They call Bali ‘the island of the gods’, but we suggest another moniker—‘island of a thousand flavours’. You can find pretty much every type of cuisine here from Indonesian to Indian, carnivorous barbecues to raw vegan plates, fast food, fine dining and more. And for the epicurious among us, there are also a wide range of cooking schools where you can unlock the secrets of said cuisines. However, no two cooking schools are alike, so we’ve handpicked a few that we think stand out above the rest.
Bali Asli impresses at first glance with a dining room that offers spectacular views of Bali’s most sacred volcano, Mount Agung, rising above a patchwork quilt of emerald rice paddies. However, it’s the unique culinary experiences here that draw foodies in time after time. Let the affable owner, Penny, show you what life is like as a local as you fish for your lunch in a traditional jukung boat, forage for herbs and roots in the foothills and practice your bartering skills at the local market. Afterwards you get to use those ingredients to prepare authentic Balinese and Indonesian dishes by hand, and then sample your creations at a feast fit for a Balinese king.
The Workshop Mozaic
If you’re looking to impress friends, family and loved ones with fine dining fare, let the award-winning professionals at Mozaic show you how it’s done. Start the day with a cold infused iced tea in the slick workshop, head out to the garden to pick fresh herbs and learn about the unique ingredients used in Balinese and Indonesian cooking, and then watch the experienced chef as he walks you through the steps of creating modern French cuisine with exotic spices and flavors. The Workshop offers recreational courses for tourists and expats, as well as professional technical training courses for chefs and restaurateurs.
Casa Luna Cooking School
When Janet DeNeefe first arrived in Bali in the 1980s, she immediately fell in love with the people, culture and cuisine of the island. She went on to marry a Balinese man, raise four children, write two books that focus on Balinese food, own and operate two restaurants (Indus and Casa Luna) and create the Casa Luna Cooking School. Her cooking classes include plenty of insight into the role of food in Balinese culture, as well as delicious dishes like spiced fish in banana leaves, gado gado and black rice pudding.
Located in East Bali between the mountains and the sea, Alila Manggis is home to a huge organic garden that supplies the restaurant here as well as the cooking classes. The classes start with a tour of the garden and the chance to collect your own ingredients for your lunch. Afterwards you head back to the traditional Balinese pavilion where you get to sample all the items and then chop, grind, grill and steam them to create traditional Balinese dishes for a hearty lunch.