If you’re anything like me and Lean Cuisine and a microwave is your idea of a quality home-cooked meal, it’s probably time for you to broaden your horizons. No, I’m not suggesting you should try out to become the Next Food Network Star or throw yourself into the lion’s den also known as Gordon Ramsay’s kitchen, but there are many budget savvy and convenient ways to reinvent your culinary skills.
Move over KFC – your take-home chicken buckets are so last season. From the Balboa Park Food and Wine School in Hillcrest and Great News Cooking School in Pacific Beach, to Kitchen Art Studio in Mira Mesa and Cups in La Jolla, San Diego is home to a wealth of fulfilling cooking schools that offer one-of-a-kind experiences guaranteed to make you top-notch in your own kitchen. With a little help from these trusted San Diego cooking schools and witty restaurants, you'll be hosting your group's next dinner party in no time!
Discover the top culinary schools in San Diego.
Cooking with Class in Mira Mesa
At Cooking with Class, students are able to interact with some of San Diego’s most reputable chefs. All you need is one night to learn a few valuable hints and you’ll be able to impress your friends while entertaining or in your everyday cooking. Located in Mira Mesa, Cooking with Class Cooking School’s gorgeous interior reflects a more comfortable kitchen setting than cooking school atmosphere: The walls are flecked with paintings depicting colorful European street scenes and the dark wood panels will remind you of your own mother’s kitchen. In addition to multi-flat screen TVs for viewing close up cooking demonstrations, the state of the art audio system enables every sizzle, sauté, and slice to be heard. Please visit Cooking With Class for the current cooking class schedule.
Sushi On a Roll in Barrio Logan
Do you want to have a surreal experience, making sushi behind a traditional sushi bar? The intimate yet social atmosphere of SOARbar is a reflection of Chef Jeff Roberto’s expertise in not only the art of sushi making, but also in the art of entertaining. Now located in a new facility, SOARbar, near Petco Park, Sushi on a Roll holds small classes of up to 20 students. SOARbar’s unique circular sushi bar offers students a 360 degree view of each detailed technique and instruction. The circular shape of the bar facilitates a communal and interactive culinary experience, allowing for a fun experience amongst friends, or as a distinctive way to charm new clients. For more information, please visit Sushi on a Roll.
Cups in La Jolla
Cups offers a variety of classes tailored for different audiences in their state-of-the-art teaching kitchen in the heart of downtown La Jolla. Kids can learn the basics in kids-only classes or Mommy- or Daddy-and-Me classes, while the more experienced culinary experts can learn advanced techniques in a collection of other fun and exciting classes. Each of the classes are taught by experienced chefs and cookbook authors including Cups own Jesus Gonzalez (formerly Creative Chef at Rancho La Puerta Spa), as well as a team of experienced pastry chefs. On Sundays from 11 am-2pm, learn how to shop like a chef at the market and cook like one too at the Market-to-Table Class. For $65, participants will join Jesus on a tour of the La Jolla Farmer’s Market and then collectively choose items to purchase from the market to be cooked in the Cups Culinary demo kitchen. For those who have crossed over to the Vegan lifestyle, Cups also offers a hands-on Vegan Cupcake class for $70 where students will prepare batters and frostings for three different vegan cupcakes, bake and decorate. In addition, Cups offers other exciting classes such as Super Sushi, Tea Time Sweets, and Chino Latino Fusion Cuisine. For more details, please visit Cups La Jolla.
The Balboa Park Food and Wine School in Hillcrest
Situated in heart of San Diego’s claim to culture – Balboa Park – the atmosphere of The Balboa Park Food and Wine School is ideal for inspiring artistic expression and fulfilling those insatiable appetites. Located in the House of Hospitality’s Culinary Kitchen which overlooks the Prado Restaurant’s terrace and the beautiful gardens of Balboa Park, Balboa Park Food & Wine School offers observational cooking classes for cooks of all levels of experience, from the knife nicked to the spatula savvy. From sake and hands-on sushi rolling and bountiful brunch and bellinis classes, to classic instruction-style meal pairing wine and cocktail courses, you guaranteed to find everything you’re looking for at this local favorite. For more details, please visit Balboa Park Food & Wine School.
