Kristy is a licensed registered dietitian nutritionist and trained culinary professional. She has worked in a variety of settings, including the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Rouge Tomate.
Located in Lincoln Square, the Chopping Block is a recreational cooking school that has been around for over 20 years and promises to teach the “lifestyle” of making food. The educational center's curriculum is structured in a similar way to a professional cooking school, but without the same commitments of time or financial obligation.
With over 12,000 feet of space, the Chopping Block is Chicago’s largest recreational school and includes teaching kitchens, an event space, and a retail space. There are hundreds of cooking classes and private events per month led by over 20 chef-instructors for adults and kids.
Learn basic techniques in the week-long Boot Camp courses or 101 series, or up your barbecue game in the outdoor grilling classroom. You can also host a corporate team-building event, a private cooking party, or spend the day learning how to bake bread. At The Chopping Block, the options are virtually endless.
The school has been the recipient of 16 different awards over the years, including multiple honors for founder and instructor Shelley Young. Become inspired during a culinary course, and then pick up any ingredients and cooking equipment you need on the way out. Don't forget a bottle of wine: their store is a true one-stop-shop.
Nicknamed “The Spoon,” this family-owned culinary shop and teaching space is located in Andersonville.
Founded in 2002, The Spoon is the perfect, relaxed setting for group courses or your next date night. There is a beautiful demonstration kitchen and outdoor patio with a wood-burning pizza oven and outdoor grill. While you're there, you can learn about many of the ingredients used in class, since there is also a rooftop garden.
After 20 to 30 minutes of prepping ingredients, a chef will lead the group through four or five recipes. You can expect to cook as a team for over two hours and enjoy a meal together at the end. And, you can enjoy a glass of wine while doing so, since all classes are BYOB.
Course themes vary from technique-based sessions like pasta workshops and pizza-making to global cuisines such as Indian and Mediterranean. And, at The Spoon, every Friday night is date night, so check out the calendar for its weekly themes.
When you finally make it there, don't forget to book a sitter and pick up a bottle of wine on the way.
For a dinner-party style culinary class that celebrates the convivial part of sharing a meal, The Social Table is an ideal spot for groups who want to get together to cook, eat, learn, and have some fun.
Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, The Social Table is set up with seated dining rooms adjacent to the kitchen, so attendees can prepare a multi-course meal together and then sit down to enjoy what they’ve made with the ambiance of a real dining room (candles and all).
Sign up for open spots on the calendar of public classes, or book a private lesson for a group of up to 12 people. The Social Table is very family-friendly with themed menus like Italian Pasta Night, where you'll learn to make dishes like fresh egg pasta dough, spinach and cheese ravioli with tomato cream sauce, kid-friendly tiramisu, and more.
Other topics include Journey to Morocco, Southern Comfort, Taste of Spain, and Parisian Bistro. And, if you have some young, aspiring chefs in your family, there are special summer camp sessions for teens and pre-teens.
Specially designed to teach kids ages 18 months through teens, The Kids’ Table has two locations: Wicker Park and Lakeview. The space is on a mission to get kids involved in the kitchen at an early age and get in touch with “real food.”
Class commitments are very flexible—there are options to sign up for weekly sessions as part of the Cooking Club for ages 18 months to 10 years that are further broken out into groups by age. You can also buy a package of courses or even register for a drop-in. For the younger groups, parents join their kids for lessons, and for the older ones, parents can drop their children off to learn on their own.
The Kids' Table also offers special events such as themed Family Dinners, where adults and kids can cook together. Plus, there's Kids Nite Out and Teens Nite Out, where children can take a class, have their own fun, and parents get a date night. (It's a win-win).
Looking for something for your little ones to do on those days off from school? Sign them up for The Kids' Table's weekly or day-off camps, where children can spend about half the day in the kitchen, while the remainder is reserved for a craft, movie, or playtime.
If you've always dreamed of turning your home kitchen into a classic French bistro or patisserie, Cook Au Vin is the place for you.
Owner and Chef Vincent Colombet completed his training in Paris but has been living in Chicago since 2004 when he opened Cook Au Vin. He is locally-recognized for his savory crepes, pastries, and bread, and is also the owner of bakery-cafe La Boulangerie.
At Cook Au Vin, you can choose from a classic, French-themed cooking class, a bread-baking course, or a pastry lesson at La Boulangerie. Regular culinary sessions typically last four hours and begin with an aperitif of fresh bread, cheese, and charcuterie before you begin cooking.
