When you’re not hangry and in a hurry, cooking can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience. Even more so when you’re learning a new technique to add to your culinary repertoire.
Whether you’re a seasoned home chef or a newbie with a knife, it’s easy to find a cooking class that suits your tastes. Most classes cater to all skill levels and each of the schools have a wide curriculum, so the world is your oyster. The best part? You get to eat or take home what you make, often paired with wine or cocktails.
If you’re looking for an enriching way to spend the day or a unique idea for date night, try taking a class at one of these 12 spots around the DMV.
You can learn pretty much anything your heart desires at this hands-on cooking school in Sterling. The how-to series breaks down techniques like shucking oysters and using a pressure cooker; bootcamps focus on broader concepts like baking and knife skills; date night and social classes cover celebratory meals like homemade pizza or sushi platters. You can also try specialty skills like cake decorating or soufflé making. Cookology is opening a new location in Ballston this fall.
Cost: Adult classes start at $45 per person.
21100 Dulles Town Circle, Sterling, VA
Culinaerie offers a vast array of interactive classes, from date night to beginner basics. You and your sweetie can have a romantic taste of Italy, or you can don your chef’s hat and master the art of sauces. Other topics include pastry and dough basics, tapas, vegetarian Indian cuisine, brunch favorites, pasta making, and West African street food.
Cost: Classes start at $85 per person.
1131 14th Street NW, Washington, DC
At Culinaria, you can choose whether you’d like to watch the pros at work or try hand at the techniques. Demonstration classes let you see the cooking in action and ask questions, while participation classes give you the reigns. Many of the classes also offer a blend of the two. Choose from genres like couples cooking, healthy dining, regional cuisine, techniques, and more.
Cost: Adult classes start at $70 per person.
110 Pleasant Street NW, Vienna, VA
The Italian Cultural Society offers cooking classes that teach students about the cuisine, dining, history, and language. The hands-on sessions are held in private homes in Chevy Chase or Potomac, where you’ll learn the fundamentals of Italian cooking while sipping wine. You can choose to sign up for a whole session of three classes, or drop in to one class.
Cost: Drop-ins are $85 per class. Sessions are $215 for three classes.
4833 Rugby Avenue, Suite 201, Bethesda, MD
Ever wanted to learn how to make José Andrés’ legendary paella? Jaleo Bethesda shares secrets from the kitchen in their cooking class series. Themes vary from paella to tapas to Tomatina (the Spanish tomato festival). The classes are scheduled regularly—check the website for details on the next available offering.
Cost: Classes are $99 per person.
7271 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda, MD
This Lebanese spot is letting aspiring chefs sit in the hot seat preparing favorites from the restaurant’s menu. Most of the classes focus on basics like hummus, falafel, tahini, and baklava (a great choice for vegetarians). There are also some specialty classes with more elaborate menus featuring kabobs, kibbeh, tabbouleh, leg of lamb, baba ganoush, pilaf, and more.
Cost: Classes are $75 per person.
4400 Old Dominion Drive, Arlington, VA
When this bakery with a cult-like following opened a flagship location in Logan Circle, they added a classroom to host baking classes. Here, you can learn how to make Milk Bar classics like Crack Pie, layered cakes, and truffles. For the cake classes, simply choose a flavor—from birthday to strawberry lemon—and you’ll get to cut and stack the cake and then turn the scraps into truffles. If you want to produce an original creation, sign up for the Milk ID class where you can fully customize each layer of the cake.
Cost: Classes start at $95 per person.
1525 15th Street NW, Washington, DC
Pinched is a hands-on dumpling making class led by husband and wife chef duo Peter Chang and Lisa Chang. You’ll start with a demo focusing on the techniques behind making and wrapping the dough, and then you’ll get to prepare your own meat or vegetarian dumplings. Classes are offered regularly—sign up for the newsletter to be alerted when registration opens. The restaurant plans to offer other classes in the future focusing on different aspects of Chinese cuisine.
Cost: Classes are $40 per person.
4500 East-West Highway, Suite 100, Bethesda, MD
This kitchenware store also offers classes on a variety of subjects. While the exact topics and dates vary by location (North Bethesda, Alexandria, and Arlington are the DMV outposts), you can expect to explore things like macarons and Parisian pastries, cannoli, cuisine from New Orleans, fried chicken, ravioli, grilled steak, pies, and more. Some of the classes even come with freebies like Wüsthof knives and Le Creuset bakeware. There are also shorter how-to classes that highlight specific techniques like brining and carving poultry, making caramel, and perfecting French crêpes.
Cost: Full classes start at $75. How-to classes are $25 per person.
What used to be a prison is now a cultural arts facility that has an array of cooking offerings. While there are many multi-week programs, there are plenty of single day classes on topics ranging from French Indian fusion to cooking with local beer, knife skills, French Vietnamese fusion, bread baking, and one pan cooking. There’s also a date night series offered every third Saturday of the month.
Cost: Adult classes start at $70 for tuition and materials.
9518 Workhouse Way, Lorton, VA
Worth the drive
Head out to Charlottesville for a truly farm-to-table cooking experience. Classes are available year-round at the property’s school, with topics ranging from cooking for a crowd to cocktails and canapes for the holidays. Tickets for each class go quickly, so be sure to register well in advance if you’d like to attend.
Cost: Classes start at $95.
5022 Plank Road, North Garden, VA
Harrimans, the restaurant at this luxurious property, hosts classes every Saturday afternoon in the cooking studio. Themes for the interactive classes include sushi rolling, baking with apples, preparing shellfish, and cooking over a campfire. Reservations can be made by calling 540.326.4070 or emailing email@example.com.
Cost: Classes are $79 per person.
500 North Pendleton Street, Middleburg, VA