Q&A With The International Kitchen
You ask, and we answer! Here are answers to some common questions from clients about everything from booking your trip to how we can help plan your stay overseas. Don't see your question? Contact us at (312) 467-0560 or email@example.com.
Q: Why The International Kitchen?
A: In 1994, we pretty much started the field of culinary travel. While there were some individual cooking programs, we were the first to start broadly marketing different regions and countries.
We also come from a background of travel, and although these trips are focused on cooking classes, they are first and foremost a travel trip and need the experience and expertise of a staff with the necessary knowledge to provide a "seamless" trip. We are a small, boutique company and you get a lot of personalized attention. It's not a random operator answering your call, it is an experienced travel professional who is dedicated to designing the best possible trip for you.
Q: Do you have an office or are you a "home based" company?
A: Our main office is in Chicago and we also have an office in Florence, Italy. We are a fully professional company, with a full time staff, 24/7 coverage and incredible customer service. We are recognized and recommended by the Italian, French and Spanish government tourist offices and have received a number of awards and accolades. Return to top.
Q: How many people do you take on any trip?
A: The size of the group is primarily dependent on the size of the lodging and the kitchen for the cooking classes. We will confirm for as few as 2 people (sometimes even for one!), and the group size will never exceed 12 unless it is a private group.
Q: The program in which I am most interested is offered for 6 nights, but I have only 3 or 4 nights. Can I take a shorter version?
A: In almost all cases we can offer a shorter version of the program. Generally, it would be the first 3 or 4 nights of the 6 night program and the price would be adjusted. We can also customize most of our itineraries if you want them to be a different length or to include different things.
Q: Can I book my class or program over the telephone?
A: No. You will have to access the Booking Form for either a class or a full program, fill out and submit electronically.
Q: How long do I have to wait for confirmation of my booking form?
A: With very few exceptions, we would have confirmation within 24-48 hours.
Q: I am traveling alone. Do you arrange for roommates or do I have to pay the single supplement?
A: We can always try to find a roommate, but most of our solo travelers prefer to pay the single supplement and have their own room. We advise that you confirm based upon paying the single supplement.
Q: If I have a food allergy or diet restrictions can those be accommodated?
A: We would need to know specifically what your allergies and/or restrictions are, but usually they can be accommodated. Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire if you have specific restrictions.
Q: My traveling companion does not want to cook. What are the options?
A: Some of our programs offer a “non cook” option which means they would partake in everything (meals, excursions, etc.) except the actual cooking classes.
Q: Are your trips all inclusive, or are there hidden costs that we discover once there?
A: It depends on the trip. Most of our trips include everything except perhaps a lunch or dinner. We are very explicit in exactly what is included in every trip and what is not. Please refer to the 'what's included' section of each cooking vacation.
Q: How much in advance should we book our trip?
A: If you have definitely decided on your dates and your trip, you should confirm as soon as you know. Many people have been disappointed when they have waited to book and then discovered the date was sold out. Return to top.
Q: Who does the cooking classes?
A: Again, that will vary depending upon the program. Most times it is a professional chef, but sometimes it can be a “nonna,” a local caterer, or just a very good cook who is also good at teaching.
Q: What will we make in the classes?
A: The format of the classes also depends on the specific program. Most of the time, each class will be the preparation of a complete meal, but, sometimes, each class will focus on one course. Sometimes you sample your creations as you make them, at other times they are served to you for a sit-down meal at the end.
Q: Do we eat what we cook?
A: You certainly do! And, don’t worry, if you didn’t do so well, there is always plenty of food. And, with few exceptions, very good quality local wine is included with all meals.
Q: Does everyone speak English?
A: Yes, everyone at our programs speaks English. Occasionally we have a chef or teacher whose English is limited in which case we will have a translator.
Q: In what kind of places will we stay? Do they have private bathrooms? A: Accommodations can vary from a B&B or a working farm, to a private guesthouse or a very deluxe hotel. It depends on the program and we can recommend one according to the type of housing you would like. EVERY option has en-suite private bathrooms!
Q: How much time will we spend in the kitchen? Is there free time? Are the excursions included?
A: Generally, in a week long program there will be 3-4 classes lasting from 2 to 3 1/2 hours each. All excursions in an itinerary are included, as well as the transportation for the excursions. It has been our experience that one ½ day of free time is about right.
Q: Do I need to wear anything special for the classes? Do I have to bring an apron?
A: You don’t need anything special. We suggest comfortable clothes and comfortable, closed-toe shoes. Aprons will be provided for the classes.
Q: If there are any problems during the trip, what would I do?
A: We give you complete local contact information in case of any problems. Return to top.
Q: Can you plan an entire itinerary if we are doing travel before and/or after our cooking vacation?
A: Yes, we would be most happy to assist. We have very competitive pricing at many boutique hotels (we don’t work with the big hotel chains) and have relationships with wonderful guides in most major cities. We can also assist with car rentals.
Q: What about museum tickets? Should we buy those in advance?
A: It is always a good idea to purchase tickets in advance, particularly during the months from May to September. In many cases we can assist with the purchase of tickets. Return to top.
Q: Should I tip?
A: Gratuities are not included in our pricing. It is never mandatory, but if you have been pleased with the services, it is always welcome. We are glad to give you some tipping guidelines before your departure.
Q: Why are your payments non refundable and non applicable?
A: We offer top quality programs for as few as two (2) people and to do so we guarantee our partners payment, even if there is a cancellation. Almost all of our partners are small businesses who cannot recoup the loss if a client cancels and we do not pay them. That is why our payments are non refundable and non applicable in almost all cases.
Q: Why do I need travel protection?
A: The cost of travel protection is a relatively small amount to cover a sizable investment. With almost all companies, if the travel protection plan is purchased within 21 days of the initial payment, it covers any pre-existing conditions in you and/or family members. We always assist with the collection of the payment when a claim is made.
If we have not answered any question you may have, please let us know!
Call us at 800-945-8606 or write us at email@example.com.