We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Fantastic culinary experience!”
Review of Gourmet Retreats

Gourmet Retreats
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Hands-on cooking classes in a professionally equipped kitchen. Gourmet Retreats is located in the town of Calistoga in the Legendary Napa Valley. Classes range from 1 -5 days, geared to avid home cooks and food enthusiasts. Enrollment limited to 8 people per class. Students enjoy meal of food prepared served with wine/beverage. Knives, tools and equipment are provided. Students only need to bring their appetite for knowledge and fun. See website for dates and topics.
Reviewed 24 November 2012

In October 2010 I attended Lana's 4 day cooking school with my mother and sister in law. We are fairly proficient home cooks and Lana pitched her class perfectly to us. We came home fired up about getting into the kitchen with numerous recipes on hand and tips that we had learnt. Who doesn't want to know how to make a perfect pie crust and chocolate soufflé! Lana is very experienced and has a great way of sharing her knowledge in a comfortable and personal way. It's very 'hands-on' which makes the classes super fun and interesting! The days literally flew by! We recently had an opportunity to be back in Napa Valley and returned for a one day course. Lana was genuinely excited to see us back, and we had another fantastic day in the kitchen. If you are looking for a very personal, hands on cooking class then this is for you!!

Thank TaniaLea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review
JPMiles / Payback Arrow
75
JPMiles / Payback Arrow
Reviews (7)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
Filter

2 - 6 of 7 reviews

Reviewed 10 June 2012

My mom, brother and I recently attended Lana's 5 day Cooks Boot Camp as a family vacation and it definitely lived up to all of our expectations. We are all relatively accomplished cooks, but have never had any formal classes. Lana really expanded our cooking repertoire with master recipes and a solid foundation of basic kitchen skills. She was wonderfully flexible when we wanted to change up the menu and learn things that weren't on the original itinerary. For example, I wanted to learn how to de-bone a chicken, so Lana went out and purchased a small chicken just so I could learn this skill. That was definitely "above and beyond" in my book! She was very accommodating with our flavor preferences (cilantro is yucky!) and it really felt like the entire class and menu was tailored specifically to us. The major strength of Lana's cooking classes is that she makes intimidating recipes like souffles easy to understand and accomplish. She is a wonderful teacher and it is obvious that she truly enjoys sharing her love of cooking with others.

During our boot camp, my brother and I stayed in the two rooms of her B&B. Being very much a girly girl, I appreciated the large bathroom and cosmetic counter in my room where I had more than enough space to unpack all of my cosmetics and toiletries. There is a small coffee maker and mini fridge in the room, and Lana made sure I had a little pot of cream for my coffee (which was wonderful!). The king size bed is very comfortable and with the windows open for the evening breeze, I would fall asleep to the sounds of the wind and the soft splashes of the fountain in her garden. Each morning we would have our breakfast al fresco on the patio outside of the kitchen. While the breakfasts weren't large, they were always creative and surprisingly satisfying. Lana would always have fresh brewed coffee and orange juice ready for us, which made us feel very much at home. The B&B experience alone was worth the trip to Calistoga. She is a very gracious and attentive hostess and I couldn't imagine a more pleasant place to stay while visiting the California wine country! I highly recommend CasaLana!

2  Thank Obsidianbtrfly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 June 2012

We made a family vacation of the 5 day culinary boot camp and would highly recommend it to anyone! Lana is an excellent teacher and provides a well-rounded culinary experience in a casual setting. The hands-on learning and personalized attention is at a level you could never get in a large institution-type setting. She is great to work with - taking time to answer questions and tailoring the instruction to your skill level/educational needs. She is very gracious and flexible in adjusting the instruction on the fly to accommodate our culinary preferences. She also included our one non-cooking family member; for a small fee, he joined us to enjoy the meals we prepared each day. The course syllabus has great practical information that I will use as a resource in the future. We all had fun besides learning a lot and will definitely return - THANKS Lana for a wonderful culinary experience!!!

1  Thank Susan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2012

My daughter and I recently attended Lana's 3 day cooking school. We had a delightful time. Lana is a great teacher and is fun and entertaining as well. Lana is also flexible with requests, answers all kinds of questions, and makes great suggestions for your particular skill level. Who knew that after all these years I did not hold the chef's knife correctly!!! Best of all you get to eat what you prepare - served with wine. No wine while cooking - something about playing with knives! You will be busy but learn alot - and receive a notebook with recipes and suggestions.

1  Thank Ruth S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
See more reviews
Reviewed 29 February 2012

We recently booked a weekend cooking class at CasaLana since our first choice, the CIA Greystone, was booked for the same weekend. The only reason we considered spending money on a small, unknown cooking school was due to favorable reviews we read on Trip Advisor. We booked the class way in advance; however, one week before the class we encountered a sudden unexpected family medical emergency that required us to cancel. We called immediately to explain. Although we expected to pay a hefty cancellation fee, instead we were told we would lose the entire enrollment fee of $700 we had paid in advance. No exceptions. As an after thought, we were told that an "exception" would be made if we wanted to attend a class, last minute, IF there was another cancellation or IF the school couldn't fill a space. After the rude treatment we received, we would NEVER consider attending a class at CasaLana under any circumstance! Lesson learned: we are out $700 and will never take a chance like this again. CasaLana gets an "F" in customer service and an "F" in human compassion. Buyer beware!

5  Thank lawinmtn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
casalana, Owner at Gourmet Retreats, responded to this reviewResponded 1 March 2012

This customer cancelled 4 days before the event. The class had been sold-out for weeks before the class and customers had been turned away. The policy is consistent with that of every other cooking school in the area, including CIA, and other limited capacity events. The customer was offered the option to send someone in their place to avoid forfieiture of the fee in the event the spaces did not resell. The policy is clearly stated and must be agreed to during the registration process.

Although the policy states No Exceptions, I made every effort to accommodate the customer by offering attendance at any of the other 2-day sessions provided there was space available within 2 weeks of the session. This is far more consideration than the customer would receive from other companies that offer set capacity events such as a concert, ballet, symphony, etc. If you cannot attend, you sell the tickets on your own, send someone in your place or forfeit your fee. They do not offer you another event date to attend.

After several very cordial writtten communications trying to offer solutions, I received an email from the customer demanding a refund of some significance or she would post a negative review. Although I had made every effort to provide some consideration for her emergency she unfortunately choose to take an adversarial role and therefore forfeit the fee.

Most customers understand that a small business is not able to absorb the financial burden of every last minute emergency that customers may experience.

Customer satisfaction and excellent customer service are of utmost importance to me. I believe I made every reasonable effort to work with this client and offered a workable solution. I hope you will take this all into consideration in reading this review.

Lana Richardson, owner

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Gourmet Retreats also viewed

 
Calistoga, Napa Valley
Calistoga, Napa Valley
 

Been to Gourmet Retreats? Share your experiences!

Turn Your Opinions into Points!
Turn your opinions into JPMiles
Turn your opinions into PAYBACK Points
*You can enroll in only one programme at a time to earn rewards for reviews.
JPMiles / PAYBACK
75
JPMiles / Payback Arrow
Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing