Lifestyle

Get Social…and Get Cooking!

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The holidays make us all ‘foodies” who love to eat – but why not eat and meet new people? If cooking is your “thing” – or even if you can’t boil water – you can pick up some cooking tips, enjoy something delicious, and meet some like-minded food lovers by joining a group cooking class.  You can join an in-person class, or invite a friend or two over and try a Zoom class for another inexpensive social option….and you can dish the dish afterwards!

The options are almost endless. A few minutes online searching for a cooking class with your zip code can yield almost every possible type of food, drink or dessert in almost any type of cuisine.

Finding a Cooking Class

How to find chefs and classes? Easy. Put in the search terms in your favorite browser and add your zip code to see what comes up.

In addition, here are several go-to sites affiliated with national chains or cooking school search aggregators:

  • cozymeal.com: Input your city for a menu of cooking class listings and come-to-your-home private chefs.
  • Surlatable.com: You’ll find a cornucopia of classes, both in-person and online. For something special for New Year’s Eve, some Sur La Table locations hold in-person classes with up to 16 fellow revelers – a fun, sociable way to bring in the New Year!
  • OKChef.org:  In addition to listings of culinary arts schools, there’s plenty for the rest of us. The “Fun Stuff” tab leads you to  vegan, gourmand and baking blogs. It’s worth checking out.
  • Williams Sonoma is another national chain that offers both virtual and on-premises cooking classes. Just check the “Events” tab.
  • Senior Planet Community is your go to place for finding like minded souls who share your interests -whatever they are!

Cooking Class Considerations

Price:  some classes are free – especially those in department stores or speciality shops.  However classes with individual chefs or cooking schools will likely charge (and some can be quite expensive).

Time:  Do you want a one-off, or an ongoing series?

Skill level:  If you can’t boil water, you would be better off with a demonstration class where someone else handles the knives.  It’s smart to ask if the class is right for your skill level before signing up.

Food allergies or preferences:  Naturally, if you have allergies you’d be wise to learn about the ingredients before signing up.  This also goes for certain cuisines or ingredients.  Too spicy?  Too…weird? (Cleaning a squid is not for the faint-hearted.)

Class size and style: Will you be one of ten?  Or one of 25?  Will you be working individually or with a partner?  Is the class hands-on, or a demonstration by the chef that you watch?  And of course…will you sample the results with a nibble for a meal?

Gifting a Class

A gift of a cooking class is a wonderful present for a foodie or wannabe foodie. You can’t wrap this gift in paper, ribbon and bow, but oh! It’s likely to be the most memorable present your giftee will receive this year.

If you really want to go all out, check out this list of the top cooking schools in the US.

Chances are, you’ll find many like-minded souls who relish the chance to meet new people while having fun and adding some new entries in your personal cookbooks.  Bon Appetit!

Nona Aguilar is an award-winning writer of numerous magazine articles and two books. She has also edited four specialty business newsletter publications. Her work has appeared in Ladies Home Journal, Redbook, Family Circle and Cosmopolitan, and in The Business Owner.

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