Virginia’s southern roots gives us a long-standing culinary heritage. But besides the large-portioned, fried comfort food associated with the south, our proximity to Washington, D.C. grants us flavors from all over the world. Want to explore your own culinary prowess? Consider signing up for one of the following great cooking classes across the Old Dominion.
Culinaria Cooking School was started by owners Stephen P. Sands and Pete Snaith almost 10 years ago to bring their technical know-how to their students. Culinaria offers demonstration and participation format classes, depending on the student’s preference. Categories include baking, couples cooking, kids and teens, healthy dining, regional and ethnic cuisine, skills and techniques, wine and food, and individual topics. Check their website for a full class listing updated for the upcoming term.
Macaron Tart Patisserie in Haymarket, Virginia, is primarily a macaron and tart bakery, but they also offer fantastic cooking classes from Elena Hocking, the head chef. According to their website, “The Baking Classes and Cooking Classes are geared towards the non-professional (amateur or enthusiast) who would like to learn to prepare food the right, fun, and simple way using natural ingredients.” Learn how to make French breakfasts, macarons, country pies, brioche, soups, candy, winter pies, quiche, and much more.
Cookology in Sterling, Virginia, offers a wide range of classes, events, and team building exercises for corporations, adults, and kids. They are partnered with the National Restaurant Associations Education Foundation. Upcoming classes at the time of writing include cake decorating, a weeknight dinner series, and southern fish fry. Rates range depending on length of the lesson and ingredients used.
The Gourmet Pantry and Cooking School in Blacksburg, Virginia, is the New River Valley’s Premiere Cooking School. All of their classes are held in their gourmet kitchen on-site, and include private classes, cooking parties, corporate events, and wine classes. A typical class has 12-14 people in it and covers a range of topics, including French cuisine, vegetarian, sushi-making, knife skills, and cooking for one. Chefs of every skill level are welcome.
For over 35 years, the Happy Cook has taught Charlottesville’s culinary inclined how to cook all different kinds of dishes. Recent classes include Bengali Indian cooking, Willow Tree Pasta Ravioli, cocktails, and pressure cooker cooking. Classes are limited as to how many people can participate, and the cost differs depending on the class. Beverages are almost always provided.
The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia, specializes in all kinds of artistic classes, including ceramics, drawing, glass, music, theatre and, of course, culinary arts. Kid’s classes are regularly offered alongside classes for adults. The topics are wide-ranging, and include Thai-Indian fusion, and learning to become a mixologist, among others. Every third Saturday of the month is “The Chef’s Table,” a date night cooking class geared toward couples.
Chef Matt Finarelli is a Northern Virginia/ Washington, D.C. fixture, and so are his in-home cooking courses. For $380, he’ll come to your home to teach up to four people how to cook some of his favorite dishes. Don’t worry—he’ll provide the ingredients, the pots, the pans, and the conversation. If you’re in the market for a more intimate setting, then consider booking a private, one-on-one lesson, or stick to a small group of two or three.