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Italy Plant-Based Culinary Course

Good news: Italy is now open to tourists and by September will be open to anyone with a EU Digital Covid Certificate!

Interested in exploring a new career in the plant-based culinary arts, helping the environment, practicing yoga, and striving for optimal wellness all at the same time? With the Gaia Gourmet culinary training immersion, you’ll travel to a beautiful destination and spend 14 days learning gourmet cooking through hands-on experience. Enjoy delicious, colorful, and decadent vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Expand your kitchen skills to deeply nourish yourself and others while sipping a fabulous glass of local Brunello!

Meet the instructors

Liz & Chef Naga
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  • Gaia Gourmet culinary training manual and apron
  • Around 40 hours each week in and around the kitchen
  • Gaia Gourmet certification upon successful completion of the course
  • 3 daily organic vegetarian or vegan meals and unlimited coffee, tea, and fruit
  • 2 weeks of making friends for life with beautiful souls from around the world
  • Full access to magical private properties
  • 13 nights of luxury accommodation
  • Option to take yoga classes

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


13 days with instruction
Group size: Maximum of 10 participants
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  • Swimming pool (outdoor)
  • Air-conditioned rooms
  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Fireplace
  • Garden
  • Kitchen
  • Labyrinth
  • Lounge
  • Meditation garden
  • Restaurant
  • Smoke-free property
  • Terrace
  • Yoga shala
  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Internet access
  • Laundry
  • Parking lot
  • Wireless internet

Join Lakshmi Rising Yoga & Wellness and Gaia Gourmet in southern Tuscany in the Seggiano region, famous for olive oil and Brunello wines, not to mention their thermal baths! Lakshmi Rising School for Yoga & Wellness has chosen Villa Gaia to host their Italy culinary training this year as it is strategically located only an hour from Siena and Grosseto and two hours away from both Florence and Rome.

The sunsets every evening are a show that is renewed daily. It borders with the ruins of the ancient Hermitage of San Bernardino in an isolated position, where peace is literally absolute and the air, among the aromas of the generous earth, can also give some shade from the sea.

The Villa Padronale is the main building and dates back to the 19th century. It has a sober, compact, and elegant style with large interior spaces and generous terraces. It is divided into two large apartments, one of which is on the ground floor (275 square meters with five en suite bedrooms) and one on the first floor (175 square meters with three bedrooms and two bathrooms). The rooms are spacious and furnished in a simple and elegant way.

The Dependance was built later a short distance from the main building. With its 174 square meters and with its four en suite bedrooms. It maintains the generous style of space and of simple elegance.

The yoga shala, detached from the dwellings, is a large octagonal dome with parquet flooring and with a splendid view from the large windows of the surrounding trees. With its 85 square meters, it will be comfortable for all of the asana and workshop sessions.

The restaurant is a large room of 142 square meters and a spacious panoramic porch ideal for Gaia Gourmet al fresco dining and sunset dinners.

Below the lodgings, between the lush greenery and the beautiful view of the valley, is the upper pool. With its dimensions of 12 x 6 meters and a depth of 1.80 meters to 1.40 meters, it is excellent not only for cooling off but also for pleasant swimming. Beside the pool is a large gazebo sheltered from the sun with tables and chairs. Water, sunsets, and scents will all be cherished in the silence of Villa Gaia.

Tuscany’s unparalleled fusion of history, nature, and food offers the ideal location for a serene immersion into the study of yoga, with a few fabulous excursions to boot!


Exclusive surroundings, experiential eating

In this unique certification program, students participate in all aspects of catering a yoga teacher training. The course is based on tried and tested Gaia Gourmet methods and recipes under the guidance of Chef Naga. You’ll gain tools and insight to embark upon a new career in the plant-based culinary arts, such as catering yoga retreats and wellness events or working as a private chef. This program is also a great option if you’d like to join a friend or partner during their yoga course!

With love, for health

Your daily schedule will vary but expect to spend about 40 hours each week in and around the kitchen. You’ll be cooking from day one, working with the finest natural ingredients to create nutrient-dense gourmet cuisine in a precise, professional environment. Other highlights include shopping for goods and produce at the best local markets and farms, optional group wellness excursions, and exclusive enjoyment of an exquisite private villa in Italy.


The Gaia Gourmet method centers focus and awareness, bringing mindfulness to the kitchen as they lovingly transform raw materials into a multisensory, communal dining experience. Space is limited per culinary training. This program is appropriate for all levels of skill and experience.

