In their urban kitchens from San Diego to Seattle, Hipcooks trains budding culinarians to build their own gourmet dishes from scratch. With more regard for cooks' instincts about taste than exacting recipe measurements, the classes are meant to be social learning experiences capped with a shared dinner. And the meals students learn to make are designed with a practical purpose in mind: an attempt to conjure up romance could feature a dinner of mushroom turnovers, pan-seared steak with polenta, and chocolate souffl?, and surprise guests may provoke an emergency menu of honey-pear salad and pistachio-crusted fish. Like a discriminating competitive eater, other courses focus on a specific cuisine. In Una Noche en Espa?a, for example, the chefs produce a wide variety of tapas, while students in Shortcut to Nirvana set the table with spicy curry and vegetarian samosas from the Indian subcontinent.
Located in the historic West Adams neighborhood, Cashmere Bites’ loft-style industrial kitchen stands out from its surroundings thanks to a large, cherry-red door. Inside the modern studio, stainless steel and blond-wood counters support students as they learn to craft satisfying meals during three-hour classes that use local and organic ingredients whenever possible. Sessions typically focus on specified regional cuisines or food for special occasions, such as football Sunday or tomato-fight Saturday. The instructors also host private cooking parties and travel to homes for more intimate lessons.
During the 90-minute techniques class, you and another person will have the rare opportunity to observe a chef in its natural environment as the culinary wizard offers a demonstration on a given subject. Each class concludes with a small tasting at the end, offering a response to the puddles of mouthwater that will have gathered on the floor by that time. Upcoming mini-skills class topics include summer-baking techniques on May 23, offering a solution for cooks long crushed by the quandaries of cobblers, crumbles, and crisps; canning on June 20, to help preserve summertime treats from the advances of time and army ants; and tomatoes on July 25, with tips on sauces, chutneys, preserves, and recipes using the apple's cooler cousin. Groupon users can also apply this deal toward two spots in one of Old Town Cooking School's wine-styles classes ($50) and pay the $24 difference out of pocket.
Founded in 1985, Epicurean gives choppers with any level of chops a hands-on—or a knives-on-and-hands-away— lesson, lead by trained instructors. During Cupcakes Couture III, students create stylish cupcakes, such as chocolate cherry cordial and strawberry with brown sugar crème fraiche icing. For clock-watchers or those trained in the fast-paced world of cup stacking competitions or speed chess, the menu of Jiffy Meals can all be prepared in less than 30 minutes. During the Sauces course, gravy un-clumps and au jus is finally translated (spoiler alert: it means "oh, you!"). Jesse Brune of Food Network's Private Chefs of Beverly Hills leads salad formations during Salad Daze and combines healthy edibles in Fit to Eat. Check out the full schedule of classes here.
Los Angeles Times–featured Spork Online regales members with the recipes for a new vegan meal each month created by sister chefs Heather and Jenny. Set within an elegant, spacious kitchen, the pair of foodsmiths concocts four dishes as they're shot in high definition for foodies to watch any time at their leisure, restraining the urge to nibble computer screens. Gripping included recipes and giggling at the witty repartee, members can craft the recipes as they're prepared in real time. Vegetable-curious members can also peruse the archives of cooking videos past, fashioning healthy vegan meals set around various themes and showcasing glamorous, spotlight-loving produce.