If you're looking for a nice splurge for your foodie, then send them to the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay — 40 minutes south of San Francisco — for their Inside the Kitchen series. The series brings a top chef from the Bay Area and beyond into an intimate classroom environment. Meet and learn from renowned chefs like Traci Des Jardins, Ryan Scott, and Top Chef Season 3 winner Hung Huynh. All classes are demonstration-style cooking classes that include step-by-step instructions, beverage pairings and a recipe booklet to take home. The best part is that their sous-chefs are in the back creating large amounts for the entire class to taste!
Most of the courses are set up as full menus, and the chance to interact so closely with these chefs is phenomenal. The cost of the class is $90 — a portion of the proceeds goes towards Meals On Wheels of San Francisco — but they also have deluxe overnight packages starting at $529. It's definitely a tall cost to juggle —especially once you consider airfare and travel arrangements — but when else will you be able to work so closely with these phenomenal artists?
Classes begin Jan. 6; be sure to check out the full schedule of classes and instructors. In addition to the class, each chef will step into Navio — the restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton currently helmed by Aaron Zimmer — for a one-night-only chef's tasting menu. So if you're not interested in cooking, you could always sit back and eat instead.