Both kids and adults can learn the art of cake decoration within the walls of Sugar 'n Spice. During classes, they fill bags with buttercream icing and pipe flowers, ruffles, and letters on the tops of cakes and cupcakes. Grown-ups can even learn to bake cakes and cake pops for upcoming birthdays, weddings, or mortgage closings. Those wanting to practice their skills at home can pick up the necessary accoutrements at the on-site shop.
When pursuing a culinary degree at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris isn't going to fit into your schedule, there's Sour Flour, a school dedicated solely to the preparation of one of San Francisco's most iconic foods: sourdough. Held in the Mission at La Victoria Bakery, its workshops draw aspiring home bakers fascinated by the serendipitous product of the Bay Area's ambient yeasts. Of course, Sour Flour breads also pop up in baskets at dozens of S.F. restaurants, and can be bought at most markets. But there's nothing more fulfilling than learning to bake your own delicious flatbread, then taking a starter home as a nucleus for loaves of chewy sourdough and excellent pizzas, indefinitely.
Parties that Cook lives up to its name by bringing festive, hands-on cooking classes to you. As a completely mobile operation, the company sets up shop—and cleans up shop—inside homes or rented venues, offering several different classes that lead students through the creation of everything from hors d’oeuvres to a four-course gourmet meal.
Hands On Gourmet
Stephen Gibbs, the head chef and owner of Hands On Gourmet, admits that most of his students don’t walk out of his cooking classes as master chefs. That’s not the point, though. Gibbs aims for his classes to be interactive, memorable, delicious, and, above all—fun. “This is not work,” he says.
During classes, which last about three hours and accommodate anywhere from 10 to 100 people, Gibbs and his chefs help groups create custom dishes ranging from Cuban plates to Italian pasta to cupcakes. Using fresh, seasonal ingredients, groups assemble the meal under the direction of staff chefs, then sit down to leisurely enjoy their creations. Hands On Gourmet hosts classes in its own kitchen, which boasts sweeping views of the Bay, as well as at wineries, restaurants, and private residences around the San Francisco area.