That little blue window up there is from the room where I first stayed when I came to the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School on the Regaleali estate in 2015. I was there to teach a writing class with Rachel for a week and promptly fell in love with the place. We spent that week with our students wandering in and out of the garden, where flowering capers, fragrant rosemary and almond trees grew next to neat rows of chickpeas, tomatoes, eggplants, pumpkins and countless other plants in the vegetable garden. The school is an incredible place; founded over 25 years ago by Anna Tasca Lanza as a way to share Sicilian cooking with the world and now run by Anna's daughter Fabrizia, who has educational ambitions beyond the kitchen.
The school now hosts writing workshops and illustration workshops, in addition to their traditional cooking classes, but Fabrizia's desire to keep Sicilian culinary traditions alive as well as offer a deeper understanding into the way the Sicilian land is farmed and tended has given rise to her latest and most ambitious program, Cook the Farm. Cook the Farm is an ambitious 10-week immersive program where students - chefs, farmers or food professionals - live with Sicilian families or in the town next to the school and spend each week studying everything from olive oil production to horticulture, culinary anthropology to cheese-making. The Wall Street Journal recently wrote about the program here, saying
"On a spring afternoon at the Anna Tasca Lanza cooking school—set on 1,300 acres of vineyard in the green hills of Sicily—preparations are underway for a celebration marking the conclusion of Cook the Farm, its new residential program at the intersection of agriculture, academics and cooking. At the farmhouse kitchen of this rural wine estate, a two-hour drive southeast of Palermo, students scurry about as they assemble a mix of dishes from home and recipes learned during the 10-week program. In a window nook across from a neat row of the school’s branded jams (made from sour cherries, figs and mandarins grown on the property) hang framed photos of the Marchesa Anna Tasca Lanza di Mazzarino, 'Sicily’s culinary ambassador to the world,' as the James Beard Foundation has called her. Photographs taken during the school’s early days show her posing with visiting dignitaries like Robert Mondavi and Julia Child (more recent guests include chefs Grant Achatz and Alice Waters). In the 27 years since the school’s launch, the region has emerged as an epicurean destination, with the marchesa, one of the first Sicilians to open her cloistered upper-crust life to outsiders, helping to set the stage for a new generation of chefs and winemakers."
If you would like to be a part of this exciting and groundbreaking program, the school is accepting applications for the course, which runs from January 21 to March 28, 2017, until September 15, three weeks from now. To apply, click here. For more on Cook the Farm, watch this video.