Cooking with the Ladies

Here’s a low-key (and delicious) alternative to the traditional bridal tea or bachelorette night out: a cooking class

Cookology offers a substitute for a bar-hopping bachelorette party. The bride and her family and friends can spend the day cooking and baking their own hand-crafted meals. Photographs courtesy of Cookology

If just reading the words “honey-glazed dates” and “chocolate-dipped French macaroons” is enough to make you drool, we’ve got you covered for your next wedding festivity. For a twist on the typical tea and sandwiches (or girls-night-on-the-town) gathering, head to Cookology for a bridal shower or bachelorette cooking class, where you’ll be able to cook, eat, drink, and be merry all at once.

At Cookology, a recreational culinary school in Sterling, the bride, family, and friends can create their own delicious meal and then enjoy their creations in Cookology’s dining room.

“Sometimes when you go to a bridal shower, you’re meeting extended family, neighbors, or childhood friends whom you may have never spoken to before,” says chef Katie Reineberg. “It’s a nice icebreaker to be around food because it’s universally relatable.”

Cookology began offering the classes earlier this year, and so far Reineberg has taught about a dozen bridal and bachelorette parties. Custom menu options are available, which the bride or maid of honor can choose from before the actual class. If you have a vegetarian or gluten-intolerant guest, Reineberg, who is also a nutritionist, says dietary restrictions are taken into account for menu options. There are certain restrictions when it comes to baking certain sweets, but the menus are “incredibly flexible.”

A popular option has been the Best Friends Forever (BFF) class, an interactive food and wine workshop. The party learns how to put together tapas and pair them with a variety of wines from Cookology’s full wine bar. “It’s a fun option for the bachelorette party, because you have the social aspect of hanging out, eating, and drinking, but it’s not your typical bar-hopping bachelorette night,” says Reineberg.

Or there’s the southern-style brunch, starting at $59 per person. The party makes and feasts on brie cheese strata with honey-glazed dates, shrimp and grits with roasted red peppers and onions, and cinnamon streusel-topped gingerbread coffee cake.

A big request Reineberg gets from brides is how to make a meal for seasonal entertaining. “If you’re not used to entertaining, there’s nothing that says you have to be stressed about it,” Reineberg says. “The goal is to come up with healthy ideas that are easy to throw together and look elegant, but aren’t super stressful.”

One seasonal entertaining meal includes warm vegetable strudel with romesco sauce, herb-roasted pork loin with fresh fruit compote, and chocolate-dipped French macaroons. Parties can also choose to make their own pasta and sauce from scratch, probably the most popular option yet, says Reineberg.

And if brides want a 30-minute window buffer for out-of-town guests, there’s a mini-cocktail hour option available for $8 more per person. Drinks and appetizers–think champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries—are offered before you start cooking.

There is a ten-guest minimum, but Reineberg has taught groups more than 60 people. Classes are a minimum of two hours. To book a class, call 703-433-1909 or e-mail

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