crab Legs Recipe
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

2 pounds frozen King Crab Legs (you can use Snow Crab if desired)
1 whole Onion, chopped (yellow or white onion)
6 whole Garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup Dales Seasoning or Soy Sauce
1 cup Water

This recipe is best prepared using an electric roaster. If you don't have one, these can be prepared in a large stock pot. We start with frozen crab legs, so if using fresh you'll need to reduce your cooking time by about 10 minutes.


  1. Preheat roaster to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse crab legs in warm water to remove ice crystals.
  3. Arrange crab in a single layer and place on roasting rack in the roaster.
  4. Cut onion in half, than cut each half into thirds.
  5. Place onion chunks around the crab legs.
  6. Chop garlic and distribute evenly on top of crab legs.
  7. Mix Dales Seasoning or Soy sauce and water together. Whisk to combine. Pour over crab legs.
  8. Place lid on roaster and cook for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from roaster. Transfer to serving plate and serve immediately.

The onion is included for flavoring purposes only. However, if you want to eat them, feel free to do so. They have an amazing flavor!



Visit Mission Restaurant Supply for great deals on Roaster Ovens, kitchen supplies, cookware, food storage and more!

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Gourmet Cooking Salts

SeasaltsGourmet Cooking Salts

Do your friends refer to you as a "salt-aholic"? If so, you're not alone. Millions of people love the taste of salt on their food -- me included! I subscribe to the Whole Foods Market newsletter.

Their recent issue featured salts of the earth. It's an interesting and informative article that helped me learn more about the various types of salt available. Click here to read "Salts of the Earth."

If you're looking for a place to purchase gourmet cooking salts, check out Stonewall Kitchen. You'll also find a nice selection of gourmet peppercorns, seasonings, spices, flavored sugars and teas, cocoas, gourmet gifts and more!

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Blueberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake Recipe

Below is my all-time favorite Blueberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake Recipe. This recipe was developed by me when I worked as a prep chef at a health food store. Trust me when I say this is a really yummy coffee cake and healthy as well!

Blueberry-buttermilk-coffee-cake-the-cheap-gourmetBlueberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake Recipe
Serves 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 50 minutes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1 egg plus 3 egg whites
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/3 cup pureed pitted prunes
3/4 cup buttermilk or soy milk
1/2 cup mashed banana
2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts
1/3 cup Turbinado sugar (or use brown sugar)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a 13x9-inch baking dish or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Fold in the blueberries.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the honey or maple syrup, egg and egg whites, oil, prunes, buttermilk or soy milk, and banana.
  • Combine the contents of both bowls, mixing briefly, than pour the batter into the baking dish. Smooth the top of the batter with a spatula. Sprinkle with walnuts and brown sugar.
  • Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the coffeecake comes out clean.
  • Let cool and serve.


Click the banner below to discover delicious gourmet breakfast mixes, syrups, and more.

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Baked Mahi-Mahi Fish Recipe

Baked-mahi-mahiMahi-Mahi is also known as dolphin fish or dorado. It is a white fish that is mild in flavor and can be grilled, baked, broiled, poached, steamed, baked or fried.

When purchasing Mahi-Mahi, look for firm fillets, with red bloodlines. The meat ranges in color from white to dark brown. If you prefer fish that doesn't taste "fishy," choose fillets that are pink to light beige. The darker the meat color, the stronger the taste.

Mahi-Mahi tastes best when purchased fresh. It should be stored in the refrigerator at 32-38 degrees Fahrenheit and used within two days. Mahi-Mahi can be frozen for up to four months. When freezing Mahi-Mahi, double wrap fillets and store at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. To thaw fillets, place in refrigerator for 3-4 hours or run cold water over fillets for 2-3 minutes.

Here is one of my favorite recipes using this delicious fish. Enjoy!

Serves 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 25 minutes


2 6-ounce Mahi-Mahi fillets
1/4 cup Dale's Seasoning
1/4 cup Scallion, sliced
1/4 cup Tomato, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Lemon wedges, optional


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Place Mahi-Mahi fillets in a glass baking dish. Pour Dale's Seasoning over Mahi-Mahi fillets and place in refrigerator for 10 minutes.

