Facebook/ Portland's Culinary Workshop
In partnership with Voss Water, The Daily Meal ranks the best amateur and recreational cooking classes for cooking enthusiasts
For most, attending culinary school is not a logical career step — even if one fosters an extraordinary appetite for good food and a serious passion for cooking. In most cases, the time, the cost, and the practicality of vocational school are simply, albeit sadly, unreasonable.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop cooking enthusiasts from literally craving the professional instruction and knowledge taught in cooking schools, and it doesn’t stop them from wanting to be better cooks! For these types of people, recreational and advanced amateur cooking classes are the answer.
Continue to see which schools topped our list of the 25 Best Cooking Classes in America.
Facebook/ Sur La Table
Sur la Table offers cooking classes at many of their store locations across America.
Examples of classes include Homemade Ravioli Workshop, Knife Skills 101, and a Fall Baking Workshop. These programs are specifically designed to build confidence and provide cooking tips and recipes that are easily replicable at home.
Facebook/ De Gustibus Cooking School at Macy's
The mission of De Gustibus Cooking School is to “provide the highest quality experience in all things culinary.”
The classes are somewhat unconventional and are not solely devoted to teaching culinary basics and skills; instead, the school also features demonstration classes and tastings. De Gustibus classes are more about the experience of cooking and eating, and often invites chefs to teach the dishes they cook every day in their own restaurant kitchens. As they describe, “Tickets to our classes and events include food, education and the opportunity to be up close and personal with the most celebrated chefs and sommeliers in the industry.”
Facebook/ Hipcooks Seattle
Hipcooks provides hands-on cooking classes for the novice and seasoned cook alike. Some examples of what Hipcooks offers include The Thrill of the Grill, Un Noche en España, and Thai One On.
Interestingly, measuring implements are banned here in order to help students to dig deep for cooking intuition and enjoy the process rather than the science.
Hipcooks’ goal is to have you feeling good about your skills as a cook, leaving you empowered and confident when you leave the kitchen. Classes have a set price of $65 and are available for all skill levels.
Facebook/ The Brooklyn Kitchen
The Brooklyn Kitchen cooking school invites local New York chefs to teach students their trade. For instance, one of the classes, Homemade Pizza with Roberta’s, invites students to “work under the tutelage of Brooklyn's best pizzaiolos to create your own custom pies that are worth the hype.”
Each of the one-off classes ranges from $85 to $115 per person, per class.
Facebook/ Cakebread Cellars
Cakebread Cellars has long focused on the relationship between food and wine and it is said that they may have one of the most extensive culinary programs in Napa Valley.
Cakebread frequently hosts a number of hands-on classes that focus on a particular cuisine or topic; some of which include Tamales y Mas, Dungeness Crab and Chardonnay, and Cassoulet and Cabernet. Classes are limited to 16 guests and fill up quickly; the cost is $195 per person, per class.
At the North Carolina BBQ Society, students go to culinary camp and learn how barbecue North Carolina-style. Over the course of the weekend, participants will learn “whole hogs eastern North Carolina style, shoulders and Boston butts western North Carolina style, chicken, pork ribs, beef brisket, pork tenderloin, beef prime rib and whole wild fish.”
Campers are also instructed on how to make sauces, rubs, and essential BBQ side dishes like collards, baked beans, and banana pudding.
The cost of the camp is $449 per person, and in addition to instruction,n the class includes a cook-out/mixer, meals, and a final party where everyone can enjoy the fruits of the labor.
Facebook/ Kitchen on Fire
Kitchen on Fire is a cooking school that teaches culinary skills with an added focus on local organic food from small nearby organic growers and winemakers.
They explain, “Through fun and educational hands-on cooking classes, culinary demonstrations and lectures taught by top chefs and food professionals, we demystify home cooking and entertaining.”
Kitchen on Fire offers day classes covering basic cooking techniques, nutrition, global cuisines, as well as vegetarian cooking, among many others.
For the serious enthusiast, Kitchen on Fire covers a wide array of techniques and skills in a four-week or 12-week boot camp series. Individual classes begin at $115, whereas the 12-week culinary basics school costs $1,065 or $795 for the four-week condensed boot camp course.
Facebook/ Cook Street School of Culinary Arts
At Cook Street, they are passionate about the art of cooking and entertaining at home. “Our recreational cooking classes teach you more than just reading a recipe,” they write. “It’s about learning technique that will make you the best home cook you can be.”
Classes cover subjects like butchery and artisanal bread baking, and they also offer a four-week Classic Essentials class for $389; prices of other classes vary. For returning students, Cook Street also organizes a European Culinary Tour to help expand palates with authentic dining experiences and flavors.
