This week, Airbnb announced a new category of bookable experiences that will allow travellers to experience an authentic taste of regional cultures like never before. In its ongoing quest to change the way people travel, Airbnb’s new Cooking Experiences will provide a series of unique, immersive opportunities for guests to unlock the hidden culinary traditions of families, farmers, pastry cooks, and more, in more than 75 countries around the world.
These one-of-a-kind culinary experiences include access to 3,000 unique recipes that are typically reserved for friends and family. From an intimate daylong pasta-making experience in Rome with 83-year-old grandma Nonna Nerina and her family to learning how to make mole with an indigenous Mexican cook, to a fabulous cooking party in Lisbon with a group of Portugese drag queens, there seems to be something on the platform for everyone.
Each experience goes through a strict vetting process against guidelines inspired by Slow Food, a grassroots organization whose mission is to prevent the disappearance of local food traditions.
“Through this vetting process, we have verified that each host of an Airbnb Experience communicates the unique essence of every dish through their personal stories and has proven a deep knowledge of the heritage of the cuisine that they share,” Airbnb explained in a recent statement.
To commemorate the launch of Airbnb Cooking Experiences, the company--along with celebrity chef David Chang and his mom, Sherri--has put out a worldwide call for guests to apply or nominate their favourite home cook to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy.
The top 100 applicants will get to study alongside food experts at Slow Food’s University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG) in Northern Italy, where they will be treated to workshops, tastings, field visits, and lessons from UNISG professors. Throughout the trip, the home cooks will work toward refining their family recipe, which will have a chance to be featured in Airbnb’s inaugural cookbook.
“Home cooking is one of the easiest ways to break down cultural barriers and uncover shared experiences between strangers,” said Chang. “I’m honoured to join Airbnb in this search for the world’s best home cooks and I’m excited to support each of their culinary endeavours firsthand, alongside one of the best home cooks I know--my mom.”
Eligible Airbnb users can enter on their own or nominate their favourite home cooks, submitting a personal essay on why the nominee’s passion for cooking and their family recipe makes them the perfect fit. Applications are now open, closing at 11:59 p.m. EST on December 23, 2019. The 100 winners will be selected by a panel of judges including representatives of Airbnb, Slow Food and the University of Gastronomic Sciences.