Nourish your future.


New York City, US

May 29-31, 2020 (one spot left)

Aug/Sep dates TBD (Covid-19-related First-to-Know List)


If you want more clarity, passion, and grounding for what's to come, then join Samir Selmanović, chef and leadership coach for a three-day contemplative cooking school in his kitchen, steps from Central Park!


You get out of your head and into your body. Your busy hands and anchored feet keep you in the here and now. Your shoulders drop and your heart opens as you discover that your life is enough.

More than enough, actually. It is overflowing. You stop and learn to pay attention. 

Green onions, simmering soup, fresh basil, an open bottle of wine, are all speaking to you. You sense what you need to let go of and the unknown you are about to enter. You realize that the pots, pans, water, and flame are on your side, just as everything else is. 

Old tired ways of being loosen up, melt away, and a sense of freedom to be yourself surprises you. And stays with you. Through experimentation and practice, you learn how to learn.  

Cook For Life Retreat unlocks potential for growth that resides in the kitchen.

Join other wayfinders, share your story and be seen and heard in a profound way.

All the while, the sacred work with food holds you, keeps you from retreating into the confinement of your habitual worries. The kitchen tells you the secrets of your belonging and dares you to trust who you are becoming. 

Return home knowing that you can awaken yourself at any time.

Welcome... The heartbeat of New York City has called you, welcoming you to a future you can live! 

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Cook For Life Retreat offers several layers of experience so you can feel safe and appropriately challenged. At this cooking school/life retreat we will: 

  • Envision, plan, cook, and host five meals including a multi-course sit-down dinner with special guests and a casual (yet awesome!) picnic lunch.
  • Host local guests who will be paying real money to eat what you prepare (all profit goes to local food programs).
  • Create and sustain different dining atmospheres, including a Friday evening Sabbath, a magical Manhattan Saturday night celebration, and an intimate and reflective Sunday brunch.
  • Experience full-contact with the heart, art, and actions of two gems (artists/activists) of New York City.
  • Encounter two local artisans, joy-shop at the local farmer's market and visit the largest food pantry in Harlem.
  • Practice mindfulness and storytelling.

Articulate, practice, and internalize ten uniquely human skills that are essential for a great kitchen as well as a great life, great love, and great leadership

My gut feeling says yes!

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Hello Lifemaker!

Real and life-giving change is not about trying harder. Quite to the contrary, it is about relaxing into our element naturally. 

We are creating a balanced experience with practice, time for reflection, and celebration that is responsive and adaptable to every person. 

The Details:

  • Venue: A New York City apartment steps from Central Park. 
  • Time: Friday 1 pm - Sunday 1 pm.
  • Lodging: On your own (nearby hotels, Airbnb, friends, family, etc) 
  • Dinner Guests: You are welcome to invite one of your own guests to our Friday or Saturday dinner.
  • Vibe: Chill. Enlightening. Fun! There will be a time of silent and mindful work, time creating under pressure, and time for sharing, reflection, and celebration.
  • Approach: We will not fetishize food or cooking, rely on grand recipes, or do anything that you cannot integrate into your life. We are after the glory of an average kitchen, an average life, and average groceries. Average is holy! Together we will support each other to move forward with whatever each of our kitchen and life is asking of us.
  • Cost: Regular $1490: Early Bird $1190

Before the Retreat:

  • A Clarity Call – 20 minutes of 1:1 time with Samir so he can get to know you personally and best support you on your journey
  • Pre-Trip Group Call – you’ll have the chance to meet everyone in the group, share your intent and learn how to best prepare yourself

After the Retreat:

  • Access to a Private Membership Group –stay connected pre- and post-trip with instruction how to prepare ahead, integrate your learning afterward, and--of course--swap photos and new insights
  • Post-Trip Group Call – An hour call to reflect and to help integrate your transformation.

An invitation to a journey like this where you can reset and renew is a movement of grace. If you are meant to join, you’ll know it.

Welcome to New York City!  A big, dirty, wonderful dream factory. Diverse, intense, and gracious. Here, we will follow our hearts together. 

Here's to great fun and new friends on the journey!

Samir Selmanović and Cook For Life Team


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Learn how to live, love, and lead around a kitchen table.  

Food is about transformation. After this retreat, you will be able to... 

  • See your kitchen and your life more clearly and more playfully. Observe and accept what is (presence) and then search and experiment what if (potentiality).
  • Know how to create with what you have. Embrace yourself as an ordinary person with ordinary abilities, living an extraordinary life.
  • Find it easier to keep your cool, focus, and joy in the midst of seemingly overwhelming complexity. As in the kitchen so in your relationships, your work, and your inner life.

This is a mystical journey... It will touch your life and, through you, the people you love, serve or lead, and all of humanity.

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This journey is for you if...

  • You want to explore how cooking can make you a better leader, parent, friend, or lover. 
  • You are learning to accept yourself as a simple, ordinary human being facing the same fundamental tasks as all other human beings.
  • You want to practice a pragmatic and spiritual approach to responding to your real challenges in real time.
  •  You’re ready to challenge yourself to let go, cross a threshold, and step into the unknown.
  • You care deeply making the world a better place.
  • You're both excited and nervous about this trip!

You might believe that life is mostly about following recipes. Or that cooking and eating are about fueling yourself to do something else. Let's challenge that. 

You might tend to blame outside circumstances, make excuses, and defend yourself rather than observe, learn, and practice. Let's change that. 

You might not be eager to take a leap of faith, laugh, hug, or let your hands get dirty. Let's do that!

I'm in!

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After years--decades actually--of considering, I am jumping into one of my dreams here. I figure, lots of people, couples, and heavenly angels have it on their bucket list to visit New York City. I mean going under the belly, full-contact with New Yorkers of all kinds, bypassing the tourist traps. (By the way, New Yorkers LOVE people! That's why we live here, there are people everywhere.) 

I have developed the Cook For Life Retreat because I know that every person has the capacity to taste the astonishing experience of living a fully human life. Food keeps you alive and makes you alive. 

I grew up in a Croatian family that was heaven-bent on cooking. Under the daily tutelage of my mom, dad, and older sister, three cooks who taught me how to live, love and make the best Sarma (a complex yet adaptable Bosnian dish soon to take over the world soon), I had racked up 10,000 hours in the kitchen by the time I was sixteen. (I missed lots of soccer games and parties. And loved it!) Living between Adriatic, Italian, German, Bosnian, Hungarian, and Turkish cuisines, we were adept at discovering dishes and their stories. We would travel from Tuscany to Istanbul and from Split to Munich. Upon returning home, we would get experiments started. Back in 6th grade, I guest-hosted a cooking show on the main national TV channel.

Today, it is mostly about New York City and the rich immigrant tradition that makes New York City so special. She (NYC) is full of culinary artists, fresh ingredients, healthy choices, and ways to pack old dishes and new techniques into food that will awake and nourish anyone willing to learn and travel the world through NYC kitchens. Cooking, like life, is the place of constant transformation. You only need to recognize two or three wholesome ingredients in your story, your relationships, or in your kitchen (every one of us has them, no doubt) and get enchanted with what's possible.

I am very excited to have amazing assistants to help me support you throughout your experience and will announce them soon.

You can learn more about my leadership coaching, speaking, and other work here.

Samir Selmanović Ph.D.  PCC

P.S. I include a photo above, with my friend Russell on the right, when we helped our dear friends. We cooked a four-course wedding dinner for 100 people, with a one-week notice and without ever doing it before. With some trepidation, lots of laughter, and the great joy of all who came. You will be able to do that someday too!

I have a corporate/organizational inquiry.