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Events at Lake Austin Spa Resort

In addition to the daily activities at Lake Austin Spa Resort, we offer special programs and events to enlighten, entertain and excite. These outstanding programs are offered exclusively to overnight guests with no additional fees.

Spice up your stay with the Lake Austin Culinary Experience®

We provide opportunities for you to learn from award winning chefs and other experts in our unique casual environment. This fun and informative program on all things culinary is offered the second full week of every month. Take a look at some our guest chef recipes.

Amanda Cohen

Menu Sneak Preview

  • Potato Ribbon Salad
  • Spinach Soup
  • Carrot Risotto

Monday, March 12, 2018
Culinary Experience March


A new look at vegetables with guest chef Amanda Cohen

Amanda Cohen is the chef and owner of Dirt Candy, the award-winning vegetable restaurant on New York City’s Lower East Side. Dirt Candy was the first vegetable-focused restaurant in the city and the leader of the vegetable-forward movement. The restaurant’s original location only had 18 seats and was open for six years, during which time it became the first vegetarian restaurant in 17 years to receive two stars from the New York Times, was recognized by the Michelin Guide five years in a row, and won awards from Gourmet Magazine, the Village Voice, and many others. Its new location opened in January, 2015 and it was the first restaurant in the city to eliminate tipping and share profits with its employees. Amanda was the first vegetarian chef to compete on Iron Chef America and her comic book cookbook, Dirt Candy: A Cookbook, is the first graphic novel cookbook to be published in North America. It’s currently in its sixth printing. She is also a Canadian.

Menu Sneak Preview

  • Caprese Salad with Pesto
  • Trofie Pasta with Pesto
  • Roasted Sea Bass, Cannellini Beans & Eggplant Salad with Pesto

Thursday, March 15, 2018
Culinary Experience March


Italian Favorites with Guest Chef Luca Della Casa

Luca Della Casa is the Executive Chef/Owner of the recently opened Nonna Osteria in San Antonio, Texas. The English translation of Nonna is “grandmother.” Chef Luca Della Casa’s inspiration for his dream restaurant comes from his family and traditional recipes passed on by his grandmother. It is chef Luca’s goal to share that Italian family spirit and traditional flavors of northern Italy with modern flair.

Menu Sneak Preview

French Inspired Irish!

  • Potato + Leek Soup with Frizzled Leeks
  • Salad with Crispy Potatoes, Lardons + Goat Cheese Toasts
  • Chocolate Soufflé + Bailey’s Crème Anglaise

Saturday March 17, 2018
Culinary Experience March


Saint Patricks Party/ Demo with Special Guest Chef Ellise Pierce

Ellise is the author of the cookbook, Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking with a French Accent; the blog, Cowgirl Chef; and the twice-monthly Cowgirl Chef food column in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, syndicated via McClatchy.


Ellise has been living and writing in Paris for the last ten years, and is now back in Texas in order to be near her mom, who’s 81 and lives near Krum, across the pasture from a herd of brown and white cows.


Although she is currently working as freelance writer specializing in food and travel –she’s written for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and its luxury magazine, Indulge; The Dallas Morning News, Virtuoso Life, Entree, Four Seasons and Private Clubs magazines—she’s covered almost every subject you can imagine. Business. Health. Technology. Medicine. Art. Fashion. Home design.


With a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri, she’s also worked in radio and television as a journalist, appeared on both as a food columnist and cookbook author, and written scripts for a documentary-style PBS-produced series on writing. Last year, she won a national first place award for her food photography and styling in Edible magazine.

Menu Sneak Preview

  • Heirloom Tomato Salad with Fresh Mozzarella Mousse
  • King Salmon with Prosciutto
  • Cavatelli with Tomato- Mushroom Ragu

Monday, April 9, 2018
Culinary Experience April


Savor the Southwest with Special Guest Chef from Santa Fe: Martin Rios

Restaurant Martin is the embodiment of a 20-year dream to create the perfect balance of refined and comfortable. Chef Martin Rios, and his wife, Jennifer, envisioned a certain ambiance where people from the community as well as Santa Fe’s many visitors could enjoy Chef Rios’ award-winning progressive American cuisine. Martin and Jennifer are long-time Santa Fean’s with a commitment to locality – Martin volunteers for Cooking with Kids, and Jennifer is president of The Horse Shelter. This family-owned restaurant caters not only to tourists, but to a large and local cliental. Chef Rios, a native of Guadalajara, grew up in Santa Fe starting in the restaurant business as a 17-year-old dishwasher, eventually working his way up to executive chef at several restaurants and hotels. Chef Rios received his formal training at the Culinary Institute of America and supplemented that with experience and training in some of the world’s most honored restaurants and with well-known culinary masters.


