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“A great cooking school experience in a beautiful setting”

The Awaiting Table Cookery School in Lecce, Italy
Ranked #2 of 10 Food & Drink in Lecce
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: For the last 14 years, The Awaiting Table Cookery school has been the most praised cooking school and wine programme in all Puglia. Located in the historical centre of Lecce, Italy, and during selected weeks throughout the year, in a castle an hour south of Lecce, students from 52 countries come to go deeper into The Mediterranean Diet, and local, world-class wines. Our school has appeared in The London Times, Food & Travel, The LA Times, Bon Appetit, The New York Times, Food and Wine, as well as Chinese, Japanese, American and Dutch television. The owner, Silvestro Silvestori, is a nationally-certified sommelier here in Italy, as well as a wine journalist for a major international wine magazine. All classes are hands-on, fun but our students learn a lot in two of the most beautiful kitchens in Italy.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
121 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“A great cooking school experience in a beautiful setting”
Reviewed June 24, 2013

Took part in a one day cooking class which included lunch and dinner. Silvestro is the perfect host and teacher. He has huge amount of knowledge not only about food and wine but also of the local region's culture and history. For anyone interested in local food, learning how to make Puglian pasta and cooking up lots of delicious food then this is the place to come! A value for money experience - you will leave with full bellies, educated minds and maybe a sore head if you say yes to the top ups of wine! The wine is gorgeous so it is hard to say no!

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank Mark-Rainsforth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cucinapugliese, Owner at The Awaiting Table Cookery School in Lecce, Italy, responded to this review, October 30, 2013
Thanks for the kind words, especially those regarding our pricing. It's not easy to explain how we run our courses, and what we actually include in the price. Hope to have you back! Consider coming back in the colder months, when the reds of Puglia really shine against the more robust dishes.
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English first
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A wonderful experience”
Reviewed June 17, 2013

We booked a day course for 4 people. It was a very full day, with a lot of hands on cooking. I've done a few cooking classes around the world, and I greatly appreciate that the Awaiting Table has every student involved in every recipe. The location is beautiful, with great access to historic Lecce. We were not staying in Lecce, but found the drive very convenient from Manduria. Not only did we learn about cooking techniques and ingredients, we also got a bit of culinary lesson about Italy's various regions. We also talked about the grapes and olives from the region - information that I've taken back and utilized in the States. I highly recommend spending the day with Sylvester and his charming staff.

I must admit, we thought the price was a bit of a stretch when we paid. However, the experience is worth every cent. I absolutely hope to return for the full week course.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank tgohollo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cucinapugliese, Owner at The Awaiting Table Cookery School in Lecce, Italy, responded to this review, June 18, 2013
What a pleasure it was having you all with us, even if it was for only a day. And thanks for the compliments regarding value. It's important to us to do the region proud. We're looking forward to having you back as well!
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Los Angeles, California
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“top-notch culinary experience”
Reviewed June 16, 2013

The Awaiting Table condenses all that is great about the food of Puglia into a smart, stylish, and well organized culinary experience. If you're looking for a substantive, hands-on cooking school focused on one of Italy's most delicious cuisines, this is the place for you.

The immersive lessons will appeal to beginners and seasoned cooks alike. We made fresh pasta each morning and worked with a variety of fantastic ingredients: mussels from Taranto, D.O.P. rabbit, exceptional olive oil, the school's own preserved tomatoes, beautiful local produce, fresh local cheese, herbs straight from the garden. The school is run by Silvestro, whose expertise and passion shine through in every detail. He does a great job of pairing wines with each meal and we drank and learned about some truly delicious wines from Puglia and beyond. Considering the quality of the food, wine, lessons, and overall experience, the tuition for a week-long course is an excellent value.

While we learned and cooked a lot, the experience was also very laid back and relaxing. Our family-style meals were long, leisurely, and utterly enjoyable. The school's warm and talented staff of Anna, Giuseppe, and Giorgio are truly great at what they do and there were lots of little surprises and personal touches that made the experience really special. I attended on my own and can't wait to go back with friends and family.

Note that the school has two different venues--I attended a week-long course at the Castle, but there's also the school's charming space in Lecce, an appealing city with much to offer the food-minded traveller.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank Jason G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cucinapugliese, Owner at The Awaiting Table Cookery School in Lecce, Italy, responded to this review, October 30, 2013
You politely failed to mentioned that you're a culinary professor, something that I think only increases the weight of your opinion. Still, come back with that man of yours! We'd love to do something special for you as well!
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Bedford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
66 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“A great introduction to southern Italian cooking”
Reviewed June 12, 2013

Silvestro and his small team have done a great job in building up a cookery school for those looking for a short break in the wonderful and beautiful city of Lecce right in the "heel of Italy".

The formula has now been tried and tested and we left not just with more cookery skills but with a deeper understanding of the culture and history of the region.

A great feature coming on a course like is working alongside the other participants who all share a common interest in good food. There's no shortage of things to talk about.

Silvestro is a big picture man which I found enormously helpful. He puts things into a bigger context in a manner that I certainly had not thought of before. Thus how food in each of the regions of Italy is very different responding to local circumstances.

He's also very good at advising on how to spot and buy quality ingredients and has been very ready to answer email queries once the course was over.

One thing that intrigued me about Lecce is that there are so few overweight people. There's something special in the diet and cooking that makes this so.

There's a generosity about the school which is very pleasing. Thus as we made for the train station at the end of our week a wonderful packed lunch together with everything we needed as delivered to our b&b.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank MikesSm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cucinapugliese, Owner at The Awaiting Table Cookery School in Lecce, Italy, responded to this review, June 18, 2013
What a treat it was to have you two with us, especially with your insights into the history of British food, a subject too often maligned without much of understanding of the impact that the 19th and 20th century had on the country. Hope to have you back someday! And thanks for the kind words!
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Denver
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A fabulous way to master Southern Italian cooking”
Reviewed June 1, 2013

What a wonderful experience. Six days staying in a castle in Puglia, Italy cooking southern Italian dishes and drinking wines from the region....what's not to like about that! Sylvestro and his staff were amazing....very knowledgeable, funny, and very patient as we attempted to master the techniques, especially the pastas. This was a very hands-on cooking school with lots of practice and practical advice. I have attended other cooking schools, most with a French cooking emphasis, and The Awaiting Table was by far the best experience. Fresh ingredients, cooked simply, served family style in a beautiful setting, with lots of wine and good times....magnifico!

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank DenverBarbara
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cucinapugliese, Owner at The Awaiting Table Cookery School in Lecce, Italy, responded to this review, June 18, 2013
We're thrilled that you not only made it to the castle, but that you seemed to love the place as much as we do. We're there 7 weeks this year, each time a nice little retreat into the food and wine, just different enough from that of Lecce to keep it interesting. We hope you can make it back someday!
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