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Airbnb Wants to Pay for You to Go to Culinary School in Italy With David Chang

By Cassie Shortsleeve

11.25.19

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Next summer, you could spend a week in Pollenzo, Italy, sharpening your cooking skills all on Airbnb’s dime.

Courtesy University Gastronomic Sciences/Airbnb

Next summer, you could spend a week in Pollenzo, Italy, sharpening your cooking skills all on Airbnb’s dime.

To launch its new “Cooking Experiences” category, Airbnb is sending 100 home cooks to the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy, for a week next summer. Here’s how to apply.

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Airbnb has been making people’s Italian vacation dreams come true for years. You can explore Pompeii with an archeologist, and earlier this year the company paid for people to spend the summer in a hillside Italian village. Now, Airbnb wants to send you to culinary school in Italy for free.

To celebrate the launch of Airbnb Cooking Experiences—a new category of 3,000+ in-the-kitchen activities in over 75 countries—Airbnb is initiating a global search for 100 budding at-home chefs. The winners will get to attend the University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG) in Pollenzo, Italy—a UNESCO World Heritage site an hour south of Turin—for one week this coming June and July. Even better: Theyll get to study with Momofuku chef and founder David Chang, who is also bringing his mother along for the experience.

Airbnb will select 100 applicants who will get the chance to perfect their own family recipes, have them featured in Airbnb’s first-ever cookbook, and participate in a five-day course where they’ll learn how to recognize flavors and aromas in wine, cheese, and chocolate and about the importance of sustainability in cooking. There will be four sessions for 25 people at a time, starting June 15, 22, 29, and July 6, 2020.

How to apply to the Airbnb cooking scholarship in Italy

Intrigued? To submit an application or nominate someone for the UNISG cooking scholarship, send in a personal essay about your favorite family recipe and passion for cooking at airbnb.com/100cooks before December 24, 2019.

Applicants must be 18 years or older and live in one of the following countries or regions: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada (excluding Québec), China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, and United States. 

Winners will be selected by Airbnb, Slow Food, and UNISG reps.

What else will Airbnb Cooking Experiences include?

The cooking school contest is only one example of the type of program you can now book through Cooking Experiences, which are designed to expose travelers to traditional culinary classes, meals, and more from families around the world. 

One-time hosts on the platform will include The Great British Baking Show judge Prue Leith, who will show guests how to make her favorite family recipes at her cookery school in London on January 29, 2020 ($193 per person, airbnb.com). You can also sign up for the experience that Enrique Olvera, owner of Pujol in Mexico City, is hosting about maize at Casa TEO in Mexico City on January 30, 2020 ($21 per person, airbnb.com). 

To create the Cooking Experiences, Airbnb Experiences partnered with Slow Food, an organization that works to preserve local food cultures, ensuring that the options (a vegan Middle Eastern workshop, for example) are “family style” and that they connect people to local recipes and traditions.

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“Each Cooking Experience has been vetted against guidelines inspired by Slow Food. 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 told AFAR.

That’s important considering that while eating like a local is a coveted travel activity, Yelp searches don’t always deliver.

>> Next: Airbnb’s New Animal Experiences Offer Ethical Ways to Interact With Nature

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