Chef Rios has been repeatedly honored for his innovative and pleasing combinations of flavors, colors and presentation. His unique style emphasizes fresh, local produce and organic meats and poultry, and reflects not only Southwestern and Asian influences but also his classic training in French technique. His list of accolades include the following:


  • Finalist in 2015 and 2017 for the James Beard “Best Chef of the Southwest” Award
  • Semi-finalist for the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 James Beard “Best Chef of the Southwest” Award
  • Appeared as a contestant on “Beat Bobby Flay” 2016 season
  • Appeared on the Cooking Channel’s 2012 season of “United Tastes of America”
  • Appearing on the BBC America’s 2012 season of “Chef Race: UK vs. US”
  • Named one of SAVEUR Magazine’s 2012 top 25 Nation-Wide “Tastemakers”
  • Featured in the 2008 season of Iron Chef America
  • The only chef from New Mexico to have won the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence


Giulia Millanta

Menu Sneak Preview

  • TBD

Thursday, April 12, 2018
Culinary Experience April


Savory with Song Cooking Demo/Live Music with Giulia Millanta

Join Giulia for authentic Italian cooking followed by stories and songs from one of Austin’s favorite troubadours.

Menu Sneak Preview

  • TBD

Friday, April 13, 2018
Culinary Experience April


Bring it! Cooking Class with Special Guest Chef Ali Rosen

Ali Rosen is the founder and host of Potluck with Ali Rosen, a television show and website dedicated to sharing the best and brightest in food. Potluck airs on NYC Life and its videos have appeared on HuffPost, Edible, and People. Ali was named as one of Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 for Food & Drink. She has also written for sites including Bon Appétit, Epicurious, Fodor’s, and Refinery 29. Potluck was nominated for an Emmy as well as two IACP awards and Thrillist said Ali had one of the coolest jobs in food (she agrees). She is from Charleston, South Carolina, but currently lives in New York City.


Menu Sneak Preview

  • Mediterranean Roasted Sea Bass -served with Linguine with Spinach Pepita Pesto
  • Cod in Crazy Water
  • Golden Seared Salmon with Quick Moroccan Tomato Relish

Monday May 14, 2018
Culinary Experience May


Clean and Simple: Healthful Fish Dinners for Any and Every Night with Special Guest Chef from New York Marge Perry


Marge Perry is an award-winning writer who also broadcasts, teaches and speaks about food, nutrition, travel and cooking. She is the Contributing Health Editor for Racheal Ray Every Daya long-standing Newsday columnist; health columnist for AllRecipes magazine, and Ask the Expert columnist (written and video). She also writes for TheKitchnFood NetworkThe New York TimesFine CookingEating WellBetter Homes & GardensPrevention, and SelfShe is a frequent guest on television (including news segments, QVC, and a regular feature on News 12) and radio. Her blog, A Sweet and Savory Life, allows her to exercise the depth and breadth of her writing.

Marge is the recipient of the Folio award for Best Travel Writing; in the same year she received the Best Essay award from the Association of Food Journalists.

In addition to Dinner Tonight, the cookbook based on her daily Newsday column, Marge has ghost and co-written nearly 20 other chef and celebrity food and nutrition books, including a number of New York Times best sellers. She is currently hard at work on a cookbook with her husband, Chef David Bonom.

Marge teaches cooking and media classes at the Institute of Culinary Education and Food Writing at New York University. Her extensive involvement with the food industry ranges from writing about cooking and nutrition, chefs, restaurants, growers, and producers; recipe development; restaurant reviewing; menu consulting; and teaching cooking and nutrition in under-served neighborhoods. Marge is an authoritative and accessible guide for anyone who cooks, eats and travels.

