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3 Days Classic French Cooking Vacation in California, USA

Babcock House in Montecito, CA

California Style Cooking Vacation USA

Join California Culinary Retreats for an exquisite weekend of an authentic French cooking. Chef Carol Cotner Thompson has been teaching French cooking for over twenty-six years. This cooking retreat will focus on cooking techniques, such as sautéing, braising, roasting, and baking and, as always, you will begin your retreat with knife skills. This cooking vacation is perfect for those people who are looking for a short getaway from the Los Angeles area, and want to learn more about French cuisine!

Meet the instructors

Jill & Carol Cotner
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  • Knife skills class
  • 4 hands-on cooking classes
  • French cheese tasting class
  • Learn to master croissants and soufflés
  • All food and drinks, including beer and wine
  • Beautifully appointed accommodations
  • 2 nights of accommodation
  • All take home items


3 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
The maximum participants in the group is 8
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Babcock Estate House & Guest House is a 1930’s villa situated on a lush sleepy street, minutes from the beach and hiking trails. The rooms have one bed. Whoever books the room must be okay to sleep with their companion. Be it a mother / daughter, couple, best friends, etc.



You will have four cooking classes while staying with California Culinary Retreats Cooking Vacation at the beautiful Montecito property. All the classes begin with an overview lecture and move to hands-on cooking in the kitchen. You will dine together at beautifully-set tables. When you are not cooking, you are free to relax, read a book in the garden, go for a walk in the hills, stroll on the beach, or shop in Montecito - your choice.

The retreat begins on Friday, Abril 26, 2019. The arrival is between 16:00 to 18:00, and you will conclude your weekend Sunday after a leisurely late lunch around 14:00.



  • 16:00-18:00 Arrival - get settled into your rooms, followed by a meet and greet with refreshments and hors-d'oeuvres
  • 18:00-20:00 Cooking class and knife skills - learn to make sole a la meuniére, potatoes dauphinoise, and chocolate mousse, followed by dinner


  • 08:00-09:30 Breakfast - no rush, come anytime
  • 10:00-noon Morning cooking class - croissant workshop and composing beautiful salads.
  • Noon-13:00 Lunch
  • 13:00-16:00 Free time - go for a walk or hike, go into Montecito and explore, or relax on the beautiful property, your choice
  • 16:00-19:00 Afternoon cooking class - French cheese tasting, chicken fricassee, baby greens with goat cheese, and fresh apple galette, followed by dinner


  • 08:00-09:30 Breakfast - no rush, come anytime
  • 10:00-noon Morning cooking class - finish croissants and perfecting the soufflé


Jill Chessé

Carol Cotner Thompson


This cooking vacation will take place in Montecito, California, USA. The seaside haven of Montecito is a stone’s throw from Santa Barbara. This treasure, known as "The American Riviera", exudes relaxing luxury. Montecito has a fantastic Mediterranean climate - it boasts a perfect cool temperature year round. Some of the most beautiful beaches in all of California are in Montecito - Butterfly, Miramar, and Fernald.

Nearby places

  • Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA) - 30 minutes by car
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) - 2 hours by car


The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • Explore Montecito
  • Hiking
  • Read a book at the garden
  • Relax at the villa
  • Shopping in Montecito
  • Stroll on the beach

What's included

  • 4 hands-on cooking classes
  • Knife skills and French cheese tasting classes
  • All food and drinks
  • All materials
  • Take home items
  • 2 nights accommodation

What's not included

  • Transportation to the retreat

How to get there

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA).

Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA) is the nearest airport, only 30 minutes away by car meanwhile Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is two hours away. Car rental would be necessary, as California Culinary Retreats does not provide transportation to and from the retreat place.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 100% of the total price.
  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 21 days before the arrival date.
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