Join us for six days in this artist community for cooking classes, cultural events, shopping adventures, and grand dinners. Located high in the mountains north of Mexico City, this colonial town of 80,000 people (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site) was listed by Conde Nast Traveler as the 8th best travel destination in the world. Famous for its mild high desert climate and colonial architecture, San Miguel de Allende is known for its art galleries, craft shops, outdoor markets, art and language institutes, fine restaurants, and a large expatriate population drawn from throughout the world. It’s a town of cobblestone streets, pealing church bells, intense colors, and endless holy days, fiestas, and celebrations. Hugh and his wife, Teri Sandison, have been visiting San Miguel de Allende for years. They know many of San Miguel’s artists, writers, gallery owners, and townspeople, and have used these contacts to create an “insider’s” tour to one of the world’s most romantic and captivating small towns. Hugh and Teri are your hosts for every event throughout the week, each limited to only 12 people per session. This is not just a cooking school. It's a cultural immersion in the daily life of this charming colonial town.
This program is run in association with the luxurious Casa Sierra Nevada Hotel and their beautiful cooking school and housewares shop, “Sazon.” The hotel offers flawless colonial luxury in a magical old-world setting. They have made very attractive discounted room rates available to us, and we recommend you choose the Sierra Nevada hotel as your home away from home. Or contact us for information about alternate hotel choices.
About the climate: San Miguel is in the high desert country of central Mexico, about 6,000 feet above sea level. February and March attract many tourists from snowy North America. This is the “dry season” with crisp clear days. Evenings are in the mid-40s, while the afternoon temperatures are in the high 70s. It’s a magical time of year to visit San Miguel.
About safety: San Miguel is small conservative Catholic town, far removed from the troubled border nearly 1,000 miles to the north. In the 10 years of operating this program, none of our attendees has ever experienced any crime.
Traveling to San Miguel: You’ll fly into the nearby airport in Leon and be met by a private driving service. Within 90 minutes, you’ll be walking along the cobblestone streets of San Miguel. For additional information about traveling to San Miguel, click here [.pdf file].
Hugh Carpenter’s Camp San Miguel classes are created for the independent traveler wanting to combine a cooking vacation with plenty of free time to pursue their own interests while in San Miguel, Mexico. Features include lunches, receptions and dinners, as listed in the class itineraries. Airfare, hotel accommodations, car rental, and other items not described are not included.
Contact us today to find out more about enjoying a fabulous week of hands-on cooking and wine tasting and all the other exciting activities that you can get only at a cooking school hosted by cookbook author and chef extraordinaire Hugh Carpenter.
Camp San Miguel tour price per tour member: $2,490 ($500 deposit required with balance due 90 days before class begins). Payments may be made through PayPal or by personal check [enroll and pay].
Saturday: We urge you to arrive a day early.
This gives you time to orient yourself to the town and to enjoy dinner hosted by Hugh and Teri at one of San Miguel’s most sophisticated restaurants, Restaurant Moxi at Hotel Matilda.
Sunday: Reception at Casa Sierra Nevada, Dinner at Restaurant Andanza.
If you arrived on Saturday, we recommend you take the “House Tour” Sunday at noon. This gives you a chance to “see behind the doors” of three great houses and then have time in the afternoon to explore the town. Tonight we gather at Casa Sierra Nevada’s courtyard garden overlooking the pool for our opening reception and appetizers. Then we are treated to contemporary Mexican haute-cuisine at the Sierra Nevada restaurant, Andanza. The flavor-intense sauces are more European inspired, and the restaurant specializes in meat, game, and fresh fish. After dinner, we walk a short distance to the town square (“centro” or “jardin”) to enjoy the beautiful view of the cathedral, listen to mariachi bands at every corner, and watch the vibrant night life. (D)
Monday: Cooking with Hugh at Sazon, Market Tour, Cocktail Party.
