Whether you’re an absolute beginner or already a skilled chef, a cooking class is a great way to hone your skills while having fun and enjoying the company of others. Philadelphia offers classes across the city where you can learn knife skills, Italian cuisine, Asian fare and more. See below for some of the best cooking classes in the city.
Master Chef Joseph Poon has been featured on TV programs like “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “The Tonight Show” for his lively personality and Asian fusion cuisine. His “Wok ‘N Walk Tour of Chinatown,” where he takes you around to all of the top places in Philly’s Chinatown, has been featured on the TV Food Network’s “The Best of…,” but his entertaining and informative hands-on cooking classes are also of note. Each class usually includes a trip to an Asian grocery store to learn about the ingredients used before trying your hand at dim sum, Asian stir fry or sushi making.
Christina Dimacali is behind Clean Your Plate, a cooking instructional school located in Northern Liberties. Class sizes are typically small – six to eight students – and usually sell out, so be sure to sign up early and keep checking the schedule, as new classes are often added. Dimacali offers holiday-based classes (holiday desserts and Thanksgiving side dishes, just as an example) and there are many classes that’ll teach you how to cook ethnic food (Spanish, Cuban, Indian, French). Couple classes and knife skills classes are also available. Dimacali also offers cooking parties and private lessons.
Cook is a 16-seat demonstration and interactive kitchen where a different chef comes in every night and demonstrates their skills while cooking a meal for you to enjoy. It gives you the perfect opportunity to learn all you can from the best Philly chefs. Upcoming classes include “Make-Ahead New Year’s Day Brunch with Peter Scarola of R2L,” “Vegan Gluten-Free Baking with Christina Martin, Culinary Instructor” and “Hands-On Tamale and Empanada Making with Diana Sabater of the Kitche Barrio.” Evening classes include wine. Classes fill up quickly, so register early.
La Cucina at the Market
310 S. 48th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19143
La Cucina at the Market is the brainchild of Anna Maria Floria, a Philadelphia native who grew up surrounded by Italian culture and food. As an Italian language instructor, she came up with the idea of combining her love for language and cooking and offered her first cooking class in in 2008. Some classes include “Handmade Pasta: Easy as 1, 2, 3,” “Fish without Fear” and date night classes, where you can prepare a six-course meal with your partner (Tuscan style, for instance) while enjoying sparkling wine. La Cucina at the Market also hosts private parties and is the perfect bachelorette bar-hopping party alternative.
The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College
4207 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College may be known for producing some of the finest chefs in the country, but the school also offers classes through its community education program for the cooking enthusiasts. Here, both the beginner and more advanced chef can learn something new when it comes to culinary and pastry arts. The school hosts one-day workshops (best of Italy, best of France, Spanish tapas, etc.) along with six- and four-week courses. Its most popular course is the six-week Introduction to Culinary Arts. If you’re more interested in baking, try out Introduction to Pastry Arts, where you learn how to bake breads, muffins and other desserts.
Kelly Neilson is a freelance writer living and working in Philadelphia. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.