The biggest challenge at 18 Reasons, a nonprofit community cooking school affiliated with Bi-Rite Market, is just deciding what course to take. The sheer breadth of classes at 18 Reasons can be overwhelming, but with options galore, there's something for everyone.
While 18 Reasons doesn't offer typical high-brow culinary school courses, it does provide two- to four-hour classes that are super applicable to the home cook. Classes on Instant Pot cooking, one-pot meals, fried chicken, and one that teaches you how to make the desserts you've seen on The Great British Bake Off—with volunteer judges choosing their favorite dessert at the end—are all options available at the school. And, everything you make at 18 Reasons will be perfect for posting to your Instagram.
At the same time, you can also feel good about the school's mission, which aims to connect neighbors over food—additionally, the school partners with other organizations to bring free cooking classes to low-income community members.
San Francisco Cooking School is where the pros go to train, so you know you'll be in good hands here. Recreational classes are typically four hours long, and you'll get a lecture and demo, hands-on practice, and a chance to eat with your fellow budding chefs. You don't have to pursue a culinary career, but if you are, the courses at San Francisco Cooking School are great for learning the fundamentals to get you started.
Classes are typically 14 to 16 students and are taught by one chef instructor and one teaching assistant, who will observe and help you with your technique. There are several classes for beginners, including knife skills—and even a class on how to sharpen your knives—fried chicken, sauce and pastry fundamentals, seasonal vegan, and advanced doughs.
Classes start at $20 and increase from there. At San Francisco Cooking School, you'll adequately learn the basics, so it's a great place to start your cooking journey.
Kitchen on Fire offers a few couples' classes in addition to their vast line-up of courses. You’ll work with your partner and learn how to cook four to five delicious dishes, including a decadent dessert.
Classes begin with a lecture detailing the cultural history of the food you'll be making. Then, the instructor discusses tips and tricks while you eat a snack—because cooking while hungry is never a good idea. The atmosphere at Kitchen on Fire is lighthearted and laid back, so there’s no stress in this kitchen.
With couples' classes like A Night in Rome, An Evening in the South of France, and Peruvian Dinner Party, you can take your partner—and your taste buds—on a romantic vacation.
Kitchen on Fire has two locations, so just double-check to determine which location your class is in when you book.
Since 2008, Chef Jordan has been spearheading Jordan's Kitchen. After working as a private chef in San Francisco, he became inspired to teach cooking classes one night while he was cooking for friends. And that's what he's done ever since.
Classes at Jordan’s Kitchen are taught every Friday and feature a four-course menu that rotates weekly, as ingredients are sourced from local farmers' markets. You’ll get your own station, but will work on recipes in teams with other students, so it’s an excellent opportunity to meet some new people. And don’t worry, there’s wine available for purchase, so you'll have that liquid courage available if you need it.
Chef Jordan will patiently answer your questions, teach you lots of valuable tips, and make the four-hour class super entertaining with his wit and humor. Not to mention, the finished dishes are exquisite. Past menus have included dishes like wilted rapini with burrata, scallops with baby fava bean puree, harissa rubbed flat iron steak, and lemon sabayon with lavender sugar.
Whether Michael Pollen’s "Cooked" piqued your interest in homemade sourdough or you’ve always had a soft spot for the tangy, crunchy loaf, San Francisco is the perfect city to get your hands on some dough. After all, the city is known for its sourdough bread.
During Breaducation’s three-hour sourdough class, you’ll learn how to make your own starter and, more importantly, how to keep the finicky dough alive. Additionally, the instructor will teach you how to knead and proof the dough and shape, score, and bake bakery-quality bread. They will also serve up fresh, baked bread along with charcuterie and cheese. In case you'd like a nice glass of red with your bread, Breaducation is BYOB.
At the end of the lesson, you get to take home the loaf you made, along with a bread-proofing basket and your starter, which you can use to hone your sourdough skills. If you're looking for something beyond sourdough bread, Breaducation also offers a pizza class where you learn to create irresistible pies with sourdough crust.
Whether you’re booking a corporate team-building event, hosting a family gathering, or throwing a birthday party, Hands On Gourmet is the ideal location for a group cooking class. Upon entering the space located in Dogpatch, you and your colleagues or friends are instantly put at ease. You’re treated to apps and wine that you can enjoy while gazing at the gorgeous view of the Bay.
After a short lecture and demo, you’re broken up into smaller groups to start cooking, with the instructor and assistants helping along the way. There's a variety of customizable menus to choose from at Hands On Gourmet. Past dish options include sweet potato and eggplant curry, grilled octopus, and chicken tikka masala.
The building can accommodate 10 to 65 guests, and you can determine the flow of your three-hour class. The options are seemingly endless at Hands On Gourmet, making it ideal for bringing together different people with different tastes. Whatever you choose, it’s sure to be a memorable event.
Do you have burning questions about sushi-making? After taking a class at Gochiso Kitchen, you won't have any left. Chef Kyoko is passionate about teaching students her native Japanese cuisine. In her two-hour sushi class, students will learn about the different types of sushi, how to cook and season sushi rice, how to shop for and high-quality prep ingredients, and how to roll sushi.
And since sushi is a gateway to the vast world of Japanese cuisine, you can continue your education by taking one of Gochiso’s Japanese cooking classes, where you can learn how to make dishes like chawanmushi, karaage, and dashi soup.
Classes at Gochiso Kitchen typically last between an hour-and-a-half and two hours. The space prides itself on making it a hands-on experience for you, so only eight people are allowed to sign up for a class at a time. Gochiso Kitchen's cooking classes are ideal for team-building, birthdays, and get-togethers with friends.
If you’re looking for vegetarian dishes beyond salads and veggie burgers, Crimson Kitchen is the perfect place to improve your palate. Indian-born Chef Meghna Agarwal gets you acquainted with some of the many spices used in Indian cooking, and by the end of class, you’ll be a pro at making favorites like paneer tikka and navratan korma. You'll also be introduced to the wide range of Indian spices and learn about regional Indian cuisines. With the chef's comprehensive overview, you'll understand why Indian food is so flavorful.
While the traditional menu includes a chicken dish, you can swap it out for a vegetarian option. Crimson Kitchen offers gluten-free choices as well. Classes are three- to four-hours long and typically host four to six students. The courses are Naan, a light snack, beer, wine, and non-alcoholic drink options. By the end of your lesson, you'll be able to enjoy a full sit-down meal.
If you're hooked on Chef Agarwal's cooking after you've taken her class, she also caters for events and parties.
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 Kitchen on Fire, offer online classes, as well.
How We Chose the Best San Francisco Cooking Classes
We chose the best cooking classes based on a variety of criteria, including those that offer beginner classes, date night options, and even classes for sushi lovers.
For example, we chose San Francisco Cooking School for its hands-on applications for beginners. For date night, we chose Kitchen on Fire for its romantic-themed classes, such as A Night in Rome or Peruvian Dinner Party. And, Gochiso Kitchen was chosen for sushi lovers.