Chow Town

The perfect time to take cooking classes

Take a cooking class to learn new kitchen skills, for fun and to spend time with friends.
Take a cooking class to learn new kitchen skills, for fun and to spend time with friends. Special to The Star

You can master making sushi, tamales, risotto or macarons at a local cooking class. If these foods are not for you, do not despair, because there are hundreds of other cooking classes.

Now might be the time to take a taste of the class offerings, but do not delay, for they fill up quickly.

Scan the class schedules and you will find subjects to tantalize anyone’s taste buds. You might learn skills such as baking yeast breads, slicing and dicing efficiently, or working with chocolate.

Or you can learn about specific cuisines such as Thai, French or Indian, or become skilled at preparing fish or baking a pie. Learn to entertain easily, can salsa safely, smoke tender, juicy ribs or decorate photo-ready cookies.

You can gather new recipes for family meals, perfect cooking for an individual with a food allergy or explore vegetarian, gluten-free or vegan dishes. You might take a class by an acclaimed chef and taste restaurant-style meals. If preschoolers or teens want to learn to cook, there are classes for them, too.

Classes for home cooks meet you at your skill level, from basic “how-to” to mastering a specific gourmet dish.

Most of all, you will enjoy it.

Today’s cooking classes are fueled by the desire to have fun, and laughter is served as lavishly as the béchamel or chocolate sauce. Classes entertain as much as teach. Gather your friends for a night out.

A couples class becomes a special date night, complete with wine or cocktails. Co-workers might sign up together for team-building or take a class instead going out for drinks. Tourists now seek a local experience or want to spend time with friends or family while traveling.

Where can you find these classes? Several locations offer cooking classes, and the list below is just a start. If you know of others, please comment, so the list is more complete.

A Thyme for Everything, 229B S.E. Main St., Lee’s Summit, 816-554-3755, www.athymeforeverything.com.

Culinary Center of Kansas City, 7920 Santa Fe Drive, Overland Park, 913-341-4455, www.kcculinary.com.

Dining in Style with Ann Lund, www.dininginstylekc.com.

Johnna Perry, In Johnna’s Kitchen, www.inJohnnasKitchen.com.

Jyoti Mukharji, Jyoti’s Kitchen, The Art of Healthy Indian Cooking, jmukharji@gmail.com.

L’École Culinaire, 310 Ward Parkway, 816-627-0100, www.lecole.edu.

Olive Tree, 4937 W. 119th St., Overland Park, 913-338-27000, www.olivetreekc.com.

Smoke ‘n Fire, 8030 W. 151st St., Overland Park, 913-685-1111 www.smokenfire.com.

There are other locations where you may find cooking classes. Some suggestions:

Several specialty stores that sell kitchen equipment, such as Williams-Sonoma, Le Creuset and Sur la Table, offer classes at some locations.

Grocery stores, including Whole Foods, Hen House, HyVee, and the Merc in Lawrence, offer classes. Topics vary and not all locations offer classes.

Parks and recreation programs, libraries, and adult or community education programs through local schools, junior colleges and universities may have options.

Restaurants occasionally offer classes, and hospitals, clinics, fitness centers and gyms may offer opportunities to learn about healthy eating.

If you read a food blog or have a favorite cookbook author, you may discover the author teaches at local venues. Check the event tab on the blog for information.

When traveling, consider cooking classes on cruise ships and at resorts. You will find cooking classes at cities and countries across the globe, from New York and Chicago to Singapore and from Italy to Ethiopia and Peru.

Check the class schedules often, as the offerings change. Do not be confused by culinary schools that offer career training for professional chefs.

Yes, there are online classes, and while they are tempting, you will miss out on the fun, the camaraderie and the tastes.

Kathy Moore is one of two cookbook authors and food consultants that make up The Electrified Cooks. Her most recent cookbook is The Newlywed Cookbook: Cooking Happily Ever After. She develops the recipes for the “Eating for Life” column for The Kansas City Star and is a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier. She blogs at pluggedintocooking.com.

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