This post contains references to our experience with The Chef & The Dish. We may receive compensation when you click on links to its products.

The Chef & The Dish brings world-class chefs right into your kitchen and it couldn’t make me happier.

Lasting memories

I will never forget the taste of the beautifully presented, fruit covered waffle we had in Belgium or the spinach pie we learned how to make in Mykonos, Greece. If I think about it, I can almost taste the the paella Steve and I shared with our daughter, Meghan, on the square in Salamanca, Spain and the ricotta stuffed ravioli we prepared ourselves in Tuscany last summer.

A fruit covered waffle in Belgium, spinach pie in Greece, Paella in Spain, and ricotta stuffed ravioli in Tuscany.

A fruit covered waffle in Belgium, spinach pie in Greece, Paella in Spain, and ricotta stuffed ravioli in Tuscany.

Yes, I have a love affair with food. Trying new cuisine is one of my favorite things to do when we travel. And when we have the opportunity to learn how to prepare an authentic local dish, it becomes a fond and lasting memory of our time in that place.

We loved learning how to make pasta with Opera in the Kitchen while traveling through Tuscan in 2018.

We loved learning how to make pasta with Opera in the Kitchen while traveling through Tuscany in 2018.

So when we got an email from a company called The Chef & The Dish, I was instantly intrigued. The company was founded by Jenn Nicken, the former head of marketing for the entertainment division of Apple/iTunes in Canada who left to pursue her love of all things food and travel.


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Creating The Chef & The Dish

After traveling the world and tasting foods of each region, Jenn returned to Canada and put together the recipe for her own new business, The Chef & The Dish.

Jenn found her way into a chef's kitchen in Thailand and he taught her to make this colorful dish.

Jenn found her way into a chef’s kitchen in Thailand and he taught her to make this colorful dish. (Courtesy photo)

She created a company that brings world-class chefs into the home kitchens of people (like you and me) all over the world. Through the magic of the internet and video conferencing software called Skype, The Chef & The Dish connects its customers with a highly trained chef. She or he teaches you, step-by-step, how to create a specialty meal from her/his region.

The Chef & The Dish website

There are dozens of different cooking classes to choose from, including Hungarian goulash, traditional Spanish tapas, and okonomiyaki from Japan. The chefs may be home cooks, have Michelin stars or have been trained by their grandmothers. But they have all been selected for being great cooks as well as great teachers and effective communicators. And, they are fun!

We had the pleasure of taking a complimentary Italian cooking class via Skype with Chef Paola Martinenghi who instructed us from her small village near Milan, Italy. We’ll write more on that, later.  For now, just know that she is FABULOUS!

Chef Paola Martinenghi was a phenomenal teacher, but she also made us laugh.

Chef Paola Martinenghi was a phenomenal teacher, and she also made us laugh.

How The Chef & The Dish works

First, let me tell you how this whole The Chef & The Dish thing works. The first step is to make sure you have a laptop or tablet (like an iPad or Samsung Galaxy). It needs sound, a built-in camera, and a high speed Internet connection. Second, you just visit The Chef & The Dish website a book a class online.

Booking a class with The Chef & The Dish is simple with easy to navigate online options.

Booking a class with The Chef & The Dish is simple with easy to navigate online options.

Cost of the classes begins at $299 for two people, which we found comparable to cooking classes we’ve taken abroad. Once they receive your booking, a kitchen assistant will contact you to set up a personal kitchen prep session. Our cooking assistant (Jenn herself) reviewed our shopping list with us, answered all our questions, and even helped us find the best camera angle for our online class.

We were fortunate that our kitchen assistant was none other then The Chef & The Dish Founder, Jenn Nicken.

We were fortunate that our kitchen assistant was none other then The Chef & The Dish Founder Jenn Nicken.

Preparing with a kitchen assistant

Before our video conference, Jenn emailed us a detailed grocery list and recommendations for kitchen supplies we’d need. She walked us through each list and even offered to call around to help us find specific ingredients for our recipes. Jenn also explained how our cooking class would work and what to expect from Paola. By the end of our video conference, we felt well-prepared for our culinary experience.

Steve selects a piece of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese at Whole Foods.

Steve selects a piece of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese at Whole Foods.

Several days before our class, we did all of our grocery shopping and were easily able to find everything we needed. Next, we prepped our kitchen with all of the necessary pans and mixing bowls. We also made sure we had a bottle of Prosecco chilling in the fridge because drinking wine while cooking just seemed to make it a little more Italian.

Some of the dry ingredients we purchased for our Italian cooking class.

Some of the dry ingredients we purchased for our Italian cooking class.

On the day of our cooking class, we gathered all of our supplies in the kitchen, and set up our computer. Then, at the appropriate time and from her kitchen in Italy, Chef Paola appeared on the screen of our laptop. We were ready to begin our culinary journey!

What’s next?

Coming soon – Part two of our series on The Chef & The Dish, including all the details about what we cooked (and lots of beautiful pics). We’ll show you how we prepared four dishes, all featuring Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese! Seriously, you’re gonna wish you could taste your computer/smartphone screen.


While our cooking class with The Chef & The Dish was provided complimentary, the opinions and excitement for cooking at home are our own.

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  • Just over two years ago, we stopped in Pawhuska to have lunch at Ree Drummond's @PWMercantile. From the person opening the door for us to the folks tending the line giving us water, we felt welcome from the moment we set foot in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.⁣
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But it turns out it wasn't just @thepioneerwoman and her husband, Ladd, who went above and beyond to welcome visitors. No, it turns out what they did was just par for the course in this town that's home to some of the friendliest and most welcoming people we've met in all our travels. ⁣
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So we bought a house there. We got it in part, so we could be a part of the community we've come to love. But we also got it so we could help welcome folks to town and let them know how glad we are they came to visit. Come and see Pawhuska. And when you do, stay awhile.
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They start with a dill pickle spear, wrap that in Havarti cheese, then put a wonton wrapper around it all. Then, they fry it, and slice it open just so before serving them alongside a spicy aioli dipping sauce. We had these at a complimentary meal at Outlaws Bar and Grill in @visitwilliston, North Dakota.⁣
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Let's be honest, these pickles are just one of many reasons we look forward to our return to @northdakotalegendary next year.
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In Bermuda, we had the chance to watch the Norwegian Escape depart. We watched as she pushed away from the dock, then spun 180 degrees on a point before heading out to sea.⁣
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We've seen ships do this dozens of times. In fact, we've been on ships and have been part of this type of maneuvering dozens of times. And yet, given the sheer size of the vessels, it never ceases to impress.
  • You know you want to. Do it. Just book the ticket and go. At the end of your life, you likely won't remember most of the stuff you bought in 2019, but you will always remember the journey you took and the experiences you had. So enrich your life and go. We've never regretted spending money for a trip.
  • This just might be the sweetest, best pecan roll we've ever had. At the @PWMercantile, they bake these delicious treats daily. Covered in a luscious caramel and finely chopped pecans, these rolls are the stuff dreams are made of. Have you had one?
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We spent more than an hour walking the carefully tended paths, snapping photos, and just enjoying the beautiful flowers. Our visit here made us glad that we literally scheduled time on this trip to stop and smell the roses.
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What's your happy place? ⁣
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