By Randy Yagi
In a city with more 3-star Michelin restaurants than any other city in the country including New York, San Francisco clearly takes great pride in providing exceptional cuisine. Of course, with the City’s long-standing reputation as one of the world’s best and most diverse culinary destinations, it also shouldn’t be a surprise to know that several cooking schools and classes are offered locally to students with a wide range of cooking ability from the novice to the professional. Moreover, many of the best cooking classes are priced so reasonably and instruction is clearly top tier, that it’s a bargain in comparison to many of the finest, most coveted local restaurants. Whether you’re looking to improve your culinary skills or interested in a fun-filled team-building event, here is a look at five of the best cooking classes in San Francisco.
3674 18th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Named the Best Cooking School in San Francisco, 18 Reasons is a community cooking school operated by the owners of the popular, family-owned Bi-Rite Market. Located in the Mission District, the independent non-profit organization offers cooking classes, workshops, social events and private parties and observes the same Core Values of Love, Passion and Integrity as that of the venerable grocery store, a Mission District institution first opened in 1940 and led by brothers Sam and Raph Mogannam. Utilizing both a paid staff and an indispensable group of volunteers, 18 Reasons features a number of cooking classes, including paid classes with member discounts and a free program available to low income communities in the Bay Area known as Cooking Matters. Among past classes have been “Flavors of Spain: Menorca”, “Empanadas” and “Vegetarian Entertaining”. A calendar of upcoming classes and events as well as additional information are available online.
First Class Cooking
1 Bluxome St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
It’s expected to be yet another busy year for First Class Cooking, with classes typically offered five days a week. Once named the Best Cooking Class in San Francisco, First Class Cooking is led by Emily Dellas, who offers standard classes like “Cold Weather Comforts” and “Winter Warm Up” for $75 and held at her “live-work loft” in the SoMa District, just a short walk from the Caltrain station. Additionally, classes are offered that includes a cocktail recipe to the cooking menu for just $10 more and Partner Premium Classes with a certified sommelier or nutritionist are offered for $100. A minimum of eight people is required I order to schedule a private cooking class. A self taught chef, Emily is also available for other services, such as menu consulting and planning private events, including birthdays, showers and team building events.
Hands On Gourmet
2325 Third St., Suite 409
San Francisco, CA 94107
Hands on Gourmet is an exceptional San Francisco cooking school with a perfect rating not only through Yelp but with also a near perfect rating from Google reviewers. Led by Executive Chef Stephen Gibbs, Hands on Gourmet ( also know as H.O.G) offers hand-on cooking classes at its location in the Dogpatch District but also operates as a mobile kitchen, working with several businesses across the Bay Area including wineries, corporate cafes, hotels, restaurants and private residences and can work with groups from 10 people to more than 100. Hands on Gourmet offers custom-designed gourmet event typically lasting about an hour, where a group can choose a menu of their choice, with the hands on cooking lasting from 60-90 minutes. Past guests have offered nothing but superlatives, with comments like “definitely one of the best experiences ever” and “an amazing team building event”.
413 10th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
A perfect rating on Yelp is often hard to come by, particularly in the intensely competitive City of San Francisco. But for more than 14 years, Jordan’s Kitchen has been able to maintain that impressive feat and based upon comments like “incredible!” and “a fun and interactive experience”, the praise has been undeniable and richly deserved. Led by owner-chef Jordan Schachter, Jordan’s Kitchen offers a number of hands-on cooking classes, including some popular selections for kids, as well as team building and cooking parties and private chef services. Sign ups may still be available online for January 2018 classes like “Go Fish” and “Knife Skills: Chop Like a Pro”, in addition to February offerings like “Chef Jordan’s Favorites” and “Be My Valentine”. Jordan’s Kitchen can be found in the southwestern portion of the SoMa District, near popular local businesses like Bar Agricole, Slim’s, the DNA Lounge and the Soma StrEat Food Park.
The Cheese School Of San Francisco
2124 Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA 94110|
Founded in 2006, the Cheese School of San Francisco is described as the only independent institution of its kind in the entire U.S. Located in the heart of the vibrant Mission District, the Cheese School is led by successful entrepreneur and cheese lover extraordinaire Kiri Fisher who offers a number of classes, many of which are priced under $100. Recent classes that sold in advance include “Bold Reds”, a two-hour wine and cheese course, “Best Cheeses of 2017” and “Holiday Cheese and Beer”. Additionally, professional classes will also be presented this spring, like “Opening a Cheese Shop by the Numbers” and “Three-Day Intensive Cheese Education Program, which draws students from all over the world. The Cheese School of San Francisco also offers private events and a gourmet cheese catering service.