Food

15 Cooking Classes You Should Take Now

Want to cook like a pro? There's a class for that.
Culinaria teachers demonstrate a snapper recipe from the famed French Laundry. Photograph by Andrew Propp.
Washingtonian Recommends

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Cookology

Family-friendly courses such as a bake-from-scratch class for kids as young as eight ($45) are complemented by a five-week “culinary boot camp” for those who have always wanted to learn how to butcher a chicken and prepare their own stock ($325).

21100 Dulles Town Cir., Sterling; 703-433-1909.

Creative Kids Kitchen

Arlington mom Andie Nelson launched Creative Kids Kitchen out of her home three years ago, and it’s been there ever since. Children as young as 18 months and as old as 14 learn to plan meals, cook simple recipes, and eat seasonal, fresh foods from the local CSA—community-supported agriculture—program. ($40).

Arlington; 703-664-0922.

Culinaria Cooking School

Founded in 2008 by longtime instructors Stephen Sands and Pete Snaith, this school’s offerings range from knife skills ($75) to courses focusing on the styles and recipes of such chefs as Charlie Trotter and Thomas Keller.

110 Pleasant St., NW, Vienna; 703-865-7920.

CulinAerie

This center offers some of the most varied classes in the area—learn a new style of cooking (we recommend Rupen Rao’s courses on Indian food) or come for date-night fun. Good options for couples include Taste of Charleston, in which you prepare dishes like she-crab soup and chocolate chess pie ($185 for two), and food-and-wine pairings ($195 for two). More experienced cooks can try the 12-week Master Series ($985), which focuses on a new set of techniques each week.

1131 14th St., NW; 202-587-5674.

Del Campo

Chef Victor Albisu is hosting three butchering demonstrations this fall at his downtown DC restaurant, each for around 30 people. The first covers carving and grilling beef, the second lamb, and the third pork. Tickets ($98) get you lunch and recipes.

777 I St., NW; 202-289-7377.

G by Mike Isabella

Each month, a chef or bartender from Isabella’s restaurants leads a demo, usually at G ($55 to $90). This fall, you can learn how to pair Greek wine and Mediterranean bites (September), cook pizza (October, at another Isabella place, Graffiato), and bake holiday pies (November) and cookies (December).

2201 14th St., NW; 202-234-5015.

L’Academie de Cuisine

L’Academie de Cuisine is for those who dream of cooking professionally. Photograph courtesy of L’Academie de Cuisine.

L’Academie’s professional school in Gaithersburg is unmatched in Washington: The six to nine months of kitchen coursework with a 26-week apprenticeship have launched many local chefs. The recreational school in Bethesda has classes for home cooks, including a knife-skills course that will make you master of your Ginsu set ($85).

16006 Industrial Dr., Gaithersburg, 301-670-8670; 5021 Wilson La., Bethesda, 301-986-9490.

Lebanese Taverna

Two or three times a month, the Arlington deli location of this restaurant chain offers lessons in preparing a half dozen seasonal dishes, from beet salad to shrimp kebab ($70). Private classes are also available.

4400 Old Dominion Dr., Arlington; 703-276-8681.

Matt Finarelli

Bring your friends or schedule a one-on-one lesson with Finarelli, who leads in-home cooking courses ($380 for four people). He supplies the ingredients and even the pots, letting you do as much or as little of the cooking as you want.

No phone; finarelli.com.

Mexican Cultural Institute

Pati Jinich, whose PBS cooking show just wrapped up its fourth season, hosts Mexican Table, an annual series of cooking demos. The December 3 finale ($95) explores the styles of northern Mexico and includes recipes and ingredients to take home.

2829 16th St., NW; 202-728-1628.

Open Kitchen

Specializing in custom classes, this space is perfect for events like bridal showers. Sessions covering regional cuisines and seasonal dishes are also available once or twice a month ($79 and up).

7115 Leesburg Pike, Suite 107, Falls Church; 703-942-8148.

Sona Creamery

Now that its creamery has been approved by the District, Sona is offering cheese courses ranging from mozzarella-making to full-day explorations of the dairy vats. Pairing classes, all less than $50, help you find the perfect fromage for that favorite wine or brew.

660 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; 202-758-3556.

Sur la Table

Sur la Table’s lessons may focus on Italian fare one night, Cuban the next. Photograph by Eric Bell.

Try your hand at such French specialties as macarons or croissants ($69 each). The kitchen store’s Arlington and Alexandria locations also offer intro courses as well as classes such as Date Night and Girls Night Out, typically less than $100.

326 King St., Alexandria, 703-535-8294; 1101 S. Joyce St., Suite B-20, Arlington, 703-414-3394.

Thai Basil

Chef Nongkran Daks offers small, hands-on classes at her Chantilly restaurant, teaching how to make traditional Thai dishes such as red-curry chicken ($65).

14511-P Lee Jackson Memorial Hwy., Chantilly; 703-631-8277.

Workhouse Arts Center

The site that was once Lorton prison—which closed in 2001—has become a center for arts and education. Affordable classes ($45 and up) cover regional cuisines and basic kitchen skills as well as more offbeat topics like cooking with beer.

9518 Workhouse Way, Lorton; 703-584-2900.

This article appears in our August 2015 issue of Washingtonian.

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Harrison Smith

Harrison Smith (@harrisondsmith on Twitter) has contributed to the Washington Post and Chicago magazine. He can be reached at [email protected]