The low-down on alllllll the various Online Cooking Schools I’ve tried over the past year!
Although I’ve tinkered with Online Cooking schools before, COVID really put it into action! Before the pandemic, I had a year of the MasterClass app under my belt, and avidly watched every reality Food TV show on the mainstream like Top Chef US/CAN and Hell’s Kitchen (I don’t have cable, so no Food Network – thank goodness, or I’d never leave my house!).
The TV shows were mostly ‘watch in awe’ (I’ve since met someone who was on a show, and got a quick glimpse behind the curtain…), as was 90% of the MasterClass App. The other 10%? When a technique or recipe particularly intrigued me (Gordon Ramsay’s Uni Scrambled Eggs, or Thomas Kellers Sous Vide Salmon), to the Kitchen I would go, printed workbook in hand.
It all changed a few weeks into COVID with La Peetch Courageous Cooking School. I had booked everything for my 50th Bday trip to France EXCEPT a week of cooking school for me, myself and I, and was looking at going this Sept. I was hesitating on price, as it meant I had to give up something else to do it, and left it unbooked – THANKFULLY – until the last decision. As I was pondering, the pandemic hit, and businesses all over the world were suddenly ‘pivoting’. And La Peetch was, too. For early admission, they offered a lifetime membership for about 1/4 of the ‘stay a week’ price and I jumped on board.
It turned out to be a fantastic decision. While they were gaining followers and curriculum, they were offering 3-4 classes PER WEEK. My younger daughter and her boyfriend had moved home, meaning there were 6-8 of us about the house every day, and it was the perfect storm to keep everyone well fed while I learned new dishes/techniques, and the kids all played badminton and basketball every day out in the sunshine. Glorious! Even if it did mean a full 3-course dinner by 11am.
The biggest perk of Online Cooking School? For many, you get to cook IN YOUR OWN KITCHEN! With your own tools, stoves, etc. Almost every app or online class has some form of Q/A (although admittedly not all are ‘in the moment’ as you’re cooking). Some come with a community of like-minded foodies. Many can be accessed at your own convenience and within your own timezone. The cons? I can’t immediately think of one!
Browse through the list of ’10 Best Online Cooking Schools & Classes’ that I’ve tried over the past year, and – GO FOR IT! Take one or all 10!
MasterClass has been around for years, and I have signed on/off over many of those years. At this point they have 17 Cooking Courses from a variety of world-renowned and need-to-know Chefs, although some classes are the same Chef (Thomas Keller has 3, I believe Gordon Ramsay may also). AND – happily – more content is being added annually.
In the 6 or so courses I’ve completed, I especially love picking up extra techniques or tips, like Thomas Keller’s Sous Vide Salmon. But the entire Mexican course by Gabriele Camara was also incredible – I’ve cooked my favorite half of that class on a few occasions now!
You can also browse dozens of other subjects you never knew you were interested in, like tennis swings or screenplay writing.
I raved about how I ended up at La Peetch’s Courageous Cooking School above, but there are also amazing reasons I’ve stuck with it. Not only is it run by now TWO Cordon Bleu graduates, one of them also worked as a Sous Chef at a 1-Michelin Star restaurant in Southern France. The amount of expertise is multiplied, AND you can ask questions both live and all week long of both Chefs Makenna Held and Kendall Lane.
The weekly classes are building up into a massive curriculum, which if promises hold, will be more in depth than most in-person Cooking Schools’ full time programs. Add to that the open question format, and interspersed commentary during class where even an off-handed comment for creating chlorophyll purees can add life to your dishes, it’s a win-win.
Want to test them out? Some of their original classes are still on Facebook to try, and they often offer a free class here and there, so if it’s not on Facebook you can surely get updates there. But, trust me – the membership is also worth it if you’re serious about your online learning.
I was bored one day and signed up for YET ANOTHER Lifetime Membership to a Cooking School! LOOL! Is hoarding ‘online learning’ a thing?! Either way, don’t help me – I love it.
While there are fewer Chefs than found on MasterClass App, I love how it goes into the human side of food – the stories, the feelings, the cultural diversity. I’m enjoying it immensely so far, and need to start practicing what I learn. More accessible at $400/life membership, assuming it can continue passionate and personal, and it looks like they’re adding at least 4 more Chefs this year to the 4 they already have.
Instagram is now a place to access Chefs! I’m sure you’ve seen various tips & tricks across Instagram in Stories and video or slidehow posts. Cooking with Fiona is a great one if you love Pasta and creating variety out of your skills. While the classes are on Zoom, you can grab tons of info off her Insagram posts as well.