3. Rinse and dry scallion and tomato. Slice Scallion into thin slices. Chop tomato and mince garlic.

4. Remove Mahi-Mahi fillets from the fridge and top with Scallion, Tomato and Garlic.

5. Place in preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.

6. Fillets are done when the meat easily pulls away with a fork.

7. Remove from baking dish, transfer to serving plate and serve immediately.

8. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over each fillet, if desired.


(Baked Mahi with Strawberry-Mango Salsa and scalloped potatoes.)


Stonewall Kitchen, LLC

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Spring Vegetable Soup

Spring Vegetable Soup uses fresh ingredients which are available year-round. It's easy to prepare and makes a great pick-me lunch or light dinner.


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ready in: 30 minutes



1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup Onion, minced
1 Garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup Carrot, finely diced
1 cup Zucchini, diced
6 cups Vegetable broth, heated
2 cups green Cabbage, shredded
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper, ground
Lemon wedges for garnish


  1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
    2. Add zucchini and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
    3. Add hot broth and bring to boil. Cook 1 minute.
    4. Stir in cabbage, salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes or until cabbage has softened, but still has a bit of crunch.
    5. Serve hot with lemon wedges to squeeze into each portion.


The Diva DietMore recipes like this can be found in my cookbook, "The Diva Diet".  

Gourmet Flatbread Pizzas

Gourmet Flatbread Pizzas

Did you know you can make your own gourmet flatbread pizzas for about half the cost of delivery pizza? This recipe can easily be adapted to suit your tastes. Final cost is about $3.50 per pie!

To make these pizzas you'll need flatbread which can be found in most major grocery chains or health food stores. They are available in white, wheat, soy, multi-grain and sundried tomato.


Yield: 2 personal pizzas
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 12-15 minutes


2 Flatbread, round
1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Green Onions,sliced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Pizza Sauce or Spaghetti Sauce (marinara works well)
1/2 cup Canadian Bacon, chopped
1/4 cup Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese (Cheddar cheese works well too!)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Add olive oil to a small skillet and saute onions and garlic until translucent; about 3 minutes. Cook on medium-low heat.

3. Spread 1/4 cup of sauce on each flat bread round. Top each round with 1/4 cup Canadian bacon and 1/8 cup artichoke hearts. Divide green onion and garlic mixture and add half to each pizza round. Top with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.

4. Place pizzas on pizza stone or flat baking pan and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

5. Remove from oven. Transfer to plate and serve. 


Click the banner below to save 20% off all your favorite pizza seasonings, sauces, and more!

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Pillsbury Bake-off Contest

This Pillsbury Bake-off contest has ended, but you can learn more about upcoming contests and download valuable manufacturer coupons at www.Pillsbury.com.


This year marks the 43rd Pillsbury Bake-off and this year the grand prize is a whopping $1 million buck-a-rooni's! That's a lot of moolah!

Pillsbury Bake-off recipe categories include: Breakfast and Brunches, Pizza Creations, Appetizers, Old El Paso Mexican favorites, and Sweet Treats. Recipes must be submitted by April 22nd, 2007, so put on your chef hat and create a delightfully delicious recipe. You never know, you could end up being a millionaire!

Click here to learn more about the Pillsbury Bake-Off. Good Luck!

$50,000 'Best of Beef' Cook-off

Best_of_beef_cookoffDo you have a unique and tasty gastronomical creation using beef as the main ingredient? Think it's good enough to win you fifty grand in prize money? If so, you might want to enter the National Beef Cook-off, brought to you by the Cattleman's Beef Board.

Twenty-five finalists will compete for prizes totaling $110,000. Grand prize is a whopping $50,000. Second prize is $10,000 and the runner-up takes home $5,000.

While you're at the website, be sure to check out the previous winning recipes and visit the 'Beef Basics' page, where you can learn about how to prepare beef, cooking methods, marinades and rubs, and a whole bunch of other stuff. I think you'll find it quite interesting.

If you're going to enter, you better hurry. All National Beef Cook-off entries need to be postmarked by March 31, 2007. Good Luck!

How to Make Deep Fried Pickles


Although most people are trying their hardest to avoid deep fried foods; few can resist the deep fried pickle. If you've never tried one, you owe it to yourself to indulge in this unusual culinary delight. Nearly everyone who tries them agrees they are unexpectedly delicious and incredibly addicting!

