Experiencing the culture of Southern food is an undeniable part of any proper trip to the South. There are cities with world-class restaurant scenes, like Atlanta and Charleston, South Carolina, but some of the most memorable dining experiences can be had at private events hosted by top-notch chefs. Experience the best of Southern cooking at these Southern food Airbnb experiences.
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Dine on Southern cuisine at a Lowcountry estate on Wadmalaw Island
JJust southwest of Charleston is Wadmalaw Island, an area that doesn’t typically garner glossy headlines or attract the same acclaimed chefs as the Holy City, but is a great place to dine nonetheless. This Southern food Airbnb experience is proof. You’ll gather at the expansive Ruby Ranch where a cocktail, beer, or glass of wine awaits. Grab it, then walk down to the dock to watch the waves roll in from the Atlantic as the sun sets behind you. Afterward, you’ll take part in a three-course dinner prep while learning the history of the recipes, the ingredients, and the presentation. Dishes frequently include shrimp and crab caught just offshore from the ranch.
Weather permitting, you’ll dine outside — though the indoor setup is equally appealing. Host Cheryl is a long-time chef and hospitality industry professional who takes pride in showcasing her family’s recipes. Classes are offered seasonally and aren’t always available, but this cooking experience is worth building a trip around. Check the listing for upcoming dates.
Price: $125 per person
An evening of Lowcountry food, drinks, and music in Charleston
This Southern food Airbnb experience is a full-circle private event. Chef Christopher is as experienced in the kitchen as any in Charleston, and he can prove it. Not just through his Lowcountry cuisine, but with cocktails, wine, and music to match. The result is a four-course wine dinner that epitomizes Charleston’s famous food culture. Local ingredients shine at these dinner experiences at The Laundry Room in Charleston on Friday and Saturday nights. Drinks and food are included in the three-hour event, as is good conversation and the chance to learn from a Charleston legend.
Price: $150 per person
Learn to cook Smothered Shrimp and Grits in Atlanta
Rashaad Spears has been an executive chef for more than 10 years. Now, he leads the most engaging cooking class in Atlanta almost daily. You’ll join him in his kitchen to prepare authentic smothered shrimp and grits with an appetizer of fried green tomatoes. You’ll learn about the food and culture as you assist the chef in putting everything together. And then, of course, you dine on what is sure to be one of the most, if not the most, memorable meal of your time in Atlanta.
Spears provides all ingredients and cooking utensils, but you may want to bring a notebook to jot down tips and tricks so that you can attempt to recreate what you learn back home. The cooking class runs from 6 to 8 PM and costs $72 per person, or $180 for a small group.
Price: $72 per person/$180 per group
Cook along from home with chef Nick Wallace’s Southern Soul Food Cooking Course
Even if you aren’t located in the South and won’t be traveling there anytime soon, you can still take part in the action through online Southern soul food cooking experience. Chef Nick Wallace leads the experience from his Mississippi farm and walks you step-by-step through a full meal (and then some) that you prepare in your own kitchen. On the menu is Wallace’s celebrated braised collard greens, creamy grits, onion preserve, fried catfish, and cornbread. Wallace also walks you through the history of the dishes and how his family learned to cook them.
The class takes place live on Zoom and can fit up to 10 people. Even if you opt not to cook, you can watch along and take notes as Wallace prepares each dish, and then you have the recipes for future use.
Price: $30 per person