Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Cucina Migrante at cucinamigrante.com
"Chef Francesco is sure to provide a unique and delicious experience."
Best for Beginners: Hipcooks at hipcooks.com
"Classes tend to be themed around a type of cuisine, such as One Night in Bangkok, Dim Sum and Then Some or Don't Cry For Me, Argentina."
Best Date Night: Cozymeal at cozymeal.com
"Many chefs offer the option to teach in your home kitchen."
Best Group Outing: Harvard Cookin’ Girl at harvardcookingirl.com
"The breezy class space contains two separate kitchens, making it perfect for larger, competitive events."
Best for Kids: Eatsies at eatsieslajolla.com
"Chef Teri’s fun attitude and easy-to-follow instructions are perfect for kids."
Best Splurge: Culinary Hedonism at culinaryhedonism.com
"Every experience is one-of-a-kind, with the number of dishes, skills demonstrated, and menu adjusted to each group."
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Best Overall: Cucina Migrante
Whether you’re on a date, planning a birthday, or just looking to learn some new culinary tricks, Cucina Migrante is sure to provide a unique and delicious experience. Sicilian Chef Francesco tailors his classes to each group, offering small classes priced per person or private classes and parties to suit your event. Most classes are taught in his beautiful Golden Hill craftsman home complete with a giant, rustic dining room table, but you can opt to host a class in your home kitchen, too.
Classes include pasta making, a vegan Italian feast, a Sicilian seafood menu, and a combination guided farmers’ market visit and cooking lesson. Chef Francesco will demonstrate each recipe step-by-step, letting students assist in prepping all of the dishes. A full Italian feast is served at the end including wine, letting you taste the fruits of your labor. He effortlessly adjusts his classes based on the skill level of the students, answering questions, and giving the more skilled cooks more interesting tasks. Novice and experienced cooks will enjoy the experience. Plus, he offers kids’ classes, too.
02 of 06
Best for Beginners: Hipcooks
While most cooking classes are suitable for beginners, taking a class can be intimidating. Hipcooks in North Park takes the pressure off; all you have to do is show up hungry. Classes tend to be themed around a type of cuisine, such as One Night in Bangkok, Dim Sum and Then Some, and Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina. As you can tell from the class titles, the Hipcooks staff is a fun-loving bunch, keeping the classes light but educational. Recipes are provided after class so you can practice at home.
Most classes have you work with other students to make several dishes, which range from roasted butternut squash ravioli with sage brown butter to poached apricots stuffed with mascarpone, depending on the class you take. All types of cooks will enjoy their wide range of classes, but they’re especially fitting for beginners (check out the Cooking 101 for the basics).
When attempting to choose a class, consult their site, which includes detailed menu descriptions and any dietary restrictions. Classes are offered almost every night of the week and can fill up, so sign up for their newsletter or keep an eye on the site around the first of the month when new schedules are posted. Hipcooks also offer waitlists for every class.
03 of 06
Best Date Night: Cozymeal
Cozymeal is a service that pairs local chefs with customers looking for unique dining experiences. Available in most major cities, it offers an impressive line-up of options for San Diego. You can book a cooking class, private dinner, or event with just a few clicks. Classes are listed by topic and feature choices including gnocchi, sushi, bread, and more, with detailed descriptions of the menu. Pick your lesson by chef, how many people are already enrolled, and by location. There are even chef bios and reviews available from other Cozymeal users. It’s an appealing option for food lovers that like to shop around since you’ll get an idea of what the class is like before signing up.
Many of the cooking classes offered are ideal for couples. There's a seemingly endless number of class options, so there’s something to fit every palate, diet, and skill level. Whether you choose to take a class with others for a more social experience or book a private lesson, it’s sure to be a fun night out. Or, for a unique night in, have the class come to you. Some chefs offer the option to teach in your home kitchen—look for the “My Place” option in the dropdown. It’s a great idea for a double or triple date, too.
04 of 06
Best Group Outing: Harvard Cookin’ Girl
Located in La Jolla, Harvard Cookin’ Girl will work with you to create the perfect class. Looking to plan a corporate team-building outing? Try an "Iron Chef"-style cooking competition, with light instruction, lots of fun, and plenty to eat. It’ll have your co-workers laughing and learning, not to mention enjoying delicious food. Throwing a children’s birthday party? Let their staff put together a hands-on pizza party or a competitive cupcake class, all treats included. Whatever your event or desired skill level, Bibi at Harvard Cookin’ Girl will come up with a class that's suited for your needs.
The breezy class space contains two separate kitchens, making it perfect for larger, competitive events, as well as smaller, more intimate experiences. There’s plenty of space for enjoying your dishes afterward, blowing out a few candles, or raising a toast. Dietary restrictions are no problem, since the staff will work with you to develop a unique menu. Dishes can be tailored to address your skill level and any special tricks you’d like to learn. Since classes are so customized, book early to ensure you get the date you want.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Best for Kids: Eatsies
Chef Teri of Eatsies hosts custom classes for small groups in her La Jolla home. The three-hour classes can accommodate up to four people and are priced per class, making the experience very affordable if you fill up a class with three or four hungry kids or teens. She’ll also bring the class to you, packing up the ingredients, tools, and recipes, and hosting as many people as you’d like. Her fun attitude and easy-to-follow instructions are perfect for kids, whether it’s for a casual Saturday afternoon cooking lesson or a birthday party.
Sample menus are available on her website, featuring dishes like chocolate lava cakes, Pad Thai with rice noodles and chicken, and homemade grilled flatbreads. Whether it’s a winter soup class, a dessert party, an all appetizers, or a beginner’s course, Teri is sure to put together a menu that will delight your kids. If your little ones want to dive deeper into culinary education, she also offers cooking camps for kids and teens, often available in the summertime.
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Best Splurge: Culinary Hedonism
Peter Calley has been teaching professionally for almost a decade, and his depth of culinary knowledge shows in his custom classes. Every experience is one-of-a-kind, with the number of dishes, skills demonstrated, level of hands-on prep, and menu adjusted to each group. Whether it’s an in-depth, intimate class for two, a group of friends learning a few tips while sipping wine, or one stop on a bachelorette party, Culinary Hedonism will make sure the experience is memorable.
All classes are taught in your home kitchen, with the chef bringing all the necessary tools, ingredients, and even handling clean-up afterwards. Because Chef Peter has many years of experience and a vast knowledge of different cuisines, let your imagination run wild when planning your class. Beginners will enjoy following along as the chef makes each course, helping with prep as little or as much as they like. More experienced cooks are free to ask in-depth questions, and learn specific new skills. Everyone will enjoy the gourmet cooking experience—almost as much as they’ll enjoy eating it.