We love the Food Network as much as the next Alton Brown superfan, but when it comes time to turn those culinary wonders on the TV screen into tasty, tangible foodstuffs on our own plate, we’re as helpless as Emeril Lagasse without a kitchen, a pantry or a clove of garlic. Sometimes, it pays to seek the help of profes-sionals. Not everyone has the time (or the dough… get it?) to enroll in culinary school, though, so we’ve combed this city for the best one-off cooking courses to push your kitchen skills into Top Chef territory. Looking to grill with gusto or flambé with ferocity? (Pro-tip: save some for us!)
Tighten Your Technique
At Williams-Sonoma’s Green Hills location, free “technique classes” are offered every Sunday, geared toward anyone who’s looking to fine-tune their finesse before fricasseeing their food. Next up? A how-to instructional course for canning one’s own vegetables on Sunday, July 20, followed by a tomato-specific cooking class on July 27.
Whet Your Whistle
Slaving over a stove can be thirsty work. Since a good, stiff drink has been scientifically proven to push chefs into adventurous territory (or is that just something we tell our-selves after the third glass of Merlot?), we recommend enrolling in Home Mixology 101 at the Skillery. Scheduled for July 30, the one-day class will go over the basics of homemade syrups and bitters. (We’ll raise a glass to that.)
Eat a Whole-Some Diet
Want to bake a loaf of homemade bread? Or whip up your own hand-pressed pasta? Or create an organic, healthy version of Chinese take-out? The chefs at Whole Foods dispense the secrets to those culinary masterpieces on a nightly basis, using the store’s own kitchen as a class-room. Courses change on the daily, and each one tends to cover around the $60 mark. That’s a small price to pay for a happy mouth, though.
Chop for Charity
The Second Harvest Food Bank put the finishing touches on a state-of-the-art kitchen earlier this year, meaning aspiring Bobby Flays can get hands-on experience with trained chefs while volunteering for the organization. It’s charitable, informative and free. The food bank’s needs do change every season, though, so make sure to check out the website before showing up with your Cutco knife set.
Diversify Your Dining
Hey, Michael Bolton! Got a case of the Mondays? The Chef and I kicks off every week with a two-hour cooking class, tackling a different style of cuisine every week. Cajun food will be on the agenda for July 28, followed by a rundown of some lip-lickin’ Latin staples — including DIY gua-camole — on August 4. We guarantee the food will be better than Chotckies’ pizza shooters, shrimp poppers, and extreme fajitas.