See what our clients are saying about us on Yelp!

The writer's retreat for the Transparent staff, engineered entirely by the wonderful gals of California Culinary Retreats, was a heavenly experience. Jill and Carol made us feel exceptionally well taken care of. When it was meal time, the food on our plates was amazing - carefully picked, natural ingredients that energize instead of weigh down. The table decorations were new at each meal and perfectly curated to compliment what was on our plates. The attention to detail didn't stop between meals either - there were always homemade snacks on the table, coffee in our mugs and a log on the fire. We wanted to bring them home with us!

Jill Soloway, Creator, director and writer of the original TV series Transparent on Amazon

Carol has an amazing gift of making cooking seem manageable for anyone. She makes the culinary arts accessible and delivers the material in a manner that makes students feel confident and empowered with their cooking. The best thing about working with Carol is her sense of humor and laid back nature. If Carol can teach me to cook then anyone can . Highly recommended!

Luke Sniewski, co-owner jackandoliveretreats

 Jill makes juggling multiple dishes, wines, courses and ovens feel like fun and her guests, while sharing and participating in the creation of a spectacular meal, have a great time as well.  She is one of those unique individuals who are able to infuse each dish, each meal, with something surprising and special, while simultaneously carrying on a really good conversation and making a sauce.  It is always such a pleasure to be at her table, to share in the creation of a memorable experience, to laugh, to eat, to enjoy.  

Toni Spencer, Owner Velvet Clothing 

Carol is an engaged and delightful culinary educator whose consultative insights propelled me from student to budding chef. Every moment I spend with her is cherished, living through me as I continue to hone my culinary skills – both personally and professionally. I’m so fortunate to have Carol as my mentor and friend.

Lara Merriken, Founder of LÄRABAR

The only problem you will ever have with a California Culinary Retreat is that you won't want to leave."

Sadye Faye Henson, Owner and Director of Cottage Enrichment 

Jill has an amazing way of making anyone and everyone around her feel loved and special.  She is a creative and talented chef who is also a joy to be around. She puts together gorgeous table settings, and is great at explaining how to conjure her wonderful creations easily.

Val Sklar - owner, Hot Yoga Pasadena

Perfection is the word that comes to mind when I think of Chef Thompson’s cooking. Everything is executed to perfection. Everything is thought out and spot on. Whether she’s serving a super simple classic or something more obscure, it’s the best you’ve ever had it. Authenticity is key in her cooking style. She can tell you why she puts A with B or why she wouldn’t and sometimes that changes with the batch of ingredients or the season. She’s ever-evaluative of the ever-changing ingredients and that’s what makes her a tried and true chef.

Pace Webb, owner Taste of Pace

Being at a Gillian Chessé event is like feeling the warm embrace of a friend's dinner party, all while your intellect and palate are having the time of their life.  Experience it, you won't regret it!
Lisa Zahra - DP, Moviebords

Carol Cotner Thompson is one of the leading culinary experts today. She changed the way I look at and approach food and gave me the confidence to find my own way in this industry.

Rob Grayson, Founder of The Good Cookie & The Culinary Arts Training Program