Most people sign up for cooking classes to get their hands dirty with hands-on action, and The Pantry doesn’t disappoint. In the cozy but stylish space located in the trendy Ballard neighborhood, students do it all: break down whole chickens, debone their own fish, and make their own ramen noodles. Think of it as a DIY take on an upscale Northwest restaurant. Ingredients all come from local farms and purveyors, and the menu skews inventive and creative, featuring dishes like home-smoked trout crostini with pickled red onion, aioli, and blood orange, and roasted rapini and kale with anchoiade dip and parmesan frico.
After three hours of hands-on cooking in teams, everyone sits at the communal table to enjoy the fruits of their labor with a multicourse meal paired with a glass of wine. The Pantry is all about fostering community, so it’s no surprise it has a lot of fans, but that means classes almost always sell out. Sign up for the email list so you can stay in the loop, and don’t be afraid to take your chances with the waitlist. These are classes worth working your life around.
Hot Stove Society is the educational arm of chef Tom Douglas’s vast Seattle restaurant empire. Located in the Hotel Andra downtown, within blocks of most of his restaurants, the cooking school offers something for everyone and every palate.
Start with the basics, like a knife skills class, or go global with a class on Chinese flat breads. Learn how to roll and pinch through a world of dumplings. Or learn how to make that infamous Triple Coconut Cream Pie from Douglas’s famed Dahlia Bakery. At Hot Stove Society, there’s no shortage of options.
Led by chefs with several years of experience in the restaurant industry, most classes are two hours and start with a welcome glass of beer or wine and a chef demonstration before breaking into a bit of hands-on work in teams. Only have and hour to spare? Try the Lunch Club classes. They’re demo-only, last 60 minutes, and end with a meal.
For anyone visiting Seattle for its cuisine, Pike’s Place Market is a must-stop, offering some of Washington's best local foods. And Eat Seattle Tours offers a selection of curated tours through the best of what the sprawling seaside market has to offer, but the real highlight is the market tours combined with a cooking class.
The three-hour-long classes begin at the SieMatic kitchen showroom just two blocks from the market’s main entrance. There, in the sleek space, you’ll watch the chef demonstrate techniques before getting hands-on with multicourse lunch prep. After enjoying the meal and wine, the chef leads guests on a tour of Pike’s Place where you can get to know the history of this Seattle staple and the vendors who supplied the ingredients for your meal. You’ll even get 10% off any purchases at its vendor partners. Classes are generally held twice a month on Saturdays, and there's a rotating menu. Expect European-inspired classics with a Northwest spin, like crispy chicken with sauteed squash, kale, sun-dried tomatoes, sherry, and pickled shallots.
Although cooking is a great bonding experience with kids, most cooking classes aren’t geared toward families. They’re either strictly for kids, or strictly for adults, but rarely both. To Seattle Cucina, everyone’s welcome—even kids as young as four years old. But for everyone hoping to get busy chopping and stirring, their classes offer a wide range of dishes for all skill levels.
Once you and the kiddos tie on an apron, you might learn to make pie dough for savory smoked salmon tarts, or candied hazelnuts to go in a salad, or maybe even homemade marshmallows to take your cup of cocoa to the next level.
As of April 2021, Seattle Cucina only offers self-guided, online courses starting at $18 per person.
In the lovely, quiet hamlet of Bellevue, just across Lake Washington from Seattle, Whisk Cooks offers intimate, hands-on cooking classes in a sleek, professional setting. The front half of the space is a culinary cookware store, so it’s no surprise to find out that the classroom area is fabulously well-outfitted—to the point where nearly every cooking station has its own four-burner cooktop with a griddle.
Classes are generally two-and-a-half-hours-long and held almost every day of the week in evenings or weekend mornings. Best of all, they’re often geared toward what you crave most—carbs. Dishes include homemade pizza, pasta, layer cakes, rustic breads, French macarons, and pies. Of course, there’s also plenty of other craveable dishes, like steakhouse classics, Thai street food, even sushi. Teachers for the classes have many years of experience and often work in some of the city’s top kitchens, so you know you’ll learn a ton.
Hip Cooks is perfectly situated close to downtown, making it a prime spot to host team-building cooking classes for Seattle’s booming tech industry workers. But you don’t need a team of co-workers or a large gaggle of friends to take part in these three-hour, hands-on classes: Anyone can sign up. And since participants cook in a group, not at individual stations, you’re bound to make new friends.
At the end of class, everyone sits down family-style at the communal table to enjoy the multicourse meal with wine pairings. Classes globe-trot from Indian classics to Spanish tapas, and from Argentina to Brazil and back again. You can take your pick of afternoons and evenings both during the week and on weekends, so there’s something to fit with any schedule.
Back in 2012, Washington was one of the first states to legalize cannabis for recreational use, and eight years later, the industry there is diverse and thriving. Case in point: Mary J. White’s popular cannabis cooking classes.
Located in her West Seattle home just a block from the shore of the Puget Sound, the two-hour classes are limited to small groups of just two to eight people. You’ll learn how to incorporate cannabis into far more than just brownies, with cannabis-infused coconut chicken curry, vinaigrette, and crackers. Other classes cover how to make tinctures, lotions, and pet treats. As required by state law, the classes use high CBD cannabis, rather than THC, which means you don’t have to worry about psychotropic effects. All classes include lunch and sparkling beverages.
What’s better than an intimate, gourmet, uber-French dinner with your significant other? Watching one of Seattle’s most iconic chefs make it for you first. Le Gourmand is the second chapter of famed chef Bruce Naftaly’s culinary career. The pioneer of the city’s farm-to-table movement opened Le Gourmand as a restaurant in 1985, quickly earning high praise and building a legacy for decades to come. When he retired after 27 years, he rebranded Le Gourmand as a cooking class/dining experience in the Urbanata home design showroom in Seattle’s Industrial District.
Since it’s a demo-only class, you’re free to wear your fancy duds and jewelry without worry. Learn from the master, then enjoy a four-course—or sometimes more—dinner of exquisite French cuisine built with Northwest ingredients like celeriac soup with truffles, shrimp mousselines with sorrel sauce, and boeuf á la ficelle with cabernet pressings. Each course comes expertly paired with wines, of course.
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 Hip Cooks and Mary J. White, offer online classes as well.
How We Chose the Best Seattle Cooking Classes
We chose the best cooking classes based on those led by leading chefs, but also those that utilize local ingredients or with unique cooking lessons, such as cannabis cooking.
For example, we chose Le Gourmand because the classes are taught by one of Seattle's most iconic chefs. We chose The Pantry because the ingredients all come from local farms and purveyors. And, for those curious about cannabis cooking, we chose Mary J. White.