Facebook/ Home Cooking New York
Founded by the former food editor of Martha Steward Living, Jennifer Clair, Home Cooking New York first opened its doors in 2002. The school boasts of six professional chef instructors and also offers to bring classes into homes in the tri-state area for private classes.
Home Cooking NY hosts classes nearly every day of the week and covers a multitude of subjects; many classes dive into a single subject and single ingredients areas such as How to Cook Chicken or How to Cook with Produce from the Farmers Market.
Each of the two and a half hour classes costs $100 and only allows a maximum of 10 students in each class ensure maximum attention and hands-on learning. Home Cooking NYC also offers a four-day culinary boot camp for $395.
Facebook/ The Chopping Block
The Chopping Block has been teaching Chicago how to cook for the past 19 years and strives to make their cooking classes as informative as they are fun.
The classes have amusing titles such as Tiki Time, Grilling Fiesta, Just Encase: Sausage-Making Basics, among others, and are geared towards enthusiasts who want to cook and entertain at home with greater authority.
The Chopping Block's Culinary Boot Camp was recently named “Best Cooking Class of Chicago” by Chicago Magazine and offers more than 10 different boot-camp-style classes. The cost for a single class ranges from $40 (for the two and a half hour knife skills class) to $90 (for the Beer Garden Grilling class); the boot camp classes come to a total of $1,750.
Facebook/ ICASI (International Culinary Arts and Sciences Institute)
On their website, the Loretta Paganini School of Cooking states: “Our mission is to help people create better meals and to make better informed culinary decisions at home by providing entertaining educational opportunities, learned in a cozy, yet well-equipped environment and to stimulate their culinary creativity through enhanced kitchen confidence.”
The school offers a myriad of hands-on culinary classes including Pasta Night, Latino Sauces, Dim Sum, and Low County Cooking. Classes are less than $100 per person and are led by one of the 15 chef instructors on staff.
Facebook/ Chef Eric's Culinary Classroom
The founder, owner, and chief instructor at the Culinary Classroom, chef Eric Jacques Crowley, draws upon his extensive career, highly regarded technical training, and education from the Culinary Institute of America to closely mentor students both in the art of cooking and baking and in furthering their culinary careers.
The Culinary Classroom offers 30 hands-on courses focusing on single subjects, like Chef Eric’s Chicken Connoisseur Class, and also covers global cuisines, pairings, and desserts.
Each class lasts about three hours and costs about $95 to $100 per person, per class. For $395 you can sign up for a four-week series boot-camp-style course covering the culinary basics more in depth.
Facebook/ Cambridge School of Culinary Arts
At the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts classes are designed to introduce the amateur chef to the world of specialty cooking. The Regions of Italy class, for instance, includes six weeks of instruction covering six different Italian regions for $495. The school also offers a Techniques of Cooking class that covers everything from knife skills, eggs, soups, stocks, sauces, braising, and other cooking methods. Pastry classes are also offered in a four-week course totaling $325.
The Home Cook program at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts offers a dynamic collection of hands-on, technique-focused cooking classes for enthusiast cooks.
Courses are offered on Saturdays in three-hour sessions and include classes like Mastering French Crepes, Greek Cooking, and Asian Noodle House from Scratch; technique classes covering knife skills, sauces, and bread baking are also offered. The one-day classes cost $99 per person, per class.
Facebook/ Portland's Culinary Workshop
The Portland Culinary Workshop is a wonderful school for one-off cooking classes for beginners. Online reviewers also note that the teachers are patient and knowledgeable and that students will take away a new skill and some newfound confidence.
Some of the classes are Wine & Cuisine of The Pacific Northwest and Snout to Tail: Pork! Prices vary: Basic knife skills will cost you $45, whereas the aforementioned classes are $85 and $90, respectively.
The goal of the Bon Vivant Cooking School classes is for students to “acquire the expertise you need to enjoy cooking and feel successful in the kitchen whether [students] are an experienced or beginning cook.”
To school is open to all levels and provides intensive, hands-on single classes, such as Taste the Saveur-French Classics or Succulent Beef for the Holidays, as well as nine-session series courses covering the essentials more in depth, such as Mastering Culinary Essentials and Advanced Culinary Techniques.
Prices vary for the single classes, and the series courses are priced at $375.
Facebook/ Johnson & Wales University
As one of the top professional cooking schools in the U.S., Johnson and Wales offers amateur classes at two of their three locations. Classes range from Octoberfest to Knife Skills or highlight a specific ingredient, like in the class Main Ingredient: Mushrooms.
