In many ways, Courtney Contos is a big-city chef (she worked at Charlie Trotter's in Chicago), yet her tiny Vermont cooking school has a very personal vibe; every March she features recipes inspired by her Irish heritage. Students sit around a large butcher-block table, which creates a communal feeling, especially during the popular women-only classes. Befitting the school's friendly approach, Contos hands out her cell phone number for students to call during kitchen emergencies.
Max Class Size: 8
Cost: From $40 for a one-hour class; chefcontos.com.