Hudson Valley, NY (March 2013) – The delicious experience of eating your way through the Hudson Valley can only be rivaled by joining top chefs in their kitchens to learn their techniques. Cooking classes at farm-to-table restaurants and cooking schools not only reveal culinary secrets, they’re great fun and a terrific way to expand your culinary know-how.

World famous, the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park produces more top chefs for the region than any other institution. Learn from the masters in a wide variety of hands-on programs that have you cooking dishes from around the world or baking everything from cupcakes to artisanal breads. Sample your creations and take home a CIA cookbook to do it all again in your own kitchen! Top chefs are also teaching at Different Drummer’s Kitchen in Albany. Whether you’re a 4-star chef or someone who wants to be, this place will teach you to face the stove with a whole new attitude. Come to learn, come to laugh, and come to enjoy a delicious meal prepared by you. No experience necessary, the chefs work with novices as well as accomplished cooks.

Or visit the beautiful kitchens of Don Coqui at their vintage factory building in New Rochelle. Go behind the scenes of this exciting restaurant where chefs explain the food and wine you’ll be working with, give you your own Don Coqui apron, and get you cooking! Once the meal is prepared, you’ll sit down to dine and share the experience with your fellow cooks. From factory to farm house, The Iron Forge Inn is well known beyond the Warwick area. CIA Chef/owner Erik Johansen shows you how to use seasonal ingredients fresh from the farms near the restaurant. It’s a relaxed environment that illustrates just how easy cooking from scratch can be!

Baking is an art perfected by the French. Croissants, cream puffs, breads, and fruit tarts are a snap to make under the careful tutelage of Brewster Pastry’s French chef Thierry Danvin. The shop has provided signature breads and treats to the Brewster community for years. Everything you bake in class can be taken to friends and family, that is if you can resist them on the car ride home. If eating all that pastry makes you thirsty, MaMa’s Café in Stone Ridge will teach you how to make seasonal sodas from natural ingredients. On March 25th, bring the kids to see how herbs, spices and even roasted parsnip can be turned into soda as you master the art of creating simple syrups and fresh juices to flavor carbonated water. Class ends with an award for most creative soda, and everyone leaves as a jerk, soda jerk that is!

Boost your kitchen confidence at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy. Upcoming classes include “Chi Mangia Bene, Mangion Italiano,” (He who eats well, eats Italian) on March 21st. You’ll create from original Italian recipes while broadening your knowledge of the language and culture. Other spring classes include Water Bath Canning, Gluten Free-Savory & Sweet, and Condiments. Just down the road, Malden Bridge Chef shows you how to cook everything from soup to nuts, your way. Dazzle your guests with dishes created specifically to your taste (or theirs). It’s a place to explore flavors and develop your own culinary style.

Cooking becomes performance art at Lanterna in Nyack. Sip wine as you watch the chef create a four course meal using traditional Tuscan recipes. Each course comes with a different wine combining the warm, wonderful flavors that Zagat rates as a “standout.” All of this cooking probably has you thinking that you should upgrade your dining supplies, so make tracks to Astor House in Tannersville to stock up on useful things for serving your creations more beautifully. Witty aprons, clever cutlery, decorative trays, and candles to light your table are just a few of the items that can add tasty eye appeal to all your hard work.

The good news is that there’s no final exam with cooking classes, just a delicious finish as you taste the results of your slicing, dicing, kneading, and sautéing. Choose from countless sessions offered throughout the valley. Who would ever think that slaving over a hot stove could be so much fun?

Additional information can be obtained from the Hudson Valley Tourism web site at Hudson Valley Tourism, Inc. is the 10-county region designated by I LOVE NEW YORK to promote tourism for the area. Counties include Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Ulster and Westchester. Regional information can be obtained from any of the county tourism offices, or by calling 845-615-3860.