Take a Cooking Class From a Great Chef Online
Are you intimidated by recipes, unsure what a half sheet pan is and terrified to say mirepoix out loud? Or can you stir fry broccoli and prepare a French omelette, both with remarkable skill? According to a new survey by consumer market research firm Hunter, almost 50% of people have been cooking or baking more during the pandemic, and 7 in 10 are finding the joy of cooking rewarding enough to say they’ll keep doing it when it’s over.
Regardless of your culinary comfort, a zest for learning and a good internet connection are all you need to find a place on the web where you can sharpen your skills, stay current on the cuisine du jour and learn to make something you thought you could only eat in a restaurant.
Brush up on the basics—for free
If you’re a self-taught cook, there’s always room to gain tips and tricks to make your life easier. Here are three courses to dig into:
“Complete Knife Skills” on Craftsy – This class shows you how to master the most important tool in the kitchen.
Gordon Ramsay’s “Ultimate Cookery Course” on YouTube – With many millions of views, this video features Chef Ramsay demonstrating basic cooking skills. Sharing a range of techniques and great simple recipes, the chef says his classes are for “the kitchen novice to budding chef.”
“Cooking Tips and Tricks” – This YouTube search can lead you from the perfect egg for a breakfast sandwich to the suggestion to boil noodles directly in a mesh strainer to the foolproof method for peeling a peach. There are so many videos, so many hacks, so many great tips, you may have to use your kitchen timer to keep from spending all night taking it in!
Spice up your weekly menus
Getting creative and trying new recipes on weeknights doesn’t often come easy. If you’re making your old standbys over and over, consider dabbling in an online cooking class and learn new favorites for your weeknight repertoire.
Chicken or fish? Pasta or pad thai? – Cook along in live classes with teachers from retailer Sur La Table. Shop in advance, then prepare the dishes and ask questions as you learn these make-ahead recipes that could become your new staples. These classes update regularly, so check the site for what’s next.
“Weeknight Meals” – America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School is an offshoot of their long-running TV series. You’ll get two recipes with ingredients that may be new to you (za-atar and harissa), but are easy enough for a weeknight. Plus, you’ll get tips on how to be an efficient cook and tools that can help you speed up making dinner.
Learn from seasoned pros
MasterClass – This subscription-based website lets you take prerecorded classes from 16 distinguished chefs and food experts who have reached the pinnacle of their field. Massimo Bottura offers a 14-lesson class on Italian cooking; Alice Waters will teach you to make healthy seasonal meals at home; and Yotam Ottolenghi offers an even more extensive course on Middle Eastern cooking. Watch the trailers and pick your faves. Bonus: There’s a wine appreciation course!
Sprinkle with local flavor
Look up cooking classes in your area. Try searching “cooking classes [your city]” to see what’s around. Take the Social Table in Chicago, which has pivoted to offering Zoom classes, making for an interactive cooking experience where you can ask questions of an expert in real time. You never know—you might be able to take a class from your favorite restaurant!
Add a dash of social
Many chefs and cookbook authors who provide online cooking demos often have robust social media profiles, too. Consider finding inspiration by following someone like Alison Roman, famous for her low-fuss, big-flavor recipes; or Sohla El-Waylly, a riotous online presence and a daring cook. Plus, you’ll often get access to new recipes and absorb new skills just from the short videos they post. Believe it or not, the cooking hashtag on TikTok is a wealth of tips and recipes as well, like this 10-second peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe. Once you get a sense of who and what you like to follow, social platforms will recommend more chefs and bakers that might just be to your taste as well.
Hungry for more?
The above options are just a starter course in a list of options that’s longer than a Cheesecake Factory menu.
NYT Cooking – Renowned for scope and excellent directions, check out the YouTube presence featuring food writers from the New York Times.
The Chef & The Dish – When you’re feeling a bit more indulgent, check out these private classes with chefs from around the world. Direct from Italy, Thailand, Spain and Peru (for starters), the chef comes to your kitchen live on a Skype video call and talks right to you, guiding you through every step of a recipe. Now that’s a tasty idea.
If you’ve got the appetite for it, you can learn to cook (and bake!) online. What are you going to whip up?
Class or program availability may have changed and is subject to change.