MasterChef Travel, in partnership with Cox & Kings, has launched a new range of culinary-themed small group holidays hosted by popular contestants from the television series, MasterChef Australia.
But don't stress. There won't be a mystery box, pressure test or oversized countdown timer in sight. Fun is the main ingredient of these tours, which reveal the wonders of some of the most fascinating parts of the world, broaden your culinary horizons, and will have you [insert George Calambaris voice here] "cooking with passion" in no time.
Many tours include sourcing ingredients, expert demonstrations and hands-on cooking, while some are simply a celebration of great food, and its place, in local cultures. In addition to the culinary elements, most holidays include plenty of opportunities for sightseeing. Fresh from the farmer's market, we've picked three of our favourite itineraries below.
Italy: A Culinary Journey with Kate Bracks
Hosted by MasterChef Australia 2011 winner, Kate Bracks, this tour focuses on the Slow Food principles of sustainable, traditionally produced cuisine. As Kate says, "Food is at it's best when it is freshly picked in the right season, prepared simply and shared with others ... exactly how the Italians like to do it!"
Join her for cooking classes in Rome and Florence which concentrate on traditional techniques and stay in character accommodation in the Italian countryside.
England: A Rural Food Discovery with Alice Zaslavsky
"British cuisine is a patchwork of cultures and cuisines - a tapestry of flavours that stretches back across its rich history beyond the Middle Ages," according to MasterChef Australia 2012 contestant, Alice Zaslavsky.
From the welcome dinner at Les Trios Garcons and visit to the colourful Borough Market to lunch at the world famous Walthamstow Pie and Mash Store – join Alice on a tour which celebrates exceptional British produce. Another highlight is the visit to Forman's, one of Britain's most prestigious salmon curers, to learn preparation and smoking techniques.
India: A Spice Odyssey with Rishi Desai
Remember the MasterChef 2013 contestant, Rishi Desai, who survived 11 eliminations and most of the cooking challenges simply because he loved being in the kitchen? We think his inventive Indian-inspired cooking may have had something to do with it, so who better to emabark on a spice odyssey of India with?
"I will take you across the streets of Delhi, to the beautiful Taj Mahal and into the heart of colourful Rajasthan as we learn the secrets of Indian cooking," says Rishi.
Highlights include visiting the spice and dry fruit markets of Dehli and dinner at award-winning specialty restaurant, Peshawari, famed for its delicious North West Frontier cuisine.
Prices start from $3569* for 9 days departing Delhi. Click here for more details and to enquire today.
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