Bed with a side of sushi: Add a cookery class to your Airbnb booking
Accommodation website offers tuition, guided tours and private home visits to food lovers
You too can make your dinner look this photogenic, after a food styling class with Jette Virdi, bookable on Airbnb
Learn to make ramen from scratch in San Francisco, perfect your pasta skills in Chianti, sniff out Paris’s Indian food secrets, or bake brown bread and eat Irish stew in a Dublin kitchen.
Accommodation website Airbnb has gone beyond the provision of a bed for the night to offer a range of regional immersion experiences to travellers – and the food activities on offer include some gems. Many are offered at prices much lower than those charged by professional tour guides and activity providers, and some are quite unique and personal.
Concerns about possible risks involved in booking an unregulated tour or class may be somewhat assuaged by the introduction, today, of new authentication procedures for hosts.
The company’s website reveals that “Starting today, both Experience hosts and the primary experience booker must go through Airbnb’s new identity authentication process where Airbnb ask them to upload their government ID and a selfie so Airbnb can check to see if they match.”
Anyone can design and offer an activity on the website. “Experiences are handcrafted activities, designed and led by local experts that you won’t find anywhere else. For people to earn a little extra money from sharing their passions and the communities they love, all they need to do is request to list their Experience through Airbnb and we will review to see if it qualifies to the high quality bar that has been set,” said an Airbnb spokesperson.
In Dublin, you can join recruitment firm employee Eimhear in her North Strand kitchen for an evening of Bread Beer and Bia during which you’ll make a loaf of soda bread, enjoy a drink in a local pub while it bakes, and return for a bowl of Irish stew at the kitchen table. You’ll get to take your loaf home, and the three-hour experience costs €48.
On the southside of the city, Gary invites visitors, or locals, to see and taste Dún Laoghaire’s best bits, including a photo opportunity from a private sea view terrace, with fish and chips for supper and a pint of Guinness in a local pub (€65).
Food stylist Jette Virdi shares the secrets of setting up and snapping an Insta-worthy food shot at food styling workshops in her Dublin 4 home. Participants get to use all of Virdi’s props and equipment, and she also provides an array of fresh seasonal food to be photographed. After the three-hour session (€70), those who take part leave with four fully styled shots for their portfolio.
Looking further afield, you can join a two-day immersion in Japanese culinary skills and etiquette with Ayuko, a sushi instructor and saki sommelier (€198). This experience includes a visit to Tsukiji fish market, the largest in the world, a lesson in cooking Japanese home food, and a multi-course Kaiseki banquet in a traditional restaurant.
In Shanghai, Di invites guests to shop for, cook and eat a five-dish traditional Chinese meal in her kitchen (€19). Journalist and cookery teacher Oanh offers three-hour classes in healthy, plant-based food at her studio in Ho Chi Minh City (€30).
Food bloggers Constance et Clara take visitors to Paris on a guided tour of La Chapelle, or Little India (€25). Also in Paris, you can book a class with professional chef Françoise at which you can learn how to make a classic Comté souffle in her kitchen, as well as enjoy a four-course lunch accompanied by Champagne (€92).
The Airbnb Irish experiences – and there are lots of interesting things to do, not all of them involving food, can be seen here, while for a more international selection of the food offering, take a look here.