While it's hard to determine who made the first deep fried pickle, research indicates it originated in New Orleans. Today, deep fried pickles are served in restaurants and bars across the country, with each having a unique recipe and flavor.

Deep fried pickles can be made from just about any type of pickle including pickle slices, pickle spears, and whole pickles. It doesn't matter what flavor of pickles because they all taste great when they are deep fried. The most common choices include regular dill and garlic dill, but bread and butter pickles and baby gherkins are excellent choices as well.

Choose Your Pickle Type and Flavor

The first thing you will need to do is choose your pickle type and flavor. Crinkle-cut slices tend to hold the batter better than other types. In general, slices are easier to eat than other forms of pickles. Whole pickles take longer to cook and have the potential to squirt hot grease into the mouth of the pickle-eater, so if choosing whole pickles, consider yourself warned.

Pickle spears also make a good choice, and are almost as easy to eat as slices. Just be careful when biting into them, as they retain their heat for quite some time and could potentially burn your mouth if you're not careful.

Regardless of your choice, it's best to use refrigerated pickles when making deep fried pickles. The batter tends to stick better when they are cold.

Choose Your Batter

Batter can be made from cornmeal or flour and include a variety of spices, depending on your tastes.

Choose Your Cooking Oil

You can use any type of frying oil including vegetable, canola, corn, safflower, or peanut.

Constructing the Deep Fried Pickle

Deep-fried-pickles-constructing-the-cheap-gourmetNow that you have selected your pickles, batter and oil, it's time to begin constructing.

Step One: Thoroughly drain juice off pickles and remove excess using a paper towel.

Step Two: Coat each pickle with egg wash using the recipe below.

Step Three: Coat each pickle with batter mixture using one of the recipes below.

Step Four: Repeat steps two and three to double-coat your pickles. The breading will adhere better if you give it a double dunk.

Step Five: Place each battered pickle on a cookie sheet that is lined with wax or parchment paper and freeze for at least 30 minutes. If you neglect to freeze your pickles, the batter will not adhere and you'll end up with a naked pickle and a bunch of batter floating in the oil.

Step Six: Heat cooking oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step Seven: Carefully drop each frozen pickle into the preheated oil. Stir occasionally and cook until pickles float on the surface of the oil and turn golden brown. Generally, pickle slices take 2 to 3 minutes; spears take 3 to 4 minutes; and whole pickles take 4 to 6 minutes.

Step Eight: Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.

Step Nine: Transfer to serving plate and serve with your favorite dip!

Deep-fried-pickles-egg-wash-the-cheap-gourmetEgg Wash Recipe:

1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk or buttermilk - you can substitute with whole milk, 2% milk, soy milk, rice or almond milk

In a small bowl, whisk egg and milk together using a fork for about 30 seconds. Set aside.

If you prefer deep fried pickles that have a bold and spicy flavor, add a few drops of hot sauce or Worcestershire sauce to the egg wash recipe.

Deep-fried-pickles-cornmeal-batter-the-cheap-gourmetCornmeal Deep Fried Pickle Batter Recipe

2 cups plain Cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 teaspoon dried Parsley flakes
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

Mix ingredients together and set aside.


Flour Deep Fried Pickle Batter Recipe  


3 cups Flour - this can be any type of flour including white, whole wheat or rice flour.
1 teaspoon Garlic salt or powder
1 teaspoon Adobo seasoning or Mrs. Dash seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

Mix ingredients together and set aside.

Deep fried pickles are usually served with Ranch dressing; however, you can use any type of dipping sauce or dressing that you prefer. Chunky blue cheese dressing makes a great accompaniment, as does Thousand Island dressing.

You can easily adapt the above recipes to suit your tastes. Replace the suggested spices with those of your choice and experiment to create your personal deep fried pickle recipe.


Looking for unique pickle selections? Click on the banner below and save 20% off your entire order at Mouth.com.

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How to Make Chocolate Covered Cherries

Chocolate-covered-cherries-the-cheap-gourmetOne of my most vivid childhood memories is the year my grandmother gave me my very own box of chocolate covered cherries.

They were packaged with two trays of candy and each delectable morsel was precisely positioned in its very own hole. I was a mere eight years old and I'm pretty certain that was the day I officially became a chocoholic.

