Cousins Tanya and Sonya Rao are on a mission to introduce southern Indian vegetarian cuisine to adventurous students. The duo teaches students how to prepare traditional vegetarian dishes that are quintessential to southern India. Regional spices are the centerpiece of each recipe; they serve as the cooking lesson backdrop. Tanya and Sonya travel to participants’ homes for three-hour cooking sessions. Students receive hands-on cooking experience along with a meal. Standout dishes like puliyogare (tamarind rice), vangi bath (eggplant rice), mango pachadi (gojju), and aloo bhindi (potato and okra) are favorites among students. Participants also receive a kitchen cabinet makeover—with southern Indian spices—to encourage future cooking of the recipes. Spice Mission cooking lessons are available in New York and San Francisco.
Cook With James
Italian and Spanish cuisines highlight Cook With James cooking classes. Owner and instructor James Stolich takes pride in sharing his food knowledge from various regions of Italy and Spain. Classes such as A Night in Spain, Rustic Vegetarian Italian Cooking, Neapolitan-Style Pizza, and Italian Comfort Dinner are popular amongst participants. Students use seasonal ingredients to make their creative meals. Spanish treats—chorizo (spicy sausage), pimientos del padrón (small peppers usually roasted), paella (rice medley of meats and vegetables), and la quesada pasiega (pudding desert with a cheesecake like texture)—provide students with flavorful options. Italian menu selections, pasta alla bolognese, slow-cooked beef, and handmade ravioli with ricotta are reminiscent of an Italian grandmother’s home cooking. The cooking classes are three-hour sessions and include a four-course meal. Information for cooking classes is available on Cozymeal and Cook With James websites.
Mama Thai Cooking Club
If you ever thought it was impossible to make Thai food healthy—think again. Chef Jirayu Sirirueng-Poeter is transforming the bad reputation surrounding Thai cuisine. When people imagine Thai cuisine, they have thoughts of salty, oily and monosodium glutamate (MSG) laden food in their minds. Mama Thai Cooking Club emphasizes a healthy approach to Thai cooking. Chef Jirayu teaches students there is a correlation between fresh ingredients and quality Thai meals. Within three hours, participants learn how to cook Thai vegetarian and vegan recipes. The recipes are low sodium, contain no MSG and are gluten free. Students enjoy making dishes such as phat si-io (pad si ew), som tom (green papaya salad), mango sticky rice, and panang gai (red curry with coconut milk). Mama Thai Cooking Club classes are available on the company website.
Three continents worth of traveling influenced the cooking lessons at Jordan’s Kitchen. Chef Jordan Schachter takes students through culinary lessons of Californian, Italian, French, Spanish, and Mediterranean cuisines. He provides classes for culinary basics, holiday meal planning, kids, and specialized menus. During Chef Jordan’s classes, students cook in a commercial kitchen. Participants work in groups and create dishes on the assigned menu. Fennel and brown sugar pork tenderloin, seafood paella, and wild mushroom risotto are popular among students. Plan a cooking class with Jordan’s Kitchen website.