Ready to know more about San Diego?


11 Immersive Food Experiences in San Diego

Gets hand-on with your next dining experience, from jarring tomatoes to cooking with pro chefs
Taj Farms | Photo: Kathryn Caudle

Taj Farms

Taj Farms, in Valley Center, hosts ongoing events with local nonprofits, private groups, and anyone else interested in sampling high-quality locally grown food. Past events have included a cheese tasting, a tomato jarring workshop, and educational programs about farm animals for children. “I’m constantly creating the narrative of ‘food equals community,’” says owner Jack Ford. He will be at the Convergence Harvest Festival in Temecula on November 2, and says he’s planning more events this winter: Check his Instagram account for what’s next.


Baja Wine + Food’s Meet the Winemaker Series

For the past few years, Fernando Gaxiola and his team at Baja Wine + Food have been quietly building buzz around their “Meet the Winemaker” dinner series. Now the events are held in the Idea1 lounge in East Village and top out at 40–50 diners. Guests enjoy loaded cheese and charcuterie boards from Lola55, live music and, of course, an opportunity to clink glasses with some of the best winemakers from Baja California. (The roster will expand to include Southern Californian winemakers in 2020.) Upcoming events include Paolo Paoloni of Villa Montefiori on November 22 and Victor Torres Alegre from Torres Alegre y Familia on December 13. Prices vary.

Cultura con Sabor 

Held in the town of Rainbow near Fallbrook, Cultura con Sabor is a hands-on cooking school that focuses on Mexican cuisine. Resident, rancher, and cooking instructor Sandra Tellez highlights recipes from all over Mexico, covering both pre-Columbian dishes and those with Spanish influence. Tellez is dedicated to preserving traditional methods, so she sources as much meat and produce as she can from her ranch. Prices vary depending on the workshop or class.

11 Immersive Food Experiences in San Diego

11 Immersive Food Experiences in San Diego

Cultura con Sabor

Kamayan Dinners at Gaya Gaya

Wash your hands and head to Miramar for a special dinner prepared by chef DJ Tangalin (formerly of Jrdn, Tidal, and Bivouac Ciderworks) in his restaurant Gaya Gaya. The dinner, held the last Wednesday of every month, is called a kamayan, which means “by hand” in Tagalog. It’s a traditional Filipino feast where guests eat with their hands and use banana leaves instead of plates. Spread along the leaves is traditional fare—longganisa sausage, barbecued meats and fish, and plenty of rice and sauces.

Cocktail Classes at You & Yours Distilling Co.

Cocktail classes at You & Yours’ East Village distillery and tasting room are held the first and third Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. Attendees get to play mixologist for the evening, measuring, shaking, stirring, and pouring, all while learning a brief history of the cocktails. But the best part of all? Tasting the two tipples at the end. Tools and ingredients are provided; tickets are $45 per person.

Sausage & Butchering Classes at Heart & Trotter

North Park’s temple to whole-animal butchery, Heart & Trotter, hosts regular classes for the public as well as industry professionals. Current options include Pork 101, on how to break down an entire pig; Sausage 101, where students choose one of three different kinds of sausages to make from scratch; Specialty Sushi Rolls and Nigiri 101, which features ingredients like the fatty belly from tuna, hamachi, and salmon; uni (sea urchin), masago and ikura (fish roe), and unagi (eel), based on availability.

Cooking and Gardening Classes at Olivewood Gardens

National City’s homegrown garden, working farm, kitchen, and educational center Olivewood Gardens is a hub for food education. In addition to supporting the community through its Cooking for Salud! nutritional home cooking program and its programs for kids, the center also hosts gardening and cooking classes for adults. Gardening classes are seasonal and won’t pop back up until the spring, but there’ll be a Healthy Holidays Cooking Class on November 9. Participants will harvest produce, learn traditional holiday recipes with healthy twists, and enjoy a meal in Olivewood’s fall gardens. $50 per person.

Epicurean San Diego Tours

Epicurean San Diego is a tour company that aims to encompass all of our local culinary ventures. The company offers a variety of bespoke experiences, including public and private tours of coffee roasters, restaurants, farms, and breweries in North County, South Bay, and central San Diego. All guests have one full meal covered in their ticket price, as well as tasting sessions at most of the stops along the route.

Wild Willow Farm Tours

South Bay nonprofit Wild Willow Farm not only supplies some of San Diego’s best kitchens and offers classes, events, and community outreach programs, it also conducts one-hour tours of its working farm. Groups of five or more can get a private tour at a donation of $10 per person. Guests get to see all sides of the six-acre farm, which sits along the Tijuana River, about three miles inland from the ocean.

Avant School of Cooking

Rancho Bernardo Inn’s flagship restaurant, Avant, recently debuted cooking classes. Hosted by Chef de Cuisine Chris Gentile in the restaurant’s Table 65 demo kitchen and private dining area, the various classes take hungry guests through the process of cooking an entire meal from scratch. Classes begin at 6 p.m. and are $69 per person plus $35 for wine pairings. Upcoming classes include The Perfect Steak on November 6 and the Art of Pasta Making on December 4.

Officine Buona Forchetta Pizza Making Classes

Spend the afternoon learning about the history of pizza and the ingredients necessary to make a traditional Neapolitan-style pie. Buona Forchetta’s dedicated pizzaioli teach you how to make the dough from scratch before adding toppings and baking the creation in the restaurant’s imported Italian wood-burning oven. During the class, guests are also treated to a cheese tasting from Venissimo. Leave with your own pizza, an extra dough ball to practice with at home, and a complimentary “Buona Forchetta Certified Pizzaiolo” T-shirt.

$95, November 19

11 Immersive Food Experiences in San Diego

Taj Farms | Photo: Kathryn Caudle

By Jackie Bryant

Jackie is San Diego Magazine's content strategist. Prior to that, she was its managing editor. Before her SDM career, she was a long-time freelance journalist covering cannabis, food/restaurants, travel, labor, wine, spirits, arts & culture, design, and other topics. Her work has been selected twice for Best American Travel Writing, and she has won a variety of national and local awards for her writing and reporting.

Share this post

Contact Us

1230 Columbia Street, Suite 800,

San Diego, CA