Menu Sneak Preview

  • Grilled Romaine Lettuce Wedges with Caesar Dressing and Grated Parmesan
  • Grilled Avocado Guacamole
  • Shrimp and Chorizo Tacos with Grilled Corn Salsa
  • Grilled Pound Cake with Warm Strawberries

Wednesday May 16, 2018
Culinary Experience May

Grill Pan Magic with Special Guest Chef from New York David Bonom


If you love to cook, chances are good that you have seen David’s recipes. His work appears regularly in Rachael Ray Every Day, Cooking Light, Better Homes & Gardens (where his recipes often grace the covers), Fine Cooking, Weight Watchers, Eating Well and many others. David is the recipe genius behind many New York Times best selling cookbook titles, including the Flat Belly Diet (and its many spin-offs), the Virgin Diet Cookbook (and subsequent Virgin Sugar Impact books) two Atkins cookbooks, and over thirty books for Weber Grills, Weight Watchers and more. His passion for grilling and smoking is put to good use when creating recipes for the Weber cookbooks.
David travels to unusual places like Albania, Macedonia and Peru to give seminars/demonstrations to chefs and restaurateurs, and also gives demos to non-professionals closer to home.
David began his culinary career working at some of the most prestigious New York City restaurants including Union Square Café, and catering for such notable clients as the Tisch family, Robert Rauschenberg, Bette Midler, (then) First Lady Hilary Clinton, Sotheby’s and more. He is one of only a handful of culinary professionals in the country to have earned the prestigious CCP (Certified Culinary Professional) designation, but he is happiest when standing in front of one the eight grills/smokers in his back yard.

Menu Sneak Preview

  • Seafood Crudo
  • Sea Bass with Orange Saffron Reduction & Steamed Bok Choy
  • Dark Chocolate Soufflé with Fresh Cream and Berry Coulis

Saturday May 19, 2018
Culinary Experience May


Modern American Table with Special Guest Chef Shaun O’Neale

Shaun O’Neale exploded onto the culinary scene in September 2016 when he claimed the title of America’s best home cook and was named Season 7 Champion of MasterChef on FOX.  He graduated from reality star to culinary star in May 2017 with the release of his debut cookbook “My Modern American Table”.

During his season of MasterChef, Shaun won over the palates of Gordon Ramsay, Christina Tosi, Daniel Boulud and Wolfgang Puck with his bold flavors and flawless presentation.  He carried the same techniques that earned him a record-setting eight wins in the MasterChef kitchen through to the completion of his cookbook.  “My Modern American Table” teaches other home cooks how to recreate Shaun’s upscale, modern American dishes like his lobster ravioli and salted caramel chocolate tart.

For the past 20 years, Shaun has been orchestrating dance floors as a DJ with the highlight of his career culminating on New Year’s Eve 2011 as he became the first DJ to perform on Las Vegas Blvd in front of over 100,000 people.  Beginning in Tampa, FL and now calling Las Vegas, NV home, Shaun has taken the same skills and determination that helped him to become a successful DJ and used them to start the next phase of his life as the next up-and-coming culinary star.

Shaun is a self-taught chef who educated himself by reading cookbooks, studying the history of food and traveling the globe to absorb different cultures and flavors.  As he continues his world-wide travels promoting his cookbook and building his brand as DJ/Chef/Author, Shaun will continue to work hard for his fans and the people who support him and look forward to joining him on his culinary journey.

Chef Johnny Vee

Menu Sneak Preview

  • Cumin & Chile Baked Jicama Chips
  • Tomatillo Apple Salsa
  • Achiote Marinated Quail
  • Poblano Posole Verde
  • Lime Mousse Parfait

Monday June 11, 2018
Culinary Experience June


The Lighter Side of New Mexico Cooking with Special Guest Chef Johnny Vee


Chef John “Johnny Vee” Vollertsen is director and creator of The Las Cosas Cooking School in Santa Fe, New Mexico- now celebrating its 21th year under his direction. His career in the hospitality industry has taken him from New York, through Sydney, Australia, and finally Santa Fe. He has taught cooking for over 20 years and enjoys a second career in food writing as a regular columnist for Su Casa Magazine and The New Mexican seasonal magazines, and as Dining & Food Editor for The Santa Fean magazine. John has hosted a Food Radio talk show called “Bits and Bites with Johnny Vee” on 1260 AM-KTRC. He also teaches regularly in Las Cruces, New Mexico at Kitchen Kraft.


John takes his show on the road and frequently participates in food events around the country including a recent stint at the Palm Springs Modernism Week where he and Victoria Price, daughter of Vincent Price, presented a seminar called, “Those Fabulous Foods of the 50’s and 60’s”.  His first cookbook Cooking with Johnny Vee has just come out in its 2nd edition in hardcover with enhanced fonts. John is also a “Super Chef” mentor for the Cooking with Kids program in local elementary schools. John also mentors teenagers through the Teen Access program, an offshoot of the Teen Shelter USA, and recently set up a cooking program for the Boys & Girls Club of Hobbs, New Mexico.

