Judging from the title above, you probably think that this list has gone off the rails—but have faith. Casa Italiana is a respected language school in Penn Quarter that offers hands-on cooking classes that highlight the regional cuisines of Italy and the culture and history behind their origins and traditions. Chef Matt Finarelli’s hands-on classes teach each student how to prepare a three-course menu (including recipes) from start to finish, including instruction in the ingredients essential to the different types of Italian cuisine. At the end of class, students enjoy the fruits of their labors and make a few new friends, so even if you can’t boil water, there’s a class for you. Also, if you’re an advanced student, consider taking one of the classes taught in Italian. Mangia, Mangia!
Casa Italiana, 595 1/2 3rd Street NW, Washington, D.C., USA, +1 202 638 1348
Few cooking class venues are as unique or historic as Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital on Capitol Hill, which was a soldiers’ hospital during the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln commissioned the building in 1864; it was completed in 1866 and designed to treat 50 patients in a hospital that was, at the time, state of the art. This historic Italianate landmark was completely restored and opened as a community center in 2011 and offers a range of art, culture, and other programs including recreational cooking classes taught by local chefs and pastry chefs. Depending on the chef and time of year, students can take baking and dessert classes, classes on French cuisine, and Asian cooking classes.