Pro-series classes, costing about $135, are characterized by five-hour sessions that give students a deeper knowledge on specific topics such as Braising and Stewing, Chocolate Confections, and Fondant and Cake Decorating. Class options and prices vary at each location.
Facebook/ The French Pastry School
The French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at City Colleges of Chicago is the premier international institution for pastry arts education. Though it’s a professional school, it also has a Continuing Education program in which the school hosts hands-on three- to five-day courses specifically tooled for food enthusiasts.
Some examples of upcoming classes include Traditional Artisan Bread, Classic French Cakes, and Puff Pastry: Sweet and Savory. Classes are $525 for three days of instruction and do not require previous experience in pastry or baking.
Facebook/ New School of Cooking
The New School of Cooking has been offering its unique, hands-on classes in Culver City, California, for the last 15 years and is characterized by its small class size and professional faculty.
The New School of Cooking has a number of classes ranging from beginner one-day courses to a 20-week long intensive advanced course. Notably, there is also a four-week-long series courses covering essential cooking techniques or specialized global cuisines.
The 20-week pro-cooking and pro-baking courses totals $2,800, whereas the four-week series course costs $450; single classes range from $110 to $250 for topics like Classic French Macaroons, Pizza Making, and Essentials of Thai Cooking.
Catering to all skill levels, The Chocolate Academy provides classes all about the art of working with chocolate. The school recently underwent a total renovation to update its facilities and revamping the curriculum. In addition to the highly trained chef-instructors, some of the specialty classes are taught by world-class guest pastry chefs from around the world.
Take the Discovering Chocolate course and spend four days learning crystallization techniques, dipping and molding, as well as ganache and emulsions from true chocolate masters. Other class titles include Playful Chocolate Figurines, Snack Attack, and Trends in Wedding Cake Design. Course prices vary yet range from $500 to $950 per course.
The classes at Kendall College, a premier culinary school, are designed for the serious enthusiast chef and are taught by the real professional chef-instructors in a culinary school environment. Classes for all enthusiast levels are offered; from novice to experienced amateur.
The Kendall College Culinary and Baking & Pastry Intensive classes guide the “accomplished enthusiast chef” through an in-depth program building skills and learning new culinary techniques. The classes are broken down into six sessions, once a week for a period of five hours. Classes are also held in the evenings and on the weekends to accommodate real-life schedules; other classes offered include wine training, food photography, and food writing.
Facebook/ San Francisco Cooking School
The recreational cooking classes at the San Francisco Cooking School are sure to delight any home cook. Classes include essential skills classes like Fish and Shellfish Fundamentals and Knife Skills, but more in-depth series boot camps are also offered.
Namely, a three-week series class for classic culinary or pastry fundamentals involves a total of 24 hours of hands-on instruction for $455 and $415, respectively.
Cook the Book classes are often featured inviting cooks to learn recipes and techniques from best-selling cookbooks favorites like David Leibowitz’s My Paris Kitchen and David Chang’s Momofuku. This fall the school will offer as many as 73 different amateur recreational classes taught by their staff of chef instructors.
Facebook/ The International Culinary Center
The International Culinary Center offers home cooks a variety of appetizing, hands-on, one-day classes for around $195 per person, per class. Classes are held in the school’s state-of-the-art kitchen and are taught by the professional chef faculty.
The New York campus offers 25 focused classes such as Classic Croissants, Basics of Sushi, and Handmade Pasta; whereas the California campus offers simply the foundations: Knife Skills 101, Culinary Techniques, as well as The Fundamentals of Wine. New York also offers other industry-relevant courses such as food styling and culinary writing.
The ICC Culinary Techniques boot-camp course includes 100 hours of instruction for $8,200.
Culinary Institute of America Facebook/ The Culinary Institute of America
The Culinary Institute of America is touted as one of the top schools in the nation and has graduated many of the world’s top chefs. Their amateur classes are taught in the same facilities by the same instructors, and each of the three locations offers numerous opportunities to learn in a variety of fields and focuses.
Classes are offered on Saturdays at each location, and the school also offers intensive culinary boot camps in one, two, three, four, or five-day options.
A single Saturday course averages about $250, whereas boot camps range from $895 to about $2,195.
Facebook/ Institute of Culinary Education
On their website, ICE claims that their recreational cooking school is “home to the largest program of hands-on recreational cooking, baking and wine classes in the world,” and it’s true: The recreational program at ICE is anything but small. Each year the school hosts more than 26,000 people in their recreational programs. The 1,500 different hands-on classes offered take place in one of ICE’s 14 state-of-the-art kitchens — the same used for their professional school and range from about $100 to $120 per class.
For $650, the most serious of enthusiasts can enroll in a five-day cooking boot camp covering the various cooking techniques.