Travel with Kids : New Orleans School of Cooking

A friend and I recently took an AMAZING trip to New Orleans with our kids. Combined we had an almost 11 year old, a 12 year old, and two 13 year olds (and a couple of middle aged moms). It was a super, fabulous blast.

Now, before any readers freak out, New Orleans is a WONDERFUL city to take kids. There is a ton to do, to see, and to experience beyond the “adult” image of NOLA. In my late 20s and early 30s, I lived in New Orleans for 5 years and LOVED it. The entire time I was (and still am) a non-drinking, non-partying, Jesus-loving Christian. Yes, you can love New Orleans and Jesus.

This trip we did a TON of fun things, but hands down, one of the favorites was attending a cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking.  This was actually my third time attending a class there, with my first being in 2004! Yikes!

Since this is my third time taking classes there, I obviously love the process, but I have to say this one was the best yet. Now, before I laud on about the class – here are the basics…

It’s a demo more than a class. You don’t actually cook – the instructor does – but you can ask questions, see the process, and eat all the delicious food they cook. You’re provided with recipes so you can take notes and make any adjustments or comments you need. You will feel completely ready to cook the recipes when you get home. In the process of cooking, the instructors share about the food history of New Orleans and Louisiana, as well as telling personal stories and tales of NOLA. If you want to take an actual “cooking” class where you do the cooking – you can google them – but expect it to start at about $160+/person.

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The demo class we attended was $32.50/person and included biscuit and syrup, corn and crab bisque, shrimp creole and rice, bananas foster, and pralines, as well as drinks (tea/beer/lemonade) and recipes. It was about 3 hours long and we left STUFFED. There are other classes with other menus, so definitely pick one that you want to both eat and learn how to cook. Prices vary a little with the class content – and I think ours was the most expensive class.

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The thing I LOVED about this particular class was our instructor. He was amazingly interesting, well-spoken, and engaging. The kids all loved the class and ate (at least some) of all of the food. In one class I took (a number of years ago) the instructor threw in a number of cringe-worthy inappropriate comments, but this instructor was clean, respectful, and very kind. If you take kids with you – I highly recommend “Tom” as an instructor!!

One last thing I would recommend is that you book the class ahead of time. We did a walk-in, but it was only God’s gracious timing that made it work. It’s easy to pay online and sign up, so I would skip the stress and plan ahead for this one. I’m sure in the busy season the place is packed and sold out. Also, bring some spending money. You’ll definitely want to buy some spice blends and other cool stuff to add to your cooking routine for when you get home!

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