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La Scuola
Take a seat: School's in session at Eataly.

We’ve always wanted to go on one of those immersive culinary vacations to Italy. We’d make pasta. We’d chug sip wine. We’d admire the gorgeous Tuscan countryside.

Now we can at least come close to that dream at Eataly Chicago.

The Italian megamarket has just opened its La Scuola cooking school, a private teaching room on the second floor that’s outfitted with rows of two-person desks and a high-tech demonstration kitchen.

TV host and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich curates the classes, with topics ranging from “Italian Comfort Food” to “Meatless Mondays.” Chef instructors do the heavy lifting, and for students, the experience is more about eating great food and picking up tips for making it yourself than actually getting your hands dirty. (Classes are $35 to $110 per person.)

We took a risotto-focused “Chef’s Kitchen” class with Bastianich in which we learned how to get the right rice texture, why celery goes in at the end (so it stays crunchy) and how to pick a decent olive oil (it should say “product of Italy”). And since vino is always on the syllabus at La Scuola, we also tasted four wines.

It was the most entertaining meal we’ve had at Eataly yet--and we didn’t even have to wait for a table. 

La Scuola di Eataly Chicago, 43 E. Ohio St.; 312-521-8700 or

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