DC Area Cooking Classes with Gift Certs
All - Looking for a gift for a foodie in the DC area. I'm thinking that a gift cert to a DC Area Cooking Class would be an excellent gift. I'm willing to spend in the $100-$150 range.
He is a "newer" foodie with vast ranging food tastes, but I would error on the side of a more rookie/beginner cooking style as he hasn't been cooking much on his own - especially with advanced techniques. To that end, a series of classes would be great.
Does anyone have any recommendations?
Hill's Kitchen, right at the Eastern Market Metro stop, has great cooking classes upstairs from their store. Small groups, most are hands-on, some are demos with a bit of class participation.
The people I know who have taken them have loved them! They came away with usable recipes that they wanted to make again, using the techniques they had learned.
The knife skills classes fill up almost as soon as they're listed.
Since this is a small, locally-owned, independent retailer, they'll probably be more than happy to work with you on a gift certificate.
I highly recommend CulinAerie near Thomas Circle. I have taken a few classes and find them to be fun and convenient to get to. Most classes are in the evening or weekends--great for working professionals.
My most recent class was for a food and beer tasting. We cooked dishes and learned about beer pairings from Chef Susan Holt and from the brewmaster/owner of Hook & Ladder. Lots of fun.
1131 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005
L'Academie de Cuisine, with sites in Bethesda and Gaithersburg, is fantastic.
A big focus is their professional school, one of the highest regarded nationally, but they also have a vibrant recreational cooking program, with classes ranging from absolute beginners to seasoned experts.
I took the knife class at L'Academie de Cuisine (Gaithersburg location) and it was really good. The instructor was funny and engaging, and taught everything from pros and cons of certain kinds of knives to cutting boards to vegetables to chicken. The class started with a lecture portion and was followed by practice time for everyone in the kitchen. I'd gladly take classes there again.
I might be too much of a newbie to comment as well, but Lebanese Taverna has cooking classes and that might be a great choice -- not too skill-demanding, transferrable to lots of other Mediterranean/Middle eastern cuisines, etc. Probably easy to take a class then eat off their menu and pull of recipes well.
$60 per person -- so he can bring a friend, take two classes, take one and enjoy two meals...
(the picture looks corny, but there's a video. A friend of my parents who is a great cook did it and loved it.
from their website:
"Class starts with wine and appetizers while you introduce yourselves and get to know your classmates. Then we get to work with the preparation of the menu. Our Chef is a master of his art and he truly enjoys sharing his knowledge and skills. The classes are "full participation" and use the hands-on approach as the best way to teach and get you involved in the cooking process. This one-on-one opportunity to work with the Chef gives the feel for what it is like to prepare the recipes so you can more easily repeat them at home. Class size is controlled so everyone has a chance to participate."
You have to be a little careful with the Sur La Table classes. Each time there were A LOT of people in the class. While it was hands on, which was greatly appreciated, you only got to do every 4th or 5th step because so many people were assigned to a station.
For our pie making class, I was put in a group with 4 additional people. That is just way too many people in my opinion. There were about 25-30 people total. When I got home to try making my first from scratch pie I had a lot of trouble, especially on the steps I didn't personally do.
I personally like small classes....10 people max. It's especially nice if you can make your own pie, roast chicken, souffle etc instead of sharing a station with multiple people. Your teacher can also come around to make sure you are doing things correctly and can answer your questions.
The one nice thing about Sur La Table though is with your class you get a % off of any merchandise in the store that day. I stocked up on a bunch of baking supplies that day and it was about 30% off or something like that.
Just saw in the Post's Sunday Food section that Roberto Donna is starting his classes again, but location TBA since both of his restaurants are closed. I took his Italian grilling class a few years back and it was Awesome! My wife gave me a gift cert for that......