Our morning begins as we gather at Sazon, centrally located just one block from the jardin. It is in this beautifully arranged indoor/outdoor cooking layout set inside an 18th-century colonial building that we gather for our cooking. All the classes this week are taught by Hugh, are full participation, and are based on Hugh and Teri's cookbook Mexican Flavors. We spend about two hours cooking, followed by lunch served in the garden courtyard. After lunch Teri leads all participants on a market tour where we gather ingredients for the Tuesday morning cooking class. Remainder of the afternoon free. In the early evening we are the guests of Bill and Heidi LeVasseur at their beautiful home. Bill has assembled one of the largest mask collections in Mexico, and Heidi has an extensive textile collection. They introduce us to the world of Mexican folk art as we drink margaritas and enjoy a large selection of traditional Mexican foods. (L,D)
Tuesday: Cooking with Hugh at Sazon, Shopping at San Miguel's Design Center, a Visit to the Home of Artists Gary and Annemarie Slipper, Cocktails at the Rosewood Hotel.
This morning we return to Sazon for another full-participation cooking class, followed by lunch. Today’s class centers on tropical fruits, contemporary marinades, and flavor-intense sauces for meats and seafood that are to be roasted, grilled, or cooked on the outdoor smoker. After lunch, Teri leads the group through La Aurora, San Miguel's Design Center, meeting artists in their studios and enjoying a wide range of shopping opportunities. For flagging spirits, there are pastries and cappuccinos! Early this evening, we visit the studio and home of artists Gary and Annemarie Slipper, whose art is collected internationally. Gary’s art is richly lined drawings and paintings of countless figures set in mythic or fantasy settings. Annemarie works as a bronze sculptor. The Slippers are charming and wonderful hosts. Your evening is free, or you may join Hugh and Teri on the rooftop terrace of the luxurious Rosewood Hotel for a light dinner of appetizers. (L)
Wednesday: Optional Horseback Riding, DaNisha Gallery, Cooking and Lunch at Rancho de la Capilla, a Visit to Mayer Schacter and Susan Page's Folk Art Gallery.
Our day begins with a visit to DaNisha Sculpture Gallery. Husband and wife Dan and Nisha create unique ceramic art that is collected internationally by such notables as former President Clinton! After our visit, we travel outside town to Rancho de la Capilla. This is a private and secluded 18th-century rancho that was lovingly restored by Kathy Lichter and Steve Zazula. They are our hosts for an authentic Mexican traditional lunch prepared by three talented rancho cooks. This is sure to be fun! It’s an utterly glorious setting, and you have the option of taking an early morning horseback ride with Steve. On our way back to San Miguel, we visit the estate of folk art collectors Mayer Schacter and Susan Page. Their folk art collection is world-class. Plus, they have a large gallery of folk art they have collected over the years that is for sale. Trip Advisor calls their gallery "the best shopping opportunity in San Miguel." For dinner, choose from San Miguel's many restaurants, or join Hugh and Teri for a no-host dinner at one of their favorite places. (L)
Thursday: Cooking Class and Lunch at Sazon, the Church at Atotonilco, Pottery Shopping at Dolores Hidalgo.
This morning we meet for our third cooking class with Hugh at Sazon. We highlight easy Mexican appetizers and Chiles Rellenos served with an amazing salsa. After lunch we tour the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Church of Atotonilco, which is utterly unlike any other Catholic church. Then we drive a short distance to Dolores Hidalgo, famous for its pottery, where we visit the two best pottery shops and eat ice cream on the town square before returning to San Miguel. Your evening is free to enjoy San Miguel's many restaurants or to join Hugh and Teri at one of their favorite spots. (L)
Friday: Cooking with Hugh at Sazon, Jewelry Shopping, Graduation Dinner.
This morning we meet at Sazon for our last cooking class, which features several different mole sauces. The afternoon hours are free for you to take care of last-minute shopping or enjoy other adventures. Our evening begins with a visit to the beautiful home of jeweler Bill Harris and Howard Haynes. We tour the property, enjoy a glass of wine, hear their wonderful stories of life in San Miguel, and shop for jewelry! Then we go for our “Graduation Dinner” to The Restaurant at Sollano #16. This is San Miguel’s top restaurant. Chef-Owner Donnie Masterton creates a dinner blending both rustic and refined Mexican country cooking—all dishes not on the menu and cooked by Donnie. As we savor the food, we lift our glasses, make farewell toasts, and recall our adventures. (L,D)
Saturday: This is a travel day home, or you may decide to extend your stay in Mexico.
We hope you return to visit us again in San Miguel.