What you will learn

  • How to set up a plant-based kitchen
  • Produce 101
  • How to choose produce at the market or farm
  • Optimization of produce lifespan
  • The versatility of nuts and seeds: nut butter, vegan cheeses, and garnishes
  • The ultimate veg stock
  • Spice combining
  • Breakfast buffet: setup and specialties
  • Lunch and dinner entrees
  • Soups, dals, curries, and kicharis
  • Salads and dressings
  • Vegan, gluten-free desserts
  • Gluten-free bread baking
  • Knife skills
  • How to handle dietary restrictions, special needs, allergies, and sensitivities
  • Problem-solving on the fly in a live kitchen environment
  • Menu planning, including describing and announcing dishes
  • Scheduling and time management
  • Meal service (Front and back of the house, including table setting and clearing)
  • Strategic kitchen cleaning


Liz Lindh

Chef Naga


Lakshmi Rising Yoga & Wellness and Gaia Gourmet have chosen a magical villa contoured by olive groves and organic gardens as the setting for their 2021 14-day culinary training in Tuscany. Its elegant charm and serene atmosphere make it the perfect setting for learning and transformation.

Villa Gaia is located on a hill in southern Tuscany, between the green slopes of Monte Amiata, the Maremma, and a stone’s throw from the Val d’Orcia and the famous Brunello hills. It can be reached from the nearby medieval village of Seggiano with an easy five-minute country road between isolated farmhouses.

Located to the south-west, it enjoys a unique view of part of the Val d’Orcia and the entire area below to the sea, touching the beautiful medieval village of Montenero.


A mouthwatering experience: Gourmet vegetarian and vegan cuisine

Nutrition is more than just feeding the physical body. Food is essential on so many levels and that’s why Lakshmi Rising has chosen Gaia Gourmet Cuisine to cater all of the international retreats and yoga teacher training. This incredible cuisine nourishes every aspect of your being, supporting, nourishing, and cleansing your body, mind, and spirit along your journey.

The talented plant-based chef creates three unforgettable Gaia gourmet vegetarian or vegan meals per day inspired by the world’s greatest cuisines. The healthy organic food is artistically crafted to please all of the senses. Meals are designed around the seasons using Ayurvedic principles while incorporating the best and freshest local ingredients, herbs, and spices.

They procure and serve all organic produce from local family farms. The meals are well balanced and prepared with love. This positive energy is infused into the food, aiding the digestion process.

Balanced nutrition for the body and mind

It’s important that you are well-fed and completely nourished from the inside out when you join this training. With a vegetarian-based menu (and vegan and gluten-free options available), you will be provided plenty of protein by using legumes, seeds and nuts, artisan cheeses, and eggs from free-ranging chickens.

They only use whole grains and natural sweeteners. With an ever-expanding orchard of over 300 various tropical fruit trees, the freshly picked organic fruits make great complements to your dining experience. Overall, this will produce a more lively healthy body and mind and is the most environmentally friendly diet.

They always do their best to accommodate food allergies. They can omit certain items from dishes, such as cheese, dairy, and nuts. They cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free or nut-free environment. Persons with serious food allergies such as Celiac disease or those on a 100% raw food diet should not attend a retreat.

Lakshmi Rising School for Yoga & Wellness and Gaia Gourmet must know of all serious food issues at least three weeks prior to arrival. Bring an open mind and allow your taste buds to savor this unique culinary adventure!

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea

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

  • Vegetarian
  • Lacto-ovo Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten Free
  • Organic
  • Lactose Free
  • Whole food
  • Ayurvedic
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)

Wine Tastings

Thermal Spa

Farmer's Markets

What's included

  • Gaia Gourmet certification upon successful completion of the course
  • Gaia Gourmet culinary training manual
  • Gaia Gourmet apron
  • 13 nights in luxury accommodations
  • 3 incredible, organic Gaia Gourmet vegetarian or vegan meals each day on-site
  • Unlimited coffee, an assortment of teas, and fresh fruit for snacks
  • Self-serve laundry and weekly linen changes
  • Full access to magical private properties including gardens, trails, swimming pools, and more
  • Option to take yoga classes (Schedule permitting)
  • All applicable taxes

What's not included

  • Optional excursions
  • Wellness services or staff gratuities
  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers
  • Transfers to and from the venue

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (FCO).

The Villa is strategically located only an hour from Siena and Grosseto, and two hours away from both Florence and Rome.

If you are driving, let Lakshmi Rising School for Yoga & Wellness know what time you plan to arrive so that they can arrange for the property manager to greet you and let you in. Plan to arrive any time on Sunday between 12:00pm and 4:00pm.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 17% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Quality of activity
14 days / 13 nights
from --


Arrival: Sunday September 5, 2021
Departure: Saturday September 18, 2021

Early bird discount

The prices below include an early bird discount of 300 USD per person. To benefit, book or reserve before June 5, 2021.

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