Central Market, a Texas chain of boutique grocery stores, is beloved by foodies across the state. In addition to a mind-boggling selection of gourmet foods and pantry staples, many Central Market locations also offer classes.
The North Lamar location in Austin has an impressive teaching kitchen in the back and hosts classes almost every night of the week. Choose from demo-style, which typically consists of a chef demonstrating a few dishes and explaining the process, or hands-on classes, where you actively help prep and cook the food. Both options include recipes and lots of sampling.
Whether you’re enrolling as a group or going solo, you can learn how to make Asian dumplings, stuffed pasta, a variety of chicken dishes, a French vegetarian menu, and more. Classes are always rotating in and out with a long list to choose from, so you’ll never get bored. There are classes specifically for couples, ones that teach knife skills, and ones that work with a specific kitchen tool or appliance. Depending on the menu, classes can range from two- to three-hours long and can be reserved online. A waitlist is available for sold-out options.
Faraday’s is a locally-owned and operated kitchen supply store in the Bee Cave suburb of Austin. The storefront includes a sizable teaching kitchen, making it a one-stop-shop. Classes are typically offered on Wednesday nights and weekends and can accommodate up to 16 people. Learn about the instructors on the website, and peruse the options before deciding to sign up for classes focused on everything from Asian sauces to pizza. Authors and guest chefs stop by from time to time offering special classes, too.
Because the classes are on the larger side, it’s a good choice for individual learners. The chefs are pros at demonstrating the recipes and teaching basic techniques, making it easy for beginners to join in. If you’re inspired by the class, then you can pick up a few kitchen items on the way out. The knowledgeable staff will help you navigate their expansive inventory to find what you’re looking for.
If you’re an expert home cook looking to try something different, why not add sushi-making to your skillset? The techniques used when making sushi are unique and fun to learn, even if you already know your way around a kitchen.
Uroko is a sushi counter and classroom for enthusiasts just outside of East Austin. Lessons are offered twice a night on Tuesdays and Thursdays and are taught by chefs Masazumi Saio and Takehiro Asazu. The chefs will walk you through all of the steps of making fresh sushi, including specialized knife skills and rolling techniques.
Classes are limited to six people at a time so they are intimate and hands-on. Fill up a class with friends for a fun night out, or meet some new foodies as you learn a new skill. After class, you are invited to enjoy your sushi in the dining room and chat about what you’ve learned. You’ll be wowing guests with homemade sushi rolls in no time.
If dinner dates are starting to sound boring, mix things up with a private cooking class. Gather & Forge is a tight network of Austin chefs available for private dinners, classes, and more. Because each class is set up on a case-by-case basis, they are completely customizable. Want to learn how to make your grandmother’s favorite bolognese? Or recreate the meal from your first date? It’s easy to work with a chef and create the class of your dreams.
Plan a double or triple date, and enjoy learning new knife skills and how to make a luxurious sauce. Or, reserve a chef just for you and your date, with lots of one-on-one learning and quality cooking time. Classes can be as skill-focused or relaxed as you like, with Gather & Forge also offering date night private dinners, events for bigger groups, catering, and personal chef services. It’s sure to be a night you won’t soon forget.
Sometimes you need to shake things up in the workplace, and cooking classes are a way to bring your office closer together with a fun, collaborative activity. East Austin Culinary Studio specializes in these types of events, molding a hands-on course to fit your group.
Led by Chef Amanda, the studio's classes are rooted in connecting her passion for food with nutrition. Everyone will work together to make a few dishes before enjoying the fruits of their labor as a group. The meal is a nice chance to regroup and discuss what you’ve learned with your peers.
Menus feature homemade ramen, gnocchi, and Mexican food, including homemade tortillas and salsas. If you don’t see an option you like, Chef Amanda will create a menu for you. It’s a nice way to spend a long lunch break together, learning something new that’s completely non-work related, while still building the cooperative skills your team needs.
If your child is interested in cooking, then Foodie Kids is an ideal place to feed their passion. The culinary center is dedicated exclusively to teaching kids and teens a variety of kitchen skills. Classes and camps are available for different age groups, with varying lengths—from one-day classes to weekly series—and topics. Whether your child is interested in desserts, international cuisine, Italian food, cakes, or simply learning their way around a kitchen, Foodie Kids has a class for that.
Single-day workshops are offered regularly, with some centered on holiday treats. Class series include Junior Chefs, which runs one night a week for a semester, where kids four to eight learn all of the basics of cooking, making two new dishes every week. The Pro-Style Chef Competition Series, for ages nine through 16, is for kids and teens showing a real interest in the culinary arts—plus, it ends with a fun cooking competition. Foodie Kids also offers drop-in activities during their operating hours, where children can spend a little time decorating a cupcake or making their very own snack.
Make It Sweet is a retail shop that sells baking supplies and offers a number of classes to the public. Most classes take place during the weekend with a few on weeknights, and the list of options is dizzying. Learn the basics with cookie-decorating, bagel, pizza, fondant, or biscuit classes. Or, learn a specific decorating skill, like how to make a geode cake, floral cupcakes, or mirror glaze. Whether you’re preparing for a specific occasion, or simply want to learn a new skill, the Make It Sweet instructors can help.
Classes tend to last three hours with all ingredients and supplies provided, and you’ll leave with some delicious homemade treats to take home. Kids classes are available, and children over the age of eight are allowed in regular classes with a parent or guardian. Sips and Sweets classes are offered from time to time on weeknights, where adults can bring along a beverage of their choice—no kids allowed. You’ll be amazed by how professional your desserts and baked goods will look after just a few short hours.
The Sustainable Food Center aims to connect central Texans with their food sources and provide culinary and nutrition education for all, regardless of financial circumstances. One way to support their endeavors is to schedule a private cooking class.
Accommodating up to 25 people at a time, the center offers a rotating menu of sustainably, locally grown produce and ethically-grown meats. The staff will help you select dishes from a long list of seasonal salads, soups, pastas, mains, and desserts, including Mexican, Italian, and Asian options. Students work together in groups to prep and make dishes with help from instructors. Afterward, you’ll enjoy the meal together, and take home copies of the recipes.
All proceeds go towards offering free services to low-income individuals. Not only will you learn how to make new dishes and enjoy sharing a meal with friends, family, or co-workers, you’ll also support the work of an important organization. The Sustainable Food Center also lends its space to other organizations that offer food classes to the public. Visit their website to see what their schedule looks like.
What Is a Cooking Class?
A cooking class is an in-person event where you can learn various cooking techniques or regional cooking styles from a professional chef. You may choose a cooking class specific to a region, such as French or Italian cooking, or choose one based on a particular technique you'd like to learn, such as desserts, baking, or making items such as pizza or pasta.
How Long Are Cooking Classes?
Most cooking classes have a prep period, followed by the actual cooking process led by a chef. After, you'll sit down and enjoy the meal as a class. Many classes allow you to bring a drink of your choice to enjoy with the meal. Classes last two to four hours, depending on the topic area.
Are There Virtual Options for Cooking Classes?
While the options in this article are focused on in-person classes, some of the companies, such as East Austin Culinary Studio and Make It Sweet, offer online classes as well.
How We Chose the Best Austin Cooking Classes
We looked at a variety of criteria in choosing the best cooking classes, seeking unique ones as well as classes for both beginners and advanced home cooks.
For example, for those advanced home cooks wishing to learn the art of sushi rolls, we chose Uroko. For beginning home cooks, we chose Faraday's Kitchen Store for its basic cooking techniques, and for kids camps and classes, we chose Foodie Kids Culinary Center.