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May 18, 2007 01:41 PM

Cooking Classes in SF?

Who is putting on really good cooking classes in SF? I've tried Tante Marie, Williams-Sonoma, and Rogue Chefs in Half Moon Bay. Any other suggestions?

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  1. I recently took a hands-on knife skills class at Sur La Table on Maiden Lane (taught by Mike C.) which was excellent.

    Here are some other options.

    First Class Cooking

    TWO Restaurant (formerly Hawthorne Lane) has Saturday classes

    1. I'm taking a Thai cooking class next month with Kasma Loha-unchit.

      6 Replies
      1. re: DezzerSF

        Kasma's classes are very good. They will leave you cooking Thai that is as good, if not better than the Thai restaurants in SF. I took level one, she focused on ingredient selection and the Thai standards. Only drawback is that she has a pretty stern demeanor, if that matters to you.

        1. re: wanderlust21

          Her classes are very interesting and packed with information. As for stern, well, she is very serious about authenticity and quality. I guess it's a matter of perception. She has some very devoted students, I am one of them, and the food is simply amazing, dishes you will *never* see in restaurants in the US. The camaraderie of the students is also very fun, it is nice to work hard together to make something and to sit down to enjoy the end product with a group of people who are as interested in food as I am.

          1. re: Louise

            Yes, definitely a matter of perception. I didn't mean to knock her, just indicate it is serious and not a class like Tante Marie. So what levels have you attended? I'm curious to know how good the advanced classes are.

            1. re: wanderlust21

              I am an advanced student from way back (< 1998). Currently I am taking Advanced A. This year I have also taken Advanced B and Advanced F. I took D last year but am not sure I have taken C, and am on the wait list for E this fall. Also I took a number of individual Advanced classes, before all these Advanced series got going.

              Several people besides myself have repeated one or more Advanced series. Michael will warn us if we have taken the class before, however I don't mind repeating classes at all. It is hardly a terrible sacrifice to once again eat chicken fat rice and two kinds of chive cakes with black soy sauce.

              I have found her classes uniformly excellent. As we progress, the techniques become more challenging, the ingredients more unusual, and the spicy foods spicier. However there are plenty of yummy non spicy foods as well--kanom krok, an excuse to buy an aebelskiver pan! Also it seems like we make more dishes, perhaps a function of being more comfortable with technique.

              I have not taken any of her intensives or any of her trips, though many in the past few classes have, and discuss having eaten this or that dish, such as roti or sour fish, in Thailand.

              1. re: Louise

                Thanks for the info on the advanced classes. Sounds like the series is worthwhile. I cook very seldomly now, but it's probably worth it just enjoy the food at the end of each class!

          2. re: wanderlust21

            The class has been great so far, I especially like the way we taste test after every ingredient is added. It has helped invaluably, especially with the Thai ingredients I have never cooked with before. Just yesterday I cooked my first two dishes at home: Spicy Basil Chicken (Pad Gkaprow Gai) & Hot and Sour Prawn Soup (Dtom yum Gkoong). They turned out excellent, mostly because of the hands on training we get during class.

            I would agree about her seriousness with authenticity, but she does have a great sense of humor as well! Highly recommended!

        2. Parties That Cook ( is a cooking party/team building company that holds themed cooking classes, I think generally at the Union Square Sur La Table - a friend of mine just went to an "appetizer" cooking class and thought it was really well done.

          1. If you're really attached to SF, then what you've done is great. But there's a new kid in town in the east bay,

            I took a knife sharpening class there that was great.

            4 Replies
            1. re: sailorbuoys

              I've had a gift certificate to First Class Cooking since December an have been unable to get into a class. Everytime I sign up for one it's luck at all. Too bad, I've heard the classes are good...

              1. re: Mr_J

                My friend took a Thai cooking class with Kasma Loha-unchit and had a great time. I hope to take a Sur La Table class one day.

                1. re: honu

                  That reminds me that Saffron Gourmet on Solano in Albany has Persian cooking classes. IIRC, someone on the board took the class and was happy with it ... but no guarantee about that.

                  Also ... there's Kitchen on Fire in Berkely ... here's one report

              2. re: sailorbuoys

                Terry, at Paulding and Co., A Creative Kitchen, teaches great classes in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her summer classes are open for enrollment now.


                As sailorbuoys said, she is located in Emeryville, just over the bridge from SF. She offers a series of classes that she teaches herself, after years of teaching at the Piedmont Adult school. In addition she offers single classes on specific subjects which are taught by a wide range of teachers and local chefs. Check out her website, to see everything she does. She even taught the animators of Ratatouille how to cook!

              3. There's also Laurie's Culinary Camp on Park St in Alameda.