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Cooking Classes in SF

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I am thinking of giving a gift certificate for cooking classes to my girl friend who has recently gotten interested in cooking. Looking for good recommendations for cooking classes in SF. Cuisine wise it would be great to focus on California cuisine, seafood, or vegetarian cooking.
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  1. http://www.tantemarie.com

    1. I got a gift certificate once for a class at the California Culinary Academy, and I really enjoyed it. They have a whole range of classes, from more "basics-oriented" classes (like knife skills or basic sauces) to classes in specific cuisines, so your girlfriend would have a wide variety of choices.

      When the classes are over, each class contributes what they made for a huge buffet spread for all the students, which was surprisingly good and gave everyone a chance to mingle and find out more about what each class learned.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        My wife and I enjoyed CCA classes as well. You can tell everyone there had a great time. And the all the food...wow!

      2. First Class Cooking (www.firstclasscooking.com) is a great option for beginning and intermediate chefs. The groups are small and the atmosphere is really low-key. I never felt intimidated, asked lots of questions, and came away with some great recipes that I've duplicated for friends. Although I took an ethnicy class, the monthly schedule leans Californian and really focuses on fresh produce. Basic classes are $45 per session (an evening or afternoon), but some cocktail and wine pairing classes are a bit more. I'm certain gift certificates are available.

        Hope you consider this; I'd definitely do it again!

        1. Tante Marie is the best. But for a little less money Draegers has some good classes too. They offer demos and hands on classes. Not in the city, but they have nice facility in San Mateo and Menlo Park.

          http://www.draegers.com/

          1. Sur La Table offers classes as well. Be sure to read the details though as some classes are hands on and others are demonstrations only.

            1. Just an update - I did buy the gift certificate for a Vietnamese Cooking class at Tante Marie for my girl friend and attended the class with her recently. She liked it but I was kind-of disappointed b'cos it turned out that Tante Marie does a cooking demo and not a real hands-on cooking class where you get to cook. So, the way this plays is that the whole class (about 20-25 folks in our case) sit around and watch the chef talk and prepare stuff over 1.5-2 hours. The chef does ask for volunteers from time to time and few people got some hands-on experience. I guess I need to get better at reading the fine print, because my expectations was that in a cooking class you get to cook under supervision and that's how you learn. The plus side was that we got to taste the stuff, watch it being prepared, and got to take home the recipes and our notes from the demo/instruction. The downside was that we didn't get any hands-on experience and we will see how it turns out when we try at home.

              3 Replies
              1. re: zk_don

                I've had a girft certificate for First Class Cooking that my fiance got me for Christmas and have been unable to get classes 3 times now due to them being full, even though I've tried to sign up as soon as I get the schedule. I'd try CCA or Tante Marie.

                1. re: zk_don

                  Thanks for reporting back.

                  What's great about CCA is that they use the classrooms and equipment they use for their regular students. I took a pastry making class there and we each had our own stand mixer and plenty of work space on the stainless steel counters, so we each got to make all the recipes from start to finish.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Unfortunately the CCA just ended their weekend gourmet program where you could take 1-day classes. :-( We were signed up for one on May 5th and just got reimbursement checks in the mail!