Up until I was in my mid-30s, I didn't even know more than one kind of chocolate covered cherry existed. Believe it or not, I was so naïve that I thought only one company manufactured them and that they only came with liquid centers. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that chocolate covered cherries came in a multitude of varieties and flavors.

It happened about 20 years ago, when I met a woman who made all kinds of homemade candy. Her house was always filled with the scent of chocolate and other candy flavorings.

She was like a mad-scientist, trying to see how far she could go with her candy designs. If you've ever seen "Ace of Cakes" on the Food Network, you have an idea of the type of work she performed. Her creativity was amazing.

I was fortunate enough to learn some of her chocolate-making tricks, but the one I was most excited about was learning how to make chocolate covered cherries. Since that time, I have experimented with various recipes. I've made molded and fondant wrapped cherries, cherries with liqueur centers, and dried cherries dipped in chocolate.

I've soaked cherries in bourbon, rum and whiskey. I've added red chili pepper seasoning to the fondant and the chocolate. I've rolled chocolate covered cherries in chocolate covered coffee beans.

I even attempted to create the world's first margarita-flavored chocolate covered cherries, but so far that recipe hasn't worked out too well. There's nothing I won't try when it comes to chocolate cherries, but many things I wish I hadn't.

Of all the recipes I've tried, my all-time favorites are the molded chocolate covered cherries with a liquid fondant center, and the fondant wrapped cherries dipped in chocolate with the stem attached. Both of these recipes are relatively easy to make and can easily be adapted to suit your tastes.

Molded cherries make for a more elegant presentation. It's best to make these when the candy will be given as a gift or presented on trays at a party or meeting. Molded chocolate covered cherries do require the purchase of a candy mold and medium artist paintbrush.

Fondant wrapped chocolate covered cherries are better suited for those that prefer a "homemade" look. Hand-dipped chocolate covered cherries with stems are the kind that say, "I made these! Aren't you impressed by my skills?"

Regardless of the recipe you choose, it's best to purchase candy making ingredients from a cake or candy supply store. Wilton is one of the most reputable cake and candy making supply distributors in the world. You can easily find everything you need to make chocolate covered cherries at their website. Additionally, Wilton products can be found in most cake and candy supply stores, and many craft and hobby stores.

When making homemade chocolate covered cherries, you want to use candy wafers. Candy wafers are small discs of chocolate, which melt easily. They have a rich taste and a smooth texture, and are available in a variety of colors and flavors.

It's best to use a double-boiler to melt candy wafers. Double-boilers consist of two pots that fit together. Water is placed in the lower pot and the steam provides heat to the pot on top. Double-boilers help prevent accidental overheating of delicate foods such as chocolate or butter.

Fondant is a key ingredient in most chocolate covered cherries recipes. Fondant is made from sugar, water and corn syrup. You can make it at home, or buy ready-made fondant or powdered fondant mix in stores that specialize in cake decorating. If you make your own fondant, it will need to sit for 24 to 48 hours before using, so plan accordingly.

Now that you know where to purchase your candy making ingredients, let's take a look at how to make two of the most popular types of chocolate covered cherries -- molded with a liquid center, and fondant-wrapped and dipped.

Chocolate-covered-cherries-liquid-center-the-cheap-gourmetMolded Chocolate Covered Cherries with Liquid Center
Yield: 48 candy pieces


1 - 14-ounce bag of chocolate candy wafers - you can use milk or dark chocolate
2 - 12-ounce jars Maraschino cherries, drained, stem removed
1 cup basic fondant


  1. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of Maraschino cherry juice to basic fondant and stir well. Fondant should be a medium consistency and slowly drip off the spoon. If it's too thick, continue to add cherry juice until it becomes the consistency you prefer.
  2. Pour chocolate candy wafers into the upper portion of the double-boiler pan; melt over medium-low heat; and gently stir until wafers are melted.
  3. Using a teaspoon, fill each candy mold half-way with melted chocolate. Using a medium artist brush, paint the sides of each mold with the chocolate; making certain the inside of each candy mold is coated all the way to the top.
  4. Place one Maraschino cherry in each mold. Add approximately 1/4-teaspoon of fondant to each cherry.
    Pour approximately 1/4-teaspoon melted chocolate over the top of each cherry and using the bottom of the spoon, gently spread chocolate over the top to ensure that there is a seal over each candy mold.
  5. Place cherries in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Remove cherries from the freezer and flip molds upside down on top of the wax paper. If the candy does not easily release from the molds, flex the molds a bit until the candy pops out.
  7. Place each chocolate covered cherry into a paper candy cup or wrap individually in foil, and place into a gift box or airtight container.

