Cook Academy dish
Culinary Experiences

Cook Academy

Low-Pressure Classes. High-Octane Results.

The hands-on classes at Cook Academy are perfect for cooks of every level, whether you spend all your free time in the kitchen or leave the cooking to someone else. Our renowned chefs love to share their passion for food and are patient, supportive instructors who guide you step by step through the preparation of a delicious meal. You can expect to acquire new cooking techniques or hone the skills you already have, plus learn industry insights that can help you entertain at home.

Classes are small, so each student gets personalized instruction. Most classes include a three- or four-course meal, and, best of all, you get to eat your results and take the recipes home with you. Class offerings vary throughout the year depending on the season and availability of fresh ingredients. Past courses have included cooking with Vermont beer, making fresh pasta, indoor grilling and vegetarian cooking. We also offer French and Italian wine classes that will make you an oenophile in record time.

Our Chef’s Kitchen classroom offers an intimate space for up to eight students. The JK Adams classroom has room for 12 or more.

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child at camp cook

Inspire the Young Chef in Your Life

Camp Cook

Camp Cook offers a fun, hands-on week of cooking instruction for your aspiring young chef. From food preparation to nutrition information to tricks of the trade, your child will receive personal instruction from our esteemed chefs.

Our menus are designed for young foodies and curious cooks, with sophisticated but fun recipes that are accessible to all. Campers learn a lot more than cooking techniques. Camp Cook will expand their palates, reinforce academic and social skills and teach food safety and proper knife skills.

During this active week, a lot happens outside the kitchen too. Campers pick seasonal herbs and vegetables from our gardens and help care for and collect eggs from our on-site flock of layer hens. There are also swim breaks and other fun activities.

At the end of the week, your child will depart with a sense of pride, expanded cooking skills and their own cookbook featuring the recipes they learned during camp.



Caleb Lara, Executive Chef

Caleb Lara brings over a decade of culinary experience to The Essex.  He was previously chef de cuisine for the Chatham Bars Inn in Chatham, Massachusetts.  Prior to this he served as executive chef for the Kemble Inn of Lenox, Massachusetts.

Earlier in his career chef Lara worked under the leadership of Certified Master Chef Derin Moore at the Ritz Carlton Resorts of Naples, Florida.  He gained experience staging in New York City at the Michelin Star-rated restaurants Le Bernardin and The Modern.  Caleb also completed professional chef certification under the mentorship of Certified Master Chef Dan Dumont.

Mr. Lara is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, New York.  He developed his love of the culinary arts while growing up in San Diego, California.

Dante Trisciuzzi, Chef Instructor

Dante Trisciuzzi is from Sonoma, California. Chef Trisciuzzi is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Fransisco, CA;  his specialties include French cuisine and bread sciences. He draws his creative inspirations from his experience at The Sonoma Wine Shoppe in Sebastapol, CA working under executive chef Rick Vargas and his discipline from his Marine Corps background. After running the kitchen at La Bodega in Sonoma, CA; wine, cheese and food pairing became a great passion. 

Lisa Ruoff, Chef Instructor

With over 20 years experience in the culinary world, Lisa has been the owner/operator of 3 restaurants in her past; in both Colorado and Alaska. The most recent of which won her title of “Best Place to Eat” in Carbondale, CO, by National Geographic Adventure magazine. After the sale of her restaurant, Lisa moved to Vermont and joined the Essex team and finds that she would much rather be teaching cooking classes than running a kitchen!