Lake Austin Spa Resort Culinary Experience image 2

Menu Sneak Preview

  • Pea Buttermilk Soup with Smoked Salmon and Wasabi Peas
  • Cold Southwestern Cucumber, Avocado, and Corn Soup
  • Three Melon Soup with Balsamic Strawberries and Sour Cream

Monday July 9, 2018
Culinary Experience July


Summer Soups Cooking Class with Special Guest Chef Sara Moulton

When Sara Moulton kicked off her sixth season as host of public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals,” in 2015, it was the latest milestone in a storied career that stretches back more than 30 years. A protégée of Julia Child, Sara was the co-founder of the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance, executive chef of Gourmet magazine, Food Editor of ABC-TV’s ”Good Morning America,” and the host of several well-loved shows on the Food Network during that channel’s first decade.

Sara is the author of several cookbooks including Sara Moulton Cooks at Home (2002), Sara’s Secrets for Weeknight Meals (2005) and Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners (2010). In March of 2016, Sara released her latest book, Sara Moulton’s Home Cooking 101: How To Make Everything Taste Better, a cookbook and teaching manual aimed at making readers more confident and efficient in the kitchen. She is also the author of the Associated Press column “Kitchen Wise.”

A teacher at heart, Sara’s mission has remained the same for decades — to help the home cook land a tasty dinner on the table every night.

Menu Sneak Preview

  • TBD

Friday, July 13, 2018
Culinary Experience July


Cooking Class with Special Guest Chef Justin Chapple  

As the Senior Test Kitchen Editor at FOOD & WINE, Justin tests and develops hundreds of recipes a year for the magazine, and other digital projects, and their branded cookbooks. He has also tested and developed recipes for Real Simple, Instyle and All You magazines. Justin teaches wonderfully oddball kitchen hacks—including peeling hard-boiled eggs with a spoon and, making perfect cake layers using dental floss—in a video series, Mad Genius Tips.

Justin joined FOOD & WINE in 2010 as an Assistant Event Coordinator, helping produce the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen. Before joining FOOD & WINE, he graduated from the French Culinary Institute and worked under chef Alain Allegretti in New York City.

Justin appears regularly on NBC’s Today Show and has represented FOOD & WINE on The Meredith Vieira Show, FOX 5’s Good Day NY and VH1’s Big Morning Buzz Live, among others.

Menu Sneak Preview

  • TBD

Saturday, August 18, 2018
Culinary Experience August


Cooking Class with Special Guest Chef Gerard Thompson   

Rough Creek Lodge has received innumerable accolades since opening its doors in 1998, and much of its success is attributed to Executive Chef Gerard Thompson.  In fact, Thompson was the first employee hired at the Lodge in 1997, reflecting the Lodge’s commitment to culinary excellence.


Since being named Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Director, Thompson has risen to the top, not only in Texas but in the U.S. as well.  The prestigious James Beard Foundation tapped Thompson as a rising star chef in the 21st century.  In 1999, he also had the honor of cooking for the James Beard Foundation Awards Dinner.  In the Dallas/ Fort Worth Zagat Survey, Rough Creek Lodge was the only restaurant to receive scores of 29 for food, décor and service (out of 30). Gerard and his culinary team have also received the prestigious DiRôNA award from Distinguished Restaurants of North America, been named to the top 50 hotels in North America (26th) and 88th in the world from Condé Nast Traveler reader poll and the MOST OUTSTANDING LODGE IN NORTH AMERICA” by CONDE NAST JOHANSENS.

Menu Sneak Preview

  • Mexican Street Corn Salad
  • Miniature Venezuelan Arepas with Carne Asada and Chimichurri
  • Mango Ceviche with Ground Pumpkin Seeds and Chile

Monday October 15, 2018
Culinary Experience October

Latin American Street Food with Special Guest Chef Sandra Gutierrez


Sandra Gutierrez is a food personality, expert on the subject of Latin American cuisine, a journalist and a food historian. Her work has been published in The Oxford American, People in Español, Cooking Club of America, Cooking Pleasures, InStyle, USA Today, NBCLatino, Mamiverse, FOX Latino, Southern Living, and in newspapers across the country.

She’s is credited with discovering a new culinary movement and her book on the subject matter, The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes that Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America & The American South, is on exhibit at The Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC.

Her other books: Latin American Street Food; Empanadas: the Hand-Held Pies of Latin America, and Beans and Field Peas, A Savor the South Cookbook have received rave reviews from both that national and international press, including The Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.


Recognized as a leading expert on Latin food, Sandra has presented at the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), and for Book and Food Festivals across the country. She is a regular judge for the James Beard Awards.