Live in class? You can ask Q’s – Zoom style! And Fiona always offers to be avail for Q’s after in Instagram DM’s.
To say I’ve been whittling the hours away on the new Clubhouse App would be an understatement. The LIVE audio ‘podcast’ style App is increasingly popular for a reason – the majority of the people in the ‘rooms’ are there to either teach or learn. Often both.
And the knowledge is INSANE. For example, in one of Attilio Borra’s rooms for Food & Beverage Magazine, I was able to ask an Italian 2-Michelin star Chef questions about a sauce I’ve been working on for my Bone Marrow Ravioli recipes. Attilio himself is a WEALTH of information about all things Italian Food, as he riffs off recipe tips like he’s just chatting casually away.
LIVE from Italy, Attilio’s ‘@iloveitaliancooking_’ has been hosting Cooking Classes! Via Clubhouse open audio format, paired with Windows for visual, the classes had a great Q/A feel where your mic could be turned on almost the whole class as you cooked along. I didn’t mind using both once it was set up.
On another occasion I was able to ask a “Dr.” in Fermenting a question about my Fermented Habanero Hot Sauce and it came out BEAUTIFULLY. Many of the ‘Clubhouse’ Chefs also have online classes on their website, and most Clubhouse bio’s are linked to Instagram.
While IN Paris awhile ago, I had an amazing class at La Cuisine Paris. I typically look for a Cooking School when I travel, and I found a class here that was teaching French Sauces. More recently with COVID I’ve signed up for their ONLINE Classes that can be taken from the School to anywhere in the world. I’m sure it’s hard to beat ‘in person’, though, but a nice way to try some schools around the world in these limiting times.
Not only is Jaques Pepin TOTALLY ADORABLE, his ongoing Facebook cooking classes offer a LIFETIME of information from his vast VAST collection of knowledge. Thankfully, his ‘school’ offers what we all need – quick, easy & DELICIOUS.
With more mini-classes in his Facebook Videos feed than I could even scroll through, I think he qualifies as a Cooking ‘School’ right here.
I can’t remember how or where I found these classes, but the twist on them is that they are Appliance based. They are hoping to help the home cook learn to use a particular, technological or newer appliance they might already have in their home or are thinking to purchase.
I took one and definitely learned a few new tips both in using steam ovens in general, and in a unique 5-star Fish recipe!
Near the beginning of COVID I happened upon Mijune Pak‘s Instagram, and having followed her on Canada’s Top Chef as a Judge and knowing she’s a local to Vancouver, I started watching some of her LIVE Instagram videos with various Chefs.
These ‘cook-alongs’ have become extremely popular and even the likes of Thomas Keller and Massimo Bottura have done various Instagram LIVE cooking recipes and techniques on their feeds, essentially making IGTV a cooking school all it’s own.
Some are quick one off classes – can watch and get a tip or two – or sit for the long haul and practice after, watching/pausing etc as often as you like.
Looking for other top Chefs sharing their vast knowledge on IGTV? Check out this article:
While I’ve always been a fan of Top Chef/MasterChef (US/CAN) and Hell’s Kitchen series. In the past I’ve typically just watched for pure entertainment value. More recently, however, I’ve caught the show focusing in on a Chef doing a particular technique or flavor profile and briefly hilighting it – giving me some valuable take-aways. As the Chefs push themselves to gel something, or to make Habaneros an Ice Cream (Thea), or to create unique flavor combinations (Kym), etc., I’m watching for bits I can add into my own repertoire at home.
As a total aside, recently numerous TV Makers & Shakers who have worked on various Gordon Ramsay shows were spilling the tea on Clubhouse! Apparently, they all effused, Gordon Ramsay gets SO involved in supporting and teaching his contestant Chefs during the taping of the show, that when someone STILL didn’t listen or continues to fail, THAT’s when he starts yelling. After editing, we see the yelling, but not the absolute dedication and care he gives every single Chef that comes through his Kitchens. That said, I still wouldn’t last a day LOL.
The Kid found this one – and now we watch it together! We started with these insane 1,000-step Nachoes – and yes, they were worth every step.
I first found Babish myself on Jon Favreau & Roy Choi’s ‘Chef Show‘ on Netflix. He was a guest twice, I believe, and his unique style and voice caught my attention. And, yes, I still make some of the recipes from the ‘Chef Movie’, too!
Have you tried online cooking schools? Any of the above? Other ones?!
Let me know in the comments!