Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), in-person classes may be limited or unavailable. It’s best to call ahead to ensure the availability of classes. For concerns about safety, please consult your primary care physician.
Founded in 1980, the family-run New Orleans School of Cooking is the gold standard for Cajun and Creole-style cooking classes. Instead of simply eating out at a restaurant, learn how classic New Orleans cuisine is made before chowing down.
Courses are offered daily and are restricted to a maximum of 10 students per class, making the experience hands-on and engaging. Demo-style classes are also offered most days, in the morning and afternoon, and private events are available. Menus are posted for each morning and evening class, and fun extras are offered like fresh coffee and a bloody mary bar for brunch and local beer for dinner.
Because the menu changes frequently, you can take a few classes and learn how to make several dishes, including gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish pie, and bananas foster. Book your class early if you want a specific date and time since they tend to fill up. If you don’t like to share your classroom cooktop with a stranger, enroll with a friend or a date. Or, go solo and meet a new cooking buddy. You’re guaranteed to leave full of knowledge about New Orleans cuisine and stuffed with delicious food. Demo classes start at $35.
City Park is more than just a green space. Twice the size of Central Park in New York City, the New Orleans park includes a botanical garden, biking, walking paths, performance spaces, and a golf course. City Park also offers frequent events and classes, including gardening, live music, and culinary demonstrations. Classes tend to last about two hours and feature a few dishes with some hands-on elements. Teachers include chefs and mixologists from around the city, and snacking is encouraged.
Classes cover topics like mixing cocktails, making bread, selecting seafood, and more, and tend to be held in the botanical garden. If you decide to take a class, the unique location allows some courses to use the garden's outdoor oven. Purchase tickets ahead of time, and simply show up for a fun, low-key experience. City Park's offerings are constantly changing, so check the calendar often for new classes. It's a unique way to support the park while learning something new. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for children aged three to 12, and free for children under three.
Best for Experienced:
New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute
As a certified culinary school, the New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute (or NOCHI) offers accelerated culinary arts and pastry programs. But if you aren’t looking to dedicate yourself to cooking full-time, the school also provides enthusiast classes weekday evenings and weekend afternoons.
While these classes are suitable for all skill levels, the professional surroundings, equipment, and chefs make NOCHI especially appealing for experienced cooks. The highly-trained staff can answer all of your questions and show you some more advanced techniques.
Like most New Orleans cooking schools, their classes skew Cajun and Creole, with some basic and more advanced dishes covered. Learn how to make everything from a New Orleans King Cake to gumbo. If you’re looking to try something different, classes covering various cuisines are offered every few weeks, such as pasta-making and cheese-pairing. NOCHI even offers some cocktail-centric courses.
All classes are excellent for small groups, couples, or individuals, and kitchen space is ample.
Best for Date Night:
Casa Pelican B&B and Cooking School
Chef Karen offers intimate classes at the Casa Pelican B&B and Cooking School in lovely Algiers Point. It's a nice escape from the central city, an easy walk, drive, or ferry ride away from the French Quarter.
The kitchen at Casa Pelican has room to work and a large island for prep, but because courses are held in a house, class sizes tend to be small. That means you'll get more one-on-one time with the chef, and everyone in the class will have a chance to contribute to the meal. Classes also tend to last at least four hours, with time spent on every element—including eating. The relaxed atmosphere will give you a chance to enjoy your date and socialize with the other students.
Regularly scheduled classes are typically held in the afternoon and include Cajun and Creole Basics, Louisiana Seafood, and a New Orleans Jazz Brunch. A few classes, including Famous Dishes From New Orleans Restaurants and Cocktail Party, are perfect for bringing a date and can be scheduled upon request. Private, build-your-own-menu classes are also available.
No matter what you choose, you're sure to enjoy wonderful wine pairings since Chef Karen is also a sommelier. Classes start at $100 and increase from there.
The chefs at Langlois are more than just teachers; they're performers. They're as entertaining as they are educational, guiding their classes through culinary history and cooking techniques while occasionally lighting a pan on fire or sabering a bottle of champagne.
With high-end, customizable menus and flexible locations, Langlois is an excellent choice for group events. Whether you are hosting a birthday party, planning a unique bridal shower, or leading a team-building exercise with colleagues, the classes are sure to leave everyone delighted and full.
The Langlois chefs provide a modern, sophisticated take on classic New Orleans dishes while still teaching students how to create those signature flavors. Menus are customizable for private events—notify the staff of any dietary restrictions ahead of time. Classes can be demo-style, hands-on, history-focused, or competition-style.
If you're looking to shake things up in the office, try an "Iron Chef"-style class, where teams compete against each other before chowing down. It's a fun and unique way to bond with co-workers.
Most cooking classes in New Orleans are strictly adults-only, with plenty of wine, beer, and cocktails. The Southern Food & Beverage Museum (SoFAB) offers these types of classes, including Cajun, Creole, and Creole-Italian classes, but they also offer sessions catered to kids and teens.
Little Cooks classes are for kids ages five to six and their parents, focusing on culinary basics and bonding in the kitchen. Young Chef classes, for kids ages seven to 11, help them build kitchen skills like making a roux. Classes are offered twice a month and are an hour-and-a-half long. Kids can choose themes ranging from pie to sushi.
For older kids and teens, SoFAB offers master classes for ages 11 to 14 and culinary camps. These are deep dives into more advanced cooking but are still suitable for total beginners. Culinary camps last for one week and are held throughout the summer, with the occasional camp during winter break.
The half-day camps are available for kids seven to 11 and teens 11 to 14, focusing on nutritional and culinary education, in addition to cooking. Games and, of course, eating make the classes a hit with young foodies. Students can even win prizes as they learn more recipes, including an apron and the chance to choose the following class menu.
SoFAB camp starts at $130 per week for non-members. You'll need to contact the Southern Food & Beverage Museum for Little Cooks pricing.
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 New Orleans Schools of Cooking and the New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute, offer online classes, as well.
How We Chose the Best New Orleans Cooking Classes
We chose the best cooking classes based on a variety of criteria, including those that offer regional cooking, date night options, and even cooking classes for kids.
For example, we chose New Orleans School of Cooking for its New Orleans cooking classes. We chose Casa Pelican B&B and Cooking School for date nights. And for kids' classes, we chose Southern Food & Beverage Museum because of the fun games and snacks.