Chocolate covered cherries should be stored at room temperature to retain the liquid center. If you refrigerate or freeze them, allow them to return to room temperature before eating them. Otherwise, the center will be more of a nougat consistency, which depending on your taste could be a good thing!

Chocolate-covered-cherries-fondant-wrapped-the-cheap-gourmetFondant Wrapped Chocolate Covered Cherries
Yield: 48 candy pieces


1 - 14-ounce bag of chocolate candy wafers - you can use milk or dark chocolate
2 - 12-ounce jars Maraschino cherries, drained, with stems
1 cup basic fondant, rolled
You need to work fast when working with fondant, so it's best to make this recipe in two or three batches.



  1. Drain Maraschino cherries and pat dry with a clean paper towel. Arrange cherries on a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. If you are not able to locate cherries with stems, you can use toothpicks or plastic olive picks to dip the cherries in chocolate.
  2. Pour chocolate candy wafers into the upper portion of the double-boiler pan; melt over medium-low heat; and gently stir until wafers are melted.
  3. Roll one-half of the fondant onto a cutting board or marble slab. Knead the fondant and press it out until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Pull off a small piece of fondant and wrap it around the entire cherry, except for the stem. Try to maintain a consistency in the thickness of the fondant as you wrap it around the cherry.
  4. Holding the cherry by the stem, dip into the melted chocolate. Gently roll it around until the entire cherry is covered. Work quickly; otherwise the heat from the chocolate will melt the fondant.
  5. Place the dipped cherry onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Once you have covered all the cherries, place the tray in the freezer and cool for 10 to 15 minutes. While your first batch of cherries is setting up, begin working on the second batch by repeating the steps above.


Basic Fondant Recipe
Yield: 2 cups

2 cups granulated Sugar
1/8 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1-1/2 cups boiling water


  1. Butter the sides of a 1-1/2 quart saucepan.
  2. Combine all ingredients and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Allow mixture to cook, without stirring, to a soft ball stage of 238 degrees Fahrenheit. You'll need a candy thermometer in order to gauge the temperature of the candy.
  4. Pour the fondant onto a cookie sheet with sides. Do not scrape remaining fondant from sides of pan, as this could result in crystals forming in the fondant. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, scrape the fondant mixture from the edge of the cookie sheet toward the center. Spread the fondant evenly and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. When the fondant becomes stiff and turns white; pull it off the cookie sheet and knead it like bread dough, until it is free of lumps. Wrap the fondant in plastic wrap and place in a covered container for 24 to 48 hours.


Candy Making Supplies from eTundra.com

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Herb Companion: Eat Your Weeds

Herb Companion is a wonderful resource for learning about the many uses of herbs. It is the site of Herb Companion Magazine; a publication focused on gardening and cooking with herbs. Each issue is packed with healthy living advice, gardening tips and recipes.

The Herb Companion website offers a wealth of information to help visitors learn about the many benefits of herbs. While there, scroll to the bottom of the home page and visit other popular Ogden Publications sites including: Mother Earth News, Natural Home, Utne Reader and Herbs for Health.



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Cooking Vacations

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a great chef? Do you fantasize about creating masterpiece dishes or yearn to discover the secrets of authentic Italian cooking? If so, a cooking vacation may be exactly what you need.

In recent years, cooking vacations have soared in popularity. There are many reputable tour operators, hotels, and restaurants offering a variety of cooking vacation packages in locations all around the globe. I've included my 5 top picks. You can locate even more by typing in "cooking vacations" at your favorite search engine.

The Cheap Gourmet's Top Five Cooking School Picks

  1. Gourmet on Tour
  2. Culinary Vacations, Inc.
  3. Blair House Inn
  4. Gourmet Retreats
  5. Hugh Carpenter's Camp Napa Culinary

For a more detailed report of cooking vacations, read "Cooking Vacations for Lovers of Fine Cuisine". 

Reserve your Airport Parking Today!