Classes are very hands-on and end with a plated dinner in a seated dining area. They're also BYOB. If baking is your interest, you can learn how to make your own bread—French baguette, boule, brioche, and flatbread—from start to finish. You'll spend over three hours crafting a variety of breads, including a “mother” dough starter—a must for serious bakers.
After the bread is baked, you will have a chance to enjoy what you made, paired with an assortment of cheese and charcuterie. And lastly, if sweets are your passion, you can sign up for the pastry class, where you can learn how to make French macarons, eclairs, and more.
Located in Wicker Park, Cooking Fools is an interactive culinary event facility that focuses on international flavors for their global clientele.
Classes available to the public can accommodate 10 to 30 people and range from around $75 to $250. Topics include the art of sushi, making tamales, and a course all about the different varieties of rice.
If you have a hankering for dumplings, there's a lesson for that, where you'll learn to make Tibetan momos, Chinese shumai, pot stickers, Italian gnocchi, Japanese gyoza, and more. Additionally, there's a session all about alternative sauces, where you'll learn how to make condiments like pesto, relish, salsa, chutney, and vegetable coulee.
Like other culinary classrooms, Cooking Fools is BYOB (glassware and ice is provided), and most lessons are held in the evening for around three hours.
If you're looking for a creative gift for a friend or family member, gift cards for public courses are easily available for purchase on their website.
For those who love Indian food, Naveen's Cuisine—located in Wicker Park near Cooking Fools—is a must-try. Founded in 2008, this recreational culinary school specializes in Indian and also Thai cuisine.
Chef-owner Naveen Sachar has had a life-long passion for food. Formally trained as a software engineer, Chef Naveen ended up trading his corporate job for a culinary career. He has since been awarded the 2017 Best Cooking Teacher in Chicago by Expertise and is the author of the cookbook Curry On!
Classes are largely hands-on; however, if you are interested in attending and treating it more like a demonstration, you are welcome to do that, too. Themes include Let's Roll Some Sushi (it's not all Indian food), Chicken Tikka Masala and Roti, Let's Cook Some Korma, and instruction dedicated to specific dietary types such as vegetarian or pescatarian.
While course sizes vary, they usually range from six to 10 people. Lessons cost about $80 unless otherwise disclosed. Naveen’s Cuisine is also available for private events, including corporate team outings, birthday parties, baby showers, and more.
Want to learn to cook Italian food as if you were dining out at your favorite Italian restaurant? Join Chef Dan Bacik on select Mondays where he teaches hands-on culinary lessons from a tavola’s restaurant menu.
Located in the Ukrainian Village, a tavola is known for its pillow-soft gnocchi, and by taking these courses, you can learn how to make them yourself.
Classes can hold 10 to 30 people, begin at 6:30 p,m., and last from two to three hours. Each session features an appetizer, pasta, entrée, and dessert from the restaurant menu. You are invited to watch demonstration-style or participate in hands-on cooking. By the end of the lesson, you'll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor with a sit-down meal together.
At a tavola, you'll learn how to cook restaurant quality food and be able to take your new skills home to your own kitchen. Classes cost $65 per person.
Located in the historic Roscoe Village neighborhood, Give Me Some Sugar offers a vast assortment of pastry classes for all levels.
Whether you want to learn how to decorate cakes and cookies, make donuts, or craft French macarons, there's a course for you. Plus, you can make croissants or chocolate candies if that's what you desire. Other class topics include Bread 101, Buttercream Flowers, Baking with Citrus, and more.
Lessons typically last two- to two-and-a-half hours, and after instructions from a pastry chef, you'll get the opportunity to practice on your own. And, no matter what, you'll be able to take home your creations. If you have dietary restrictions, vegan and gluten-free modifications are available for certain classes—you'll just need to give 48 hours of advanced notice.
Give Me Some Sugar also offers kids' parties, where your little ones can decorate cakes and cupcakes. But they're not the only ones who can have fun: Adults can also book private events at the studio.
What Is a Cooking Class?
A cooking class is an 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-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 The Chopping Block and The Wooden Spoon offer online classes as well. Check with each business, as schedules are often subject to change.
How We Chose the Best Chicago Cooking Classes
We chose the best cooking classes based on a variety of criteria including those that offer regional cooking, specific techniques, and even classes for children.
For example, The Kids’ Camp offers half-day classes for children to learn cooking skills. We chose Coq Au Vin for its focus on bread making. Naveen’s Cuisine was chosen for its focus on Asian cuisine.