While many of us fancy ourselves pros in the kitchen, there’s always something new to learn. At these Garden State cooking schools, you’ll learn how to prep, sauté, roast, and even bake your way into the hearts of family and friends. Bring good food, new information, and fun with friends together for a night (or day!) out at one of these culinary hotspots.
Chef Central, Paramus
Named appropriately, Chef Central is THE Jersey cooking school to visit if you’re looking to get your chef game face on. This culinary destination is a mecca for everything that your foodie heart could ever want including hands-on cooking classes for everyone in the family from kids to teens to adults. Learn the art of sushi, what a Parisian would be eating in the spring, or how to recreate a few choice Caribbean dishes without having to book a flight or take time off.
Classic Thyme Cooking School, Westfield
Founded in 1995, owner and Executive Chef David P. Martone may have the most inviting space that you could imagine cooking in. Located in a rustic cottage that could be straight out of the hills of Tuscany, Classic Thyme Cooking School boasts two classrooms where cooking has been “seriously fun” for the past 20 years. You’ll learn everything from culinary basics to Italian dishes in the school’s Italian Boot Camps and even the art of cooking together in couples classes. A night at Classic Thyme is a night out with a professional who will teach you everything about how to excel in the kitchen.
Gaetano’s, Red Bank
Did you know that one of Red Bank’s longest standing restaurants, Gaetano’s, also offers hands-on cooking classes where you can learn the secrets to their made from scratch pastas? Get in on the fun and pick up a few cooking secrets as well. Classes are limited to the first 20 people who sign up and include a three-course meal that can be complimented by any beverage you choose, including California wines from Domenico Winery.
Gourmand Cooking School, Point Pleasant Beach
For an evening of learning, cooking, and of course, eating, Gourmand Cooking School in Point Pleasant Beach is your one-stop-shop. Sign up for any one of the new classes. You can learn how to make tacos and sangria or master key techniques and methods in a 90-minute culinary-essential class. Or create your very own three-hour class where you can delve into a cuisine of your choosing with a private session or with a friend. Either way, your inner chef is sure to emerge.
Hello Chef, Long Branch
Recently opened in Long Branch, Hello Chef brings the best of what you can get from a restaurant, a meal delivery service, a personal chef, and a cooking school. Chef Dan Vogt will give you an up-close look at how to make a dish go from just OK to over-the-top delicious, all in the comfort of your own home.
Our Heirloom Kitchen, Old Bridge
Taking the Monmouth County cooking school scene by storm, Our Heirloom Kitchen is one part cooking school and one part store featuring all of your favorite and soon-to-be-favorite brands, however I digress. Mother-daughter team Judy Rosenblum and Neilly Robinson opened in 2013 and haven’t looked back. Putting together pasta nights with Chef Chris Burgess, an evening with Chef Rob Santello of Pascal & Sabine, and even a sustainable seafood night with Nettuno, a Monmouth County seafood truck that recently made a big splash in the area. Look out for special farm-to-table events as the weather warms up. It’s not to be missed.
The Spice & Tea Exchange, Red Bank
It may be the place where all the chefs and home cooks come to purchase those spices that they just can’t find anywhere else, but this little shop on Monmouth Street is also home to cooking demonstrations from local chefs, for the public to enjoy. The Spice and Tea Exchange lures chefs in with their spices and then gets them to host tasting menu demonstrations. (Sneaky!) We can’t blame them. One of the best parts of the evening will come when you buy all your spices to re-create the dish at home!
Taste and Technique, Fair Haven (pictured at top)
Last year I had the opportunity to visit Taste & Technique, a small cooking school located in the heart of Fair Haven, where owner Carolyn Rue has been bringing chefs from all over the county together to show us home cooks how to get the job done… tastily (is that a word?). Popular chefs including Chef Drew Araneo of Drew’s Bayshore Bistro, Via 45’s Claudette Herring and Lauren Phillips, and local writer and chef (and Jersey Bites contributor), Rachel Weston, are just a few of the regulars you’ll see on the spring class list. It’s an intimate evening where you can get your hands (and the kitchen) dirty, while leaving fully satisfied—and with lots of recipes.