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“The Best Thing To Do In Santa Barbara!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Market Forays

Market Forays
Santa Barbara, CA
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Ranked #15 of 110 activities in Santa Barbara
Type: Classes/Workshops
Activities: Leisure education, Shopping
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Attraction Details
Owner description: Market Forays offers Locavore Cooking Classes and Culinary Adventures for leisure travelers. Sustainable Team Building Events for Corporate Groups. Private Chef Services. Our classes are built around the freshest seasonal local ingredients, combined with a playful attitude that draws on my French upbringing, enriched by the cuisines of the many countries I have visited and by California's own multicultural richness. The preferences and restrictions of my guests are built into the day's lesson plan to ensure that everyone enjoys the experience. Sample menus can be viewed on the Market Forays website. Classes are hands-on, and a printed recipe guide is provided to each guest. The goal is not to impress you with my skills, it is to help you realize your own abilities. Saturday Market Forays classes begin at 8 in the morning at the harbor, continue on to the farmers market, and then we cook and share a feast. Class wraps up around 3:30 pm. Cost is $145 per person. Private classes available during the week, advance reservation is required.
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“The Best Thing To Do In Santa Barbara!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2010

My wife and I had always heard that Santa Barbara was beautiful and that it was a great place for wine. Both are very true, but we would honestly go back if spending more time with Laurence was the only thing we did. What an absolute gem find she and her Market Forays are! If you love food and getting to know interesting people, you HAVE TO do this or you are just simply missing out on the BEST experience in Santa Barbara!

My wife and I did this back in September 2009, so it has been a few months since we returned. I love TripAdvisor, but making the time to get on here and post this review has been difficult. But, that said, we had such a great time and we take so much from this site in planning our vacations, that I could not leave Laurence and you all hanging without posting this review and a few pictures.

Here is how it worked for us: We met Laurence early in the morning down at the pier. Our group was four people (me, my wife, and two others). There were a group of fisherman down on the pier unloading and selling their catch. They all knew Laurence! So, if you arrive early and are not sure where you are supposed to meet or who you are looking for, no worries, they all know her and will help you out. While we were there, Laurence bought some catch for us to cook and eat later in the day. From there, we went to the Santa Barbara Farmers Market, and it was awesome! This is where we picked up the majority of the ingredients needed to prepare our menu later. The selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other delicacies was just incredible! Of course, once again, Laurence knows everyone there (which makes the experience so much better), maybe because she used to run the whole thing. :)

From the market, we went to a local tasting room owned and operated by another one of Laurence's friends. There, we tasted some great wines and got a nice history lesson of the Santa Barbara wine region. Our next stop was to an amazing artisan cheese shop, where Laurence picked up more ingredients and got us to taste at least a half dozen or more unique cheese creations. We were in heaven!

Our final destination was Laurence's beautiful home in Santa Barbara. It was there that we prepared, cooked, learned, ate, drank, laughed, and just had one of the best times of our lives. Laurence was very accommodating to our dietary requests. Our menu included squab, and I have to admit that the thought of eating pigeon scared me a bit. It scared me because I had never eaten it before, but it also scared because it did not sound all that appetizing. Well, it was incredible, and if all squab tasted like Laurence's I would order it any time it was available on a restaurant menu! :)

You know how sometimes when you do activities like this there can be strict time constraints, and when the time is up they are pushing you out the door? Not Laurence! After we were done eating and were just sitting around the table talking and laughing, I looked down at my watch and noticed that this thing was supposed to have been over two hours earlier! So, I told my wife that we needed to ask how we could help to clean up and get out of her hair as we had over-stayed our time. Laurence was just so nonchalant about it all. She said that she would clean up and that we were welcome to stay as long as we wanted. She is such a real, likable, and lovable person! Honestly, when you are with her you feel like you are spending time with Julia Child (who she also knew). :)

Hope this review is helpful. Long, I know, but if you are debating on whether or not to do this, just do it. If you really knew how great it was, you would regret it if you don't. I think Laurence still charges $145 per person, or at least her website says that she does as of me writing this, but she could easily charge double or more and it would still be worth every penny! Thanks, Laurence, Allyson and I hope that we will one day be able to make it back to Santa Barbara and do this all over again!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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44 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“A Voluptuous and Civilized Treat”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2010

My wife and I took Laurence Hauben's half-day cooking class in Santa Barbara and loved it. We learned a lot, ate wonderful food, and generally enjoyed a delightful time. Laurence is very generous with her knowledge, and (god knows) her food. She's also a relaxed, charming and sweet-natured hostess, as well as very well-connected in the California food worlds. The day includes not just cooking and eating, but also shopping (at the Santa Barbara farmers market, at a fishmongers on the pier, and at a cheese store) -- a very smart addition to the usual cooking-class thing, given how important going-to-market actually is where food prep is concerned. The emphasis is on local and fresh ingredients, on simple and classic ways to prepare and present them, and on juggling all these activities so the food winds up on the table when it needs to. I'm a newbie cook so it was all news to me, but my wife (a very good home cook) picked up a lot of tips and techniques too. The whole day was an easygoing (yet hyper-informative) pleasure, more like hanging out with friends than taking a traditional class. And the meal we ate at the end of the day was better than first-class.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Fantastic and Unique Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2010

Laurence is such an engaging and inviting woman.
She instills confidence in the most novice of cooks.
The afternoon and evening with her was an unforgettable and unique experience.
I highly recommend the entire experience.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Barbara, California
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“A unique and wonderful "tour" in Santa Barbara.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2009

On a sunny morning in July we met Laurence Hauben, a professional chef, at the fish market on Santa Barbara's wharf. Plying us with fresh croissants, she then selected whole fish and crabs on which to build our midday repast. Then it was on to the Farmers' Market to meet her favorite vendors, learn about produce selection, and obtain more supplies. After a short stop at a specialty cheese shop, we drove to Laurence's home where she put us to work in preparing a lunch from our purchases. We sipped wine, prepared food under her tutelage, strolled the garden, and ate ate ate! It was a wonderful experience and one we've planned to repeat annually with our friends.

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los angeles
1 review
“Laurence Hoban's Market Forays are a hidden treasure”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2009

Laurence Hoban's Market Forays are a hidden treasure not to be missed; anyone from a kitchen novice to the aficionado is in for a culinary treat. The day begins in the early morning and ends in the late afternoon with participants feasting on the fabulous food they prepared....with wine, of course!! Laurence's classes are small, conversational and everyone participates in preparing the meal.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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