Taking cooking classes is like opening a window on the world. I love experiencing different cultures, foods, and cooking styles. These opportunities provide great insight into people and their way of life. I love to share my class experience and some good food with friends and family.
My favorite cooking classes have been hands-on and definitely broaden my horizons. Honestly, I’ve also learned heaps from demonstration classes. It has been pleasure to take a couples’ cooking class, enjoy a girl’s night out or just attend a class on your own. I’m very confident you will find like-minded foodies at any class.
Here are some tips on selecting a cooking class that you’ll enjoy.
1. Pick a cooking class that interests you.
- What are your interests? Are you amazed with a certain chef or style of cooking? Do you love Indian food, but you’ve never been brave enough to try cooking it at home. Maybe baking classes or knife skill classes would improve your confidence and creativity. Another consideration is taking a class that would help you adapt to a health condition or dietary restriction such as diabetes, paleo diet or gluten-free baking.
- What are the local specialties? Whether it’s Austin’s famous BBQ, Sydney’s Amazing Fish Market, Seattle’s Publix market, or Latin food in Miami, each area has a specialties to learn and enjoy.
- Who are the amazing teachers in your area? Amazing cooking class teachers share techniques and inspire creativity. These instructors may be passionate cooks or trained professional chefs.
Another idea I enjoy is including a cooking class in my vacation plans. A local class can provide unique insights into your destination and you’ll bring home inspiration and techniques to share with friends and family.
2. Pick a class that suits your skill level
The three types of cooking skill training are: Demonstration classes, Hands-On Training and Workshops.
- In demonstration cooking classes, an instructor shows how to prepare food. The demonstrator usually provides expert tips and you can view the difficult aspects of the techniques. Demonstration classes are held in a kitchen with a mirror over the counter/cook top that allows students to view the food. These classes are usually shorter length and recipes are generally provided. Attendees may enjoy a small sample or a full meal. These classes are fun for beginners and no dishwashing or veggies chopping is required.
- In hands-on cooking classes students are in the kitchen preparing food, not just watching technique demonstrations or the recipe being prepared. The instructor usually covers recipe basics and may demonstrate techniques prior to preparations starting. There is an opportunity to try a new technique and ask detailed questions. One potential downside in a hands-on class is that participation is usually team based, so there are many activities happening at the same time. It is likely you will only work on one or two dishes and that you may not be able to master all techniques taught in the class. Depending upon the program, you may help with clean-up.
- Cooking Workshops are immersion training that can last a day, a weekend or even week. They are often a combination of demos and hands-on training. Some workshops include a market visit where students have a chance to procure fresh, local ingredients and sample local delicacies. Depending upon the program, you may help with clean-up.
3. Pick a class that helps you grow your cooking skills and gain confidence or just is plain fun!
- Check what background skills are required. Class descriptions generally describe the culinary skill level required. If you need some pluck to try a new skill, invite a friend to share the experience with you.
- Confirm that the class size, the instructor and style of class will meet your needs. Look for classes in your local area or consider a destination cooking class.
- If the class is a fun night out, choose a class that emphasizes entertainment. There specific couples classes, Mom and Me or Girls Night Out classes that are enjoyable. Some schools also offer cooking classes as a corporate team building experience.
I learn something in every class. Even if you have been cooking for years a culinary skill building class can provide new insights or help you perfect a challenging technique.
I’ll share some of my favorite cooking classes in another post. Please check out the rest of JustFoodies to find local classes in your area. I'd love to hear about your cooking class experiences.
I hope you will participate, learn, cook & share! Have fun and enjoy the cooking classes.