8 Unique Cooking Class Ideas
A cooking class can be an engaging team-building event, party activity, or just a fun thing to do with friends on any given evening. Unlike more casual events, there’s a lot of logistics involved in planning a cooking class. Where will it be? Will you have enough space in the kitchen? Who is going to teach or lead the class? What will you make? If you aren’t going to a traditional cooking school, the possibilities for meals are endless. If you can dream it, you can make it. Check out a few cooking class ideas that will bring out the chef in everyone.
Give everyone a taste of the vegan lifestyle and host a plant-based cooking class. Show everyone just how simple a meat and dairy-free diet can be by guiding them through a recipe that is 100% animal product-free. If you’re dealing with a group of skeptical omnivores, you can ease into veganism by featuring vegan takes on classic comfort food like lasagna or mac ‘n cheese. If you want something more sophisticated, veganize your favorite Mexican or Asian dish (Vietnamese and Indian food is exceptionally easy to make vegan).
This is one of those genius cooking class ideas that allows you to provide inspiration for meatless Monday meals and reduce your carbon footprint in a delicious way. If you’re up for a challenge, make a plant-based dessert, too, and prove that you can make delectable sweets without milk or eggs. VegNews and Six Vegan Sisters are awesome sources for plant-based culinary inspiration. You can find a recipe for just about any of your favorite meals, reimagined as vegan.
2. Pair it with wine
Wine and dine your friends with a wine and food-pairing cooking class. For a guide to the basics of complementing meals with wine, take a look at this article. Your guests will leave not only with a new go-to recipe, but also with some new knowledge about how to best serve food and wine. They will never be stuck on what to order at a restaurant again. You can also pair wine with desserts like chocolate or ice cream to top off the meal.
To keep track of everyone’s glass in all of the cooking chaos, consider purchasing wine glass charms or glass markers to label each glass. You can find charms and other wine accessories at most beverage and home goods stores.
3. Take over a local restaurant or cooking school
If you’re just looking to take a class with friends and have no resources of your own, find an adult-friendly cooking school in your area (like Sur La Table) or a community college, or ask a local restaurant if they are open to showing you how to make their signature dishes. This may work best with a restaurant that is only open for dinner hours, so that you can book a demo before they are open. This option allows you to get some insider knowledge and see the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating your favorite dishes. Alternatively, you can also book a kitchen on Peerspace, the largest marketplace for event venues and production spaces.
4. Go all out
Why stop at one dish? Cook a three-course meal, beginning with a starter, followed by an entree, and ending with a satisfying dessert. This will give everyone a wide variety of cooking experience and lots of leftovers to take home. Consider providing takeout boxes from a party store so you don’t have everyone borrowing your Tupperware. To save on groceries, consider dividing up the ingredients among friends so everyone can pitch in to pay for the meal.
5. Go beyond the food
Complement the cooking instruction and serve up lessons in meal presentation and etiquette, too! Food plating is a bit of an art form, and it all begins with the right canvas (or in this case, plate). Use this guide to teach your guests how to turn the dinner table into an art gallery. And with beautiful food must come impeccable manners. For a quick etiquette review, visit the Spruce. Your guests will gain practical knowledge and a true fine-dining experience, making this one of the most practical cooking class ideas.
6. Transport your taste buds
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with meal ideas. Expand your culinary horizons and feature several dishes from different regions for a culturally diverse meal. Maybe try an appetizer from India, a main dish from Japan, wine from South America, and a dessert from Italy. Tasting new foods is the next best thing next to traveling! To find ingredients, visit local ethnic markets or Cost Plus World Market for a one-stop global food shop.
7. Think outside your home kitchen
You don’t have to have a show-room quality kitchen to host a cooking class. However, hosting a cooking class obviously limits you to using venues with kitchens, but they may be easier to find than you think. Wedding halls and co-op markets often have kitchens available for rent. On Peerspace, you can find cooking class-friendly venues like commercial kitchens, as well as lofts, cafes, and gorgeous historic homes. Just be sure to pay extra attention to the cleaning fees and policies.
8. Go zero waste
Yes it’s possible — you can make a meal without wasting a single scrap of food. Zero waste may seem like an extreme, impractical trend but with some planning, it can be simple. For some rules of thumb for zero waste cooking, check out this helpful article.
To cut down on plastic packaging, hit up your local farmer’s market for any fresh ingredients, and bring reusable produce bags and reusable grocery bags. For dry goods, visit a bulk supermarket where you can purchase things like flour, sugar, and pasta by the pound and scoop them into glass, stainless steel, or plastic canisters. This provides multiple lessons, not just in cooking, but also in sustainability.
Cooking classes are a fun and practical way to have a good time. You don’t have to worry about what food you are going to serve, as food is built into the party! These cooking class ideas can help you make your chef dreams a reality. So gather up your friends or coworkers and your favorite ingredients, and get ready to learn new culinary skills.