If you want to learn the recipes of Michelin Star chefs, use new ingredients, or learn about foreign cuisine, private cooking tutorials are a great idea.
Superprof’s here to help with what makes a good cooking lesson or private tutorial. By the end of this article, you’ll know everything you need to!
A Brief History of Cooking Classes
Cooking lessons have existed on paper for ages in the form of recipes in cookbooks. You probably remember the massive tomes that your grandmother rarely touched (because she’d already remembered them all).
For those interested in the history of cooking, real professional cookery classes began around the 19th century with cooking or culinary workshops, as well as food competitions (and we don’t mean hot dog eating competitions they have in the United States!).
However, don’t think that Americans don’t know anything about good food! The American chef Julia Child helped bring quality French cuisine to the States with her famous cookbooks. Thanks to her, words like brioche, boeuf bourguignon, and tarte aux pommes are part of the American lexicon.
Nowadays, many chefs whose restaurants have appeared in the Michelin are offering cooking classes to amateur chefs. As you may have guessed, they worked out just how lucrative this could be.
The Different Types of Cooking Classes
There are two main ways to get cooking lessons nowadays:
- Small groups: You can learn to make starters, hot and cold dishes, desserts, and pastries. The cost of these lessons will vary wildly according to the chef’s reputation, how many students there are, etc. If you type “cooking classes” into Google, you’ll see just how much choice you have. There are workshops, evening classes, etc.
- Online cooking classes: In the digital age, there are plenty of interesting cooking classes available over the internet. These lessons can still be interactive as participants can send their questions to the chef who’ll respond to them directly.
You can find plenty of chefs offering cooking lessons tutorials and workshops online through Superprof, too!
In terms of the types of cooking tutorials available, there are quite a few available:
- Cooking lessons with a professional chef: These lessons will help you learn everyday recipes, healthy cooking, and traditional recipes. Of course, when you attend a famous chef’s cooking class, you can’t always guarantee that the famous chef will actually be in attendance.
- Cooking lessons at a workshop: There are a number of centres where you can get lessons for both adults and for kids.
- Vegetarian cooking classes: Thanks to changing tastes and an increasing number of people becoming vegetarian and vegan, you can now find cookery lessons on cooking for vegetarians. There are also cooking lessons for gluten-free diets for those with gluten intolerances or coeliacs.
- Baking lessons: Who hasn’t dreamed of organising afternoon tea with a few petit fours, cakes, and biscuits? Do you love profiteroles, cakes, or rum baba? You can learn how to make them and impress your friends!
If you’re not sure where to learn how to cook, you should check out the cooking tutorials available on Superprof. There are chefs offering different international cooking tutorials like:
- Thai cooking
- Cooking Chinese food
- Italian cuisine
- French cooking
- Sushi and Japanese food
With Superprof, you can learn how to make birthday cakes, Asian pastries, or even a New York cheesecake from scratch with the help of the cooking experts offering tutorials.
The Best Cooking Schools in the Country
If you spend a bit of time doing your research online, you’re bound to find plenty of cooking classes.
Here’s Superprof’s list of the best cooking courses in the country:
University of West London
The University of West London offers a variety of different culinary degrees and diplomas such as the BSc (Hons) in Culinary Arts Management, MA in Food Business Management, Diploma in Chefs Apprenticeship, and Certificate in General Patisserie and Confectionery.
While this university offers a broader range of levels for those wanting to cook professionally, there aren't many options for those who just want to improve their cooking with a hands on demonstration (like a cooking class).
Westminster Kingsway College
This is the college Jamie Oliver attended to get his NVQ and Professional Chef Diploma. Other famous alumni include: Selin Kiazim, Antony Worrall Thompson, Sophie Wright, and Ainsley Harriott.
Their Professional Chef Diploma is the UK's first professional cooking qualification.
There are three main options for students to focus on when they reach their third year of study: cuisine, patisserie and confectionery, or restaurant management.
In addition to the focused pathways available in the third year, students get instruction in butchery and fishmongery, practical cuisine, pâtisserie and bakery, health, safety, and food hygiene, etc.
Tante Marie Culinary Academy
You can find this culinary school in Woking (20 minutes from central London). The main qualification offered is the Cordon Bleu Diploma. Students have been learning how to prepare the finest cuisine since the programme sarted in 1954. This course will cost you between £17,950 and £21,850.
If you're looking for something less serious and just want someone to teach you how to make a tasty homemade dish, there are also cooking classes where a chef will can help you improve your skills.
There are also lessons for kids and teens learning how to cook.
Le Cordon Bleu London
This is a culinary arts, wine and management school that was founded in the early 1930s with a focus on the cooking techniques that were being taught to gourmet French chefs. There are four main culinary arts diplomas offered by the school: cuisine, pâtisserie, boulangerie, and gastronomy and nutrition.
They also offer short courses on various techniques, summer cooking courses London, wine tasting, and cake decorating. These courses can be as short as two hours or as long as three weeks. These could be ideal for amateur chefs who want to get better at preparing pastry or gain some fundamental knife skills (in the kitchen, of course!).
The longer courses (such as the Grand Diplôme) can cost nearly £35,000 for 9 months. This is the kind of course where you will learn the art of cooking, every single technique, and all the cooking methods that the worlds best chefs have mastered. Of course, since you'll learn how to prepare a large variety of dishes, you'll be expected to handle seafood, veal (amongst other meats), and alcohol.
Royal Academy of Culinary Arts
The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts was set up in 1980 and offers a Master of Culinary Arts. This is a highly selective course and only for those with at least 10 years of experience as a chef, pastry chef, or in restaurant management and service. Three of these years need to be at a senior level!
There are also apprenticeships offered by the academy. However, this option is for some very serious chefs.
Don’t worry if you don’t live near any of these places, as you’ll see in a moment, you can learn to cook no matter where you live.
Check out some of the most prestigious cooking institutes in the world.
Learn to Cook without Attending a Course
As we’ve already gone through the various cooking courses for those wanting to study cooking, it’s now time to see the best ways to learn how to cook without having to go to school.
This is how you can learn to cook without having to spend several years studying at a university of cooking school.
Learning to Cook by Watching TV
Have you seen Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares?
This is where the chef Gordon Ramsay gives restaurant owners and chefs a good dressing-down and tells them where they’re going wrong. Of course, this results in arguments, tears, and Gordon Ramsay swearing a lot in order to help them improve. In the end, there’s usually a happy ending as the restaurant improves thanks to Gordon Ramsay’s advice (and probably the fact that he’s gone!).
Another show you should be watching is MasterChef, which was revived back in 2005 and is still on the air! While there’s no actual prize money for the show, those who win tend to go on to own their own restaurants or work in other famous restaurants.
Learn to Cook with Private Tutorials
If you love cooking, Superprof can put you in touch with affordable cooking tutors near you so that you can learn to cook before opening your own famous restaurant. Cooking lessons are also a good idea as a gift for your friends who love cooking.
As you can see, there's a huge range of options for aspiring chefs. If you're a home cook who just wants to make delicious food, get better when using a knife, or gain a greater understanding of the ingredients your cookbook tells you to get, private cooking tutorials are probably the recipe for success.
Having your own private cooking instructor means that you're the only person they have to teach in the class. If you're a vegetarian, vegan, or have any other dietary requirements, your tutor can work around these. When you attend a culinary institute, if they give you a recipe you're not happy to make, you can expect to be shown the door. This won't happen with private tutors.
If you want to focus on roasted vegetables, Mediterranean menus, or the preparation of a certain ingredient, you can look for a tutor who focuses on just that!