We love to play amateur chef in our own kitchens. And we often plan trips centered around marquee meals. But now, cooking schools and resorts with culinary agendas let us combine these foodie passions.

Take the La Cocina cooking school at the famous Mexico resort, Rancho La Puerta. Set in the heart of a six-acre farm, La Cocina brings in renowned chefs to teach classes that emphasize hands-on cooking with the freshest ingredients (picked by you from their organic gardens). Follow up your day of chopping and braising with a family style meal paired with local Valle de Guadalupe wines.

The Cal-A-Vie Health Spa in Northern San Diego is more than just a wellness retreat; it also boasts a full-service European kitchen, where chef Jason Graham teaches classes on healthy and delicious cooking--think local summer corn chowder and soba-wakame rolls in togarashi aioli--meant to coincide with guests' personal nutrition goals.

And for those who live to feed friends and family, there's the Andaz West Hollywood's new "Be the Chef" program, where you can work alongside executive chef Sebastien Archembault to prepare a seasonal menu for your own clan which might include crispy duck confit or boneless suckling pig. You'll even receive a spiffy chef coat for all your hard work. For information call 323-785-6090.

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