Over the last few years, talented Bay Area chefs, designers, and artists have been adding boutique travel tours to their résumés.
Nothing like those typical small group tours, these carefully curated international trips filter loctions like Tuscany and Istanbul through the eyes of their creative hosts, who showcase their expertise in food, style, and art in a new light.
From a luxurious five-day stay in the French countryside with celebrity chef Dominique Crenn to explorations of India and Mexico City with star interior designer Grant Gibson, these journeys promise to be one of a kind.
Journey to the French countryside with celebrity chef Dominique Crenn.
Pictured here at Bar Crenn, chef Dominique Crenn knows a thing or two about the good life.
(Courtesy of @dominiquecrenn )
Get to know beloved SF chef Dominique Crenn on this excursion to the country of her birth. The five-day, four-night experience will give you a behind-the-scenes look at French food from garden to table with master classes, intimate discussions, private concerts, and tastings of limited release Cognac, Champagne, and caviar. The Domaine des Étangs, a 13th century fairytale chateau in Massignac housing a private art collection and surrounded by seven lakes, will serve as a luxurious homebase throughout your stay. Dates have not yet been announced for the upcoming 2024 experience, but spaces are sure to sell out fast. // Join the guest list at satopiatravel.com .
Journey to Puglia with visionary artist Caroline Lizarraga.
The artist behind the vibey walls of such SF restaurants as Robin and Nightbird, Caroline Lizarraga teaches her craft during weeklong tours of her beloved Puglia.
(Courtesy of Curiosare Italia)
Celebrated Bay Aarea decorative painter Caroline Lizarraga’s Curiosare Italia combines artistry on the canvas and in the kitchen during week-long Italian “day camps for adults,” which feature art classes alongside curated architecture tours, visits to the studios of local artisans, hands-on burrata-making, and more. The immersive experience is held in southern Puglia in the spring and has its creative focus on faux stone and marble techniques. In the fall, Curiosare hosts its retreat in the region’s north, with a creative focus on landscape painting. Guests are already registering for the spring trip, where they’ll stay in a luxurious villa in Lecce Salento during sessions from April 21-28 and May 5-12. Dates will be announced for the fall excursions in the new year. // Get more info at curiosareitalia.com .
Journey to Spain, Italy, and Morocco with celebrity chef Joanne Weir
Chef Joanne Weir, delighting in Spanish snacks.
(Courtesy of @chefjoanneweir )
San Francisco–based, James Beard Award–winning cookbook author and chef Joanne Weir brings the same kind of passion to her international culinary journeys as she does to her Sausalito restaurant Copita and to such cooking shows as the critically acclaimed Plates & Places .
Each year, the culinary queen offers a handful of guided excursions to such storied locations as the Portuguese Riviera and Sicily. Although her first trip of 2024 (in Seville, Spain) is already sold out (don’t worry, it’ll likely be back next year), there is still room for guests in Tuscany, May 11-17. While there, you’ll explore the local culinary scene, visiting cheese makers, olive mills, and vineyards and help prepare hyperlocal dishes that make the most of the Tuscan spring in a luxurious villa near Lucca. Weir will also host excursions to La Rioja, Spain, and Marrakech later in the year. // Book culinary tours at joanneweir.com .
Journey to India, Istanbul, and Mexico City with interior design star Grant Gibson.
"I led a group of eight adventurous ladies through Jaipu.... Oh, the fun we had!"
(Courtesy of @grantkgibson )
Interior designer Grant Gibson curates classic, clean-lined spaces with pops of intrigue from his boutique San Francisco firm. But in recent years, he’s taken his love of design international, with small group journeys to destinations with rarified style, design, culture, and cuisine. Gibson hosts several trips a year and still has one in 2023—a journey from Mumbai to Jaipur, December 1-9 —with space available. If you can’t get away so soon, he’s already planning visits to Mexico City and Istanbul in 2024 (dates pending). // Travel with Grant, grantkgibson.com .