Practice makes perfect when it comes to just about anything, and cooking is no exception. Cookbooks are great resources for learning new techniques and discovering different flavor combinations, and they can teach you a great deal about the history and cuisine of another culture, too. While self-education is always wonderful, getting out in front of a pro and watching them in action is still one of the best ways to learn, especially if there’s a hands-on element. And in a city like New York, there’s no shortage of excellent culinary-focused courses for every interest — whether you want to sharpen your knife skills or impress a date with a three-course meal. While this list just scratches the surface, these eight NYC cooking classes are some of the best.
If you’ve ever dreamt of making your own mozzarella at home, Murray’s Cheese can help you become an expert. You’ll start by sampling different types of pulled curd cheeses like mozzarella and burrata while sipping Murrray’s house wine. Then an expert will guide you through stretching two perfect balls of mozzarella. The in-person class is offered a couple times a week and lasts for about 90 minutes.
There are few things more wonderful than fresh pasta, except for learning to make it at home so you can have it anytime. The owner of Forsythia, Jacob Siwak, moved to Italy to learn the art of pasta making, and now he hosts classes at his Roman-style trattoria. You’ll learn how to make several doughs, shapes and sauces, and the class also includes wine and the restaurant’s pre-fixe menu — think dishes like squash blossoms with polenta and ‘nduja and braised short rib agnolotti.
Not only does having improper knife technique put your precious fingers at risk, but (more importantly) it will also slow you down in the kitchen. ICE’s knife skills class can change that for you. A pro will teach you how to slice, dice and chop quickly and efficiently, sans risk of bloodying your cutting board. The class also includes a section on keeping your knives sharp.
Since it opened, Ace Hotel Brooklyn has hosted some amazing programming, and their upcoming Japanese cooking class series — in partnership with condiment brand Cabi — is one of the best yet. Part one on August 30 is an educational, hands-on soy sauce making class, while part two in January will teach the art of hand-roll sushi. Guests who attend both classes can use the fermented soy sauce they made in part one for part two, but Cabi’s will be provided if you can only attend the home cooking class.
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Sur La Table has a whole lineup of great in-person cooking classes, whether you want to brush up on French cooking or take a bread workshop. But their lineup of date night classes are some of the most fun. Grab a partner and learn to make a full New York steakhouse-style dinner, prepare a Thai feast or cook a three-course meal that highlights wine as an ingredient.
Slow-fermented dough and spicy marinara are just two of the excellent ingredients that make PDA Pizza so good, and they’re revealing some of their secrets during Thursday night pizza making classes. Chef Rob Guimond guides the hands-on workshop where you’ll learn to knead, stretch and top dough to achieve pizza perfection. You’ll get to eat your creations at the end of class and will leave with a dough kit to make two fresh crusts at home.
If you’re curious about how the sausage is made, Dickson’s Farmstand Meats hosts a hands-on class at their Chelsea Market shop that will show you the ropes. After a brief demo, you’ll dive in and learn how to season the sausage meat of your choice, stuff it into casings and link it to take home. The butchering experts will also cover different styles of sausage and techniques, as well as the best cooking methods to use in your kitchen.
There are few things more impressive than a homemade cake, and NY Cake Academy has a ton of different classes to help you hone your skills. But perhaps the most fun is Cake Decorating 101, a class that teaches frosting foundations and techniques like shells, stars, zig-zag and rosettes. The first part of the class teaches the basics, and students get to apply what they’ve learned to their very own buttercream-iced cake during the second half.
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