Tuscany Cooking School: Week with The Tuscan Chef
The leading provider of cooking vacations since 1994

Week with The Tuscan Chef
Lucca, Tuscany

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About the location: Discover a little piece of Tuscan heaven and savor the very best in Tuscan living gathered together in our kitchen and around our table. The Tuscan Chef is based in one of a number of wonderful villas in the area near Vorno, a small town outside of Lucca. Your week-long Tuscany cooking tour will take place at one of the charming and luxurious private villas available for the course.

The villas are all of the same caliber, surrounded by wild and stunning olive grove terraces or fruit orchards reaching out over Monte Pisano with views across lavender and lemon scented Italian gardens towards the enchanting walled town of Lucca. They each feature a small selection of wonderfully outfitted rooms (usually only 6 to 8 rooms) with private en suite bath or shower facilities. Your cooking classes are held in the charming Tuscan kitchen of your villa, with meals served in the elegant dining room. During your free time you can enjoy the lovely grounds or the gracious Italian living areas.

About the cooking lessons: Our hands-on cooking courses are under the guidance of professional Italian chef, Valter Roman, one of our top collaborators for many years! If you asked Valter what he wanted to do when he was a child, he would have always said “be a chef.” Like many, he began his “studies” at the side of his mamma and grandma learning the traditions and kitchen culture that are today the essence and basis of any successful Italian chef. Valter studied professionally at the Instituto Alberghiero di Casargo, which led to many successful positions in renowned restaurants throughout Italy and the world. His mentor, Ugo Amato, trained him in London in the art of pastry where he created some of the most sought after pastries and cakes and even supplied the British Royal family. He has also studied with the formidable Tuscan chef Alvaro Maccioni and after three years of study has achieved his sommelier status to accompany his vast kitchen knowledge. Craving the “bella vita” life of Italy, Valter returned to Tuscany with his English wife, Julia, where together they have teamed up for the last ten years to create the ideal cooking vacation.

The classes are fun, informative and full of tips and tricks of the trade. You will discover and explore the tastes and textures of some of the finest ingredients from fresh home-made pasta and plump potato gnocchi with their various complimenting sauces to truffles, fragrant garden Italian herbs, porcini mushrooms and wild asparagus, freshly pressed olive oil, creamy pecorino cheeses and classic Italian wines. Kitchen studies are enhanced and complimented by a special touring program to some of the most enchanting and personally selected towns, markets, vineyards and other hidden treasures of Tuscany.

Week with The Tuscan Chef Itinerary

Day 1 - Sunday

Sample itinerary (itinerary may vary slightly according to season).

  • Transfers from Pisa or Florence airports or train stations (or from Lucca train station) for arrival at your accommodation on the outskirts of Lucca around midday for a welcome buffet lunch prepared by your Italian chef for the week, Valter Roman.
  • During lunch, meet your hosts and cooking colleagues with time to settle in and relax before your first hands-on cooking lesson.
  • Hands-on cooking lesson with preparation of dinner.
  • Welcome aperitivi and orientation before dinner.

Day 2 - Monday

  • After a coffee and a pastry, take an early morning stroll around the Walls of Lucca (2.5 miles) before returning to the kitchen for a specially-themed cooking lesson focused on pasta and its sauces.
  • After lunch, depart for a short guided tour of Lucca where you will visit gourmet suppliers and producers for tastings. Stop for a wine tasting at Enoteca Vanni.
  • Hands-on cooking lesson and preparation of dinner.
  • Aperitivi and dinner.

Day 3 - Tuesday

  • After breakfast, depart for a Chianti adventure stopping off at an enchanting market town as well as renowned vineyard for wine-tasting and lunch.
  • In the early afternoon, travel through the Chianti countryside to explore San Gimignano and taste Sergio Dondoli’s gelato.
  • Return home for an informal pizza supper in the lively village trattoria.

Day 4 - Wednesday

  • After breakfast, enjoy a chef’s tour of the bustling market town of Pistoia to choose fresh produce for a kitchen challenge where students and chefs work together to prepare a buffet lunch with items found at the market.
  • Lunch followed by free time to relax and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the villa.
  • Hands-on cooking lesson and preparation of dinner.
  • Aperitivi and dinner.

Day 5 - Thursday

  • Breakfast.
  • Gourmet adventure in the Garfagnana, where you will visit a cheese producer and join Andrea at Il Mulino (an old mill) for a “slow food” Tuscan tasting lunch.
  • Hands-on fish-themed cooking lesson and preparation of dinner.
  • Aperitivi and dinner.

Day 6 - Friday

  • After breakfast, your hands-on cooking lesson specializing in pastry and dessert techniques.
  • Following lunch, enjoy some free time relaxing at the villa or exploring Lucca.
  • Hands-on cooking lesson and preparation of dinner.
  • Farewell drinks, graduation ceremony and celebration dinner.

Day 7 - Saturday

  • Breakfast available and transfers to Florence or Pisa airport or Florence, Pisa or Lucca train station. Goodbye, until the next time!