Teaching and cooking in Tuscany at Villa Montecastello is first class. Every morning we pick vegetables from the garden to cook with and plan our day. As a chef it is so refreshing and invigorating to work with such quality ingredients in a picturesque setting. I can’t wait to go back!
— Chef Craig Richards

Chef Craig Richards

MAY 5-12, 2018

We are thrilled to have our friend and Atlanta favorite, Craig Richards, back to Villa Montecastello to cook the farm, fresh off his debut on The Chew's Best Chef on the Block Competition.

Join Chef Craig Richards, Vice President of Culinary Operations for Ford Fry Restaurants and head Chef at St Cecilia restaurant, in the romantic Tuscan countryside for a week of unforgettable culinary experiences. This week long journey will immerse you in the joys of Italian culture, introduce you to new techniques and ingredients, and inspire your cooking for years to come.

For anyone who enjoys cooking, there is no better way to sharpen your techniques and expand your
skills and love for Italian cooking than in the setting of the 1000 year old Villa Montecastello, a working organic farm and olive orchard. Your week spent in this storybook setting will be complemented by farm to table eating, cooking with ingredients just picked from the garden, magical day trips and wonderful wines.

During this hands on week, Craig will lead you on a cooking journey of a lifetime, inspiring you with his old-world, ingredient driven approach, to cook simple foods met with his signature sophistication that has catapulted him to the top of Atlanta’s dining scene. We hope you can come along and let Chef Richards guide you through the simple and flavorful experience of living a week in Tuscany to the fullest!


  • Day 1: Arrival to Villa Montecastello, light lunch upon arrival.  Time to relax and freshen up.  Sunset prosecco reception and welcome dinner at Villa Montecastello.
  • Day 2: Breakfast.  Welcome orientation. Morning cooking class followed by lunch.  Afternoon free time for swimming, hiking, reading, exploring.   Afternoon cooking class.  Dinner at Villa Montecastello.
  • Day 3: Breakfast.  Late morning trip to Montalcino for a winery tour and Brunello tasting.  Lunch in Montalcino.  Afternoon cooking class.  Dinner at Villa Montecastello.
  • Day 4: Breakfast.  Morning cooking class followed by lunch.  Afternoon free time in Siena.  Dinner out at best local restaurant in Siena.
  • Day 5: Breakfast.  Morning cooking class followed by lunch.  Afternoon wine class with wine expert Jens Schmidt.  Dinner grill night at Villa Montecastello. 
  • Day 6: Breakfast.  All day trip to Florence with lunch and dinner out on your own.
  • Day 7: Breakfast.  Morning cooking class followed by lunch.  Free time for swimming, hiking, reading, exploring, relaxing and taking it all in.  Farewell Dinner pizza party night at Villa Montecastello – make your own pizza in our 1000 year old outdoor oven.
  • Day 8: Breakfast good byes and departure for airports.

All Inclusive Accommodations 

Villa Montecastello will be your private Tuscan oasis during this week long retreat.  We invite you to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of nature, eat to your heart’s content, and to relax by the pool with a glass of Prosecco and soak in the sprawling views of the Tuscan countryside. 

The week includes 7 overnight accommodations at Villa Montecastello, 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners, all local transportation as described in the itinerary including airport pickup and drop off  at Florence airport.  Daily breakfast buff et includes locally baked goods and produce, fruit, coffee, tea and juice.  Also included are all of the materials for cooking classes, wine tours and tasting.  Unlimited bottled water (sparkling and flat) at villa.  House wine with lunch and dinners from our expertly curated house selection, plus all wine for tastings and winery tours. 

Not included in pricing: Airfare, all extra beverages, additional transportation outside of itinerary.

Each room is uniquely furnished with the utmost attention to detail.  All rooms offer luxury hand ironed linens,  hand made olive oil soap and shampoo, fresh cut flowers and air conditioning.  Villa Montecastello offers 8 room options of varying sizes and pricing, each is filled with beautiful antiques,  warmth and charm.  The Villa Montecastello has many shared sitting areas both inside and out, a library filled with books about Italy, food and wine,  as well as a professional chef’s kitchen where your cooking classes will take place.


  • Leccino Luxury Suite: $4800 per person for double occupancy, $4200 per person triple          The largest apartment offering the most comfort and space with one bedroom with Queen bed, a private living room with pull out sofa bed, fireplace, living room area, kitchen and large ensuite bathroom
  • Frantoio Suite: $4400 per person for double occupancy, $4900 per person for single occupancy Our most romantic room, beautifully appointed with a King size canopy bed and ensuite bathroom with clawfoot tub
  • Pendolino Studio: $4000 per person for double occupancy, $4500 per person for single  
    A charming studio with Queen bed, private ensuite bathroom and kitchenette
  • Foresteria Room: $4000 per person for double occupancy, $4500 per person for single               A beautiful large bedroom with King bed or two Twin beds and private ensuite bathroom
  • Frantoio Bedroom: $3700 per person for double occupancy, $4200 per person for single             A beautifully appointed room with an extra large bathroom just a few steps outside the room
  • Moraiolo Bedrooms #1 & #2: $3500 per person double occupancy, $4000 per person single Cozy and lovely rooms with private bathrooms across the hallway, just a few steps outside the room.  Bedroom #1 has the option for a King bed or two Twin beds.  Bedroom #2 has a Queen bed


*Note for online bookings a booking fee of 3% is included in the pricing.

For question, more details or to book by phone call 973.327.2336 or email us