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.
COOK offers an intimate classroom setting with courses taught by chefs from some of Philadelphia’s best restaurants and beyond. Centrally located near Rittenhouse Square, COOK is a bookstore, boutique, and kitchen meant to be a space for food-lovers and knowledge-seekers alike.
There is a myriad of class themes to choose from including, but not limited to, wine classes, mixology, pasta-making classes, vegetarian and vegan cooking, canning and preserving, butchery classes, knife skills, sushi making, food allergy classes, and even some kids classes.
Demonstration-style dinners and hands-on cooking courses are available in the open kitchen with counter-style seating. For the demonstration-style meals, guest chefs will prepare and demo about five courses in front of participants, while explaining what they are doing as they cook and answer questions.
COOK's thoughtful attention to where they source ingredients—pledging to support local sustainable farms—is another draw for amateur chefs. Classes frequently sell out due to high demand, so check the calendar in advance.
Classes occur multiple times per week and are about two hours in length. While the cost varies, it's about $165 for evening dinner classes. Daytime classes are priced lower at around $90 to $115 per class. Wine and other beverages are thoughtfully paired with dinners and are included in the cost.
If you are interested in a group booking, COOK does have the option to host a private event. And, while kids' classes are not the central focus, there are about one-to-two per month, both sweet and savory.
Check out a book and learn to cook in the same place. This may not be the first spot that comes to mind when searching for local cooking classes, but the Free Library of Philadelphia actually has its own designated kitchen space for cooking classes called the Culinary Literacy Center. Its sole purpose is to enhance literacy through food and cooking, and the classes are designed to use cooking as a vehicle for learning.
The Culinary Literacy Center offers over 350 classes a year for both adults and young kids, each running on average two- to two-and-a-half hours. The best part is that many of them are completely free or come with a nominal fee. The programs include a range of topics: knife skills, vegan and vegetarian foods, international cuisine, kids classes, healthy cooking classes taught by registered dietitians, and a series for families. There is also a specific class designed to help those just learning English practice new words while they cook.
The Culinary Literacy Center is an ideal space catered to those looking for free or low-budget educational cooking classes that span all ages. Check their site for upcoming classes.
Best National Chain:
While Williams-Sonoma is recognized for its kitchen and homewares, it also offers regular cooking classes that are affordable and often free. One-hour lessons are technique-based and may focus on the use of a specific piece of cooking equipment, such as cast-iron, the company's signature Green Pan non-stick cookware, or foods from different cultures.
Each course hosts up to eight people and is taught by Williams-Sonoma chefs and culinary specialists. Due to limited space and the short duration of the class, lessons will be more demo-style than hands-on. Guests won't be served a full meal, but these lessons are great for individuals who want to become familiar with some basic cooking skills. And, attendees get 10% off same-day, in-store purchases and may even get a free piece of equipment after taking the class.
Don’t see a topic on the calendar that interests you? No problem. Williams-Sonoma offers an option to customize the content of a class designed just for you (prices vary based on ingredients and duration but are reasonable).
If you want to host a private cooking class at your home, the company has that covered, too. Simply call the store about one month in advance, and you can arrange for a chef to come to your home and teach a private class for you and your friends.
Hudson Table in Philadephia provides the best all-around options for those wanting to pick up some new culinary skills, have some fun while doing it, and share in a communal meal after getting their hands dirty.
Located in the trendy Northern Liberties district at The Piazza, you won’t miss the eye-catching, floor-to-ceiling windows when you walk by. The space features an 18-seat counter in an open kitchen with high-grade, residential cooking equipment, making it easy to replicate everything you learn in class at home.
Hudson Table is ideal if you are looking for something creative to do on date night. There are special Couples Night Out classes with a variety of themes such as Spanish Tapas, Steak Frites, and Night of Romance. All classes are BYOB for beer or wine.
If you're not looking to get your hands dirty, the cooking studio's Plated Dinners are demo-style and include a four-course meal over on select Friday and Saturday evenings. And if you’ve ever imagined what it would be like to be a judge in a real cooking competition, there is a class for that too. Sign up for Hudson Studio's Live 3 Course Chopped-style Chef Competition events where you get to watch two Hudson Table chefs battle as they prepare three courses from a basket of mystery ingredients. Then, you get to taste each course and determine the winner.
Classes at Hudson Studio run for approximately three hours and are held during weeknight evenings and both day and night on weekends. Cooking in teams of four or five, you will get a chance to practice knife skills, learn new cooking techniques, and put together a meal from start-to-finish, ending with a shared meal at a communal table.
If you want to learn how to cook like a real Italian, look no further. Founded in 2008 by an Italian-American chef, La Cucina at the Market offers hands-on classes on knife skills, handmade pasta, Italian brunches, and other homestyle Italian dishes. Learn how to make everything from artisan pizzas to gnocchi.
While the main type of cuisine offered is Italian, the school occasionally offers other course options based around holiday themes like Fat Tuesday. Date night classes are also offered regularly and priced per couple. Most classes run for around three hours and typically include a full meal. For more technique-based classes such as knife skills, snacks will be provided, so you won’t leave hungry. Classes cost on average between $115 and $135 per person.
La Cucina at the Market is also a great venue for booking private parties catered to a group of friends, a bachelorette party, or even a corporate team-building event. Just be aware: There is a minimum of 10 people required for private events.
Best for Professional Learning:
The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College
For those who want to learn like the professionals, The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College offers public community classes, in addition to its professional school programming. With something for everyone, the school's offerings are seemingly limitless.
If you want to hone your kitchen skills, there are several six-week courses in the culinary arts, pastry, and bread-baking that consist of one two-and-a-half-hour class per week. If you want to complete them all at once, opt for the one-day intensive: a six-hour "crash course." Some workshops are spread out over two days, for a few hours each day, while others are single workshops such as the Beverage Class, Dim Sum Class, Knife Skills Lesson, or Pasta Class.
Each student who takes a course at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College also gets a take-home recipe book featuring recipes from the class. Most classes are held on weeknights or Saturday afternoons from September through June.
If you are thinking about getting into the industry professionally, there are classes for that, too, including bartending courses, culinary management, and wine tasting courses. Private lessons and Gourmet Team-Building workshops are also available.
Best for Food and Beverage Pairings:
Wine School of Philadelphia
If you love wine, beer, and want to learn how to cook, the centrally located Wine School of Philadelphia is the perfect spot for you. From wine and cheese pairings and beer brewing to more classic cooking classes such as Pasta 101, the culinary classroom at the Wine School offers more than just wine tastings.
Chef Keith Wallace will prepare and walk you through multiple recipes using seasonal ingredients, while a sommelier prepares pairings to go alongside the dishes. As you enjoy the dishes, Chef Wallace will explain why each beverage pairs perfectly with each meal. If beer is your beverage of choice, there are classes on craft beer and cheese pairings, and even chocolate and beer pairings.
Most demonstration classes are about two hours long, and hands-on classes run closer to three hours. While demonstration-style classes don’t involve a lot of hands-on cooking, you are encouraged to ask any questions you have throughout the demonstration to promote an interactive lesson. Tickets sell out far in advance, so joining the mailing list will let you be the first to hear about upcoming classes.
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 Culinary Literacy Center and Wine School of Philadelphia, offer online classes as well.
How We Chose the Best Philadelphia 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 budget prices.
For example, we chose La Cucina at the Market for its Italian cooking classes. We chose Hudson Table for date nights because of its Couples Night Out classes. And for budget pricing, we chose Culinary Literacy Center because of its free and nominal class fees.