Have More Fun: Cooking

Improve your cooking by observing great chefs

You can learn only so much from the Food Network. Here’s where to go if you really want to hone your kitchen skills.

L’Academie de Cuisine (5021 Wilson La., Bethesda; 301-986-9490; lacademie.com) is the gold standard. The school’s recreational arm—its professional school is in Gaithersburg—offers a wide range of classes for every level of cook. Single-session classes focus on topics that range from bouillabaisse to bleu cheese or on a menu with a theme such as ingredients of the Chesapeake. These are either a chef demonstration or hands-on, where participants work in groups and wine is often included—which means the hands-on classes can seem more social than serious. Single classes range from $50 to $65; one-, two-, and four-day workshops are $165 to $350.

For different experiences, try founder François Dionot’s demonstrations of French cooking ($30 and $50) or Mark Ramsdell’s 20-week professional-level pastry/baking course ($1,700), taught in Gaithersburg.

The Pentagon City branch of the kitchenware chain Sur la Table (1101 S. Joyce St., Arlington; 703-414-3580; surlatable.com) holds classes by top local and national chefs. Former 1789 chef Ris Lacoste has been a regular, and Bonnie Moore, once a sous chef at the Inn at Little Washington, is known for her baking and seasonal-cooking classes. Some sessions are geared to children, teens, and couples. Classes are $50 to $75 each.

Many top chefs give a behind-the-stoves look at their kitchens. The jovial Roberto Donna teaches hands-on Italian cooking, followed by lunch or dinner, in the open kitchen of his Laboratorio del Galileo (1110 21st St., NW; 202-293-7191; galileodc.com) ; $100 (days) or $110 (evenings) a person.

Jonathan Krinn’s classes focus on such themes as grilling and healthy eating, and they end with a wine dinner at 2941, his Modern American restaurant (2941 Fairview Park Dr., Falls Church; 703-270-1511; 2941.com) ; $100 a person.

French chef Michel Richard reveals the techniques behind his whimsical creations—usually over lunch—in his demonstration classes in the open kitchen at Citronelle (3000 M St., NW; 202-625-2150; citronelledc.com) ; $130 a person.

Chocoholics can get a tasting and truffle-making demonstration from master confectioner Rob Kingsbury at Kingsbury Chocolates (1017 King St., Alexandria; 703-458-2800; kingsburychocolates.com) ; $15 or $20.

—Ann Limpert

You can learn only so much from the Food Network. Here’s where to go if you really want to hone your kitchen skills.

L’Academie de Cuisine (5021 Wilson La., Bethesda; 301-986-9490; lacademie.com) is the gold standard. The school’s recreational arm—its professional school is in Gaithersburg—offers a wide range of classes for every level of cook. Single-session classes focus on topics that range from bouillabaisse to bleu cheese or on a menu with a theme such as ingredients of the Chesapeake. These are either a chef demonstration or hands-on, where participants work in groups and wine is often included—which means the hands-on classes can seem more social than serious. Single classes range from $50 to $65; one-, two-, and four-day workshops are $165 to $350.

For different experiences, try founder François Dionot’s demonstrations of French cooking ($30 and $50) or Mark Ramsdell’s 20-week professional-level pastry/baking course ($1,700), taught in Gaithersburg.

The Pentagon City branch of the kitchenware chain Sur la Table (1101 S. Joyce St., Arlington; 703-414-3580; surlatable.com) holds classes by top local and national chefs. Former 1789 chef Ris Lacoste has been a regular, and Bonnie Moore, once a sous chef at the Inn at Little Washington, is known for her baking and seasonal-cooking classes. Some sessions are geared to children, teens, and couples. Classes are $50 to $75 each.

Many top chefs give a behind-the-stoves look at their kitchens. The jovial Roberto Donna teaches hands-on Italian cooking, followed by lunch or dinner, in the open kitchen of his Laboratorio del Galileo (1110 21st St., NW; 202-293-7191; galileodc.com) ; $100 (days) or $110 (evenings) a person.

Jonathan Krinn’s classes focus on such themes as grilling and healthy eating, and they end with a wine dinner at 2941, his Modern American restaurant (2941 Fairview Park Dr., Falls Church; 703-270-1511; 2941.com) ; $100 a person.

French chef Michel Richard reveals the techniques behind his whimsical creations—usually over lunch—in his demonstration classes in the open kitchen at Citronelle (3000 M St., NW; 202-625-2150; citronelledc.com) ; $130 a person.

Chocoholics can get a tasting and truffle-making demonstration from master confectioner Rob Kingsbury at Kingsbury Chocolates (1017 King St., Alexandria; 703-458-2800; kingsburychocolates.com) ; $15 or $20.

—Ann Limpert

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