Insider Tip: Settle into the House of Hospitality’s rustic candlelit wine room with hand-stenciled ceilings, vintage wine barrels, and glowing candelabras for one of BPFWS’ wine classes. Each of the wine tasting classes feature informal and open discussions of wine basics, wine & chocolate pairings, or wine & cheese pairings, and include light nibblers of artisan bread and cheeses, gourmet meats, and seasonal fruits to cleanse the palate.
Kitchen Art Studio in Mira Mesa
We serve all people of all ages who are interested in cooking and food education by focusing on fun, informative and creative food courses. Kitchen Art Studio offers a variety of classes for adults such as Yummy Hors D’oeuvres where students will learn to make mini pizzas, pastrami & herb bruschetta, mini Vietnamese fresh spring rolls and caramelized apples on pumpernickel; the Vegetarian Asian Style class which teaches participants how to make Sweet & Sour tofu, Fruity Fried Rice, Asian Slaw, and Traditional Thai Iced Tea; or the Perfect Pastries class which instructs attendees how to bake Prosciutto Twists & Warm Dressed Salad with poached eggs and Chicken Wellington served with cream cheese. Kitchen Art Studio also offers Mommy- or Daddy-and-Me cooking classes on Saturday mornings including Ooey Gooey: Tasty treats Made with Cheese, Petite Sweets, and Bite-Sized Treats. For more information on current and upcoming classes, please visit Kitchen Art Studio.
Insider Tip: Kitchen Art Studio offers a variety of membership programs for all you avid cooking enthusiasts out there. Memberships range between $14.95 and $24.95 per month and offer benefits such as discounts on classes, parties, camps and special events, complimentary guest passes and a cooking apron.
Hive Sushi Lounge in Downtown
Located on the corner of 14th and C St. in downtown San Diego, the unpretentious Hive Sushi Lounge is always bustling with an overly eclectic crowd. From City College students in search of a low-priced late-night snack to business professionals in need of a beer and a bite after a long day at the office, Hive offers a little something for everyone. And if you’ve ever wondered how those mastermind sushi chefs effortlessly whip up their savory creations, you have the chance to find out every week. Every Saturday night, join the friendly staff in Hive’s Nectar Room and “Let the Good Times Roll” with their fun and exciting sushi class. For $35, learn the art of sushi from one of San Diego’s finest chefs where each guest will be taught how to effortlessly create three tasty rolls, four pieces of nigiri, and two hand rolls. The class also includes one domestic beer and one sake sampling, as well as Happy Hour pricing on drinks after the class ends.For more information, please visit Hive Sushi Lounge.
Do It With Icing! in Mira Mesa
For those of you who love sweets and treats, Do It With Icing offers an array of classes perfect for all you aspiring bakers and confectionary artists out there. From Tiered Cakes for Dummies demos and Marshmallow Fondant workshops, to Beginning & Intermediate Cake Decorating classes and Modeling Chocolate 101 courses, you’re bound to acquire almost any and every technique needed for pastry making. Aside from the array of classes, you can also find a depot of baking supplies such as cookie cutters, cake boards, cupcake holders, homemade frostings and fillings, candy molds, sugar sprinkles, cupcake toppers and many, many more things to satisfy whatever your need may be. For more information on current and upcoming classes, please visit Do It With Icing!
Great News Cooking School in Pacific Beach
Located in a massive Vons shopping center off Garnet Avenue, one might easily bypass this quaint little cooking school and supply store. But don’t be so quick to let the small-scale size deter you. Great News boasts dozens of informative and interactive classes such as Japanese Summer Grilling, Tailgate Nation, Trader Joe’s Easy Weeknight Meals, Dark & Rich Chocolate Desserts, Hands-on Sausage Making and many, many more. In addition, Great News also offers a five-class series to learn all the basics of cooking. During Getting Started in the Kitchen, Chef Katherine Emmenegger explores all the cooking techniques needed to get started in the kitchen, including demonstrations and discussions of gadgets and cookware necessary for preparing a wide variety of dishes. The first two class demonstrations include Moist Heat Cooking and Moist Heat Cooking II, followed by Saute, Fry, Stir-Fry. The last two classes of the series will feature Roasting, Broiling, Grilling and The Mother Sauces. Chef Katherine will also review basic kitchen pantry items, herbs, spices, cooking oils, and more. Each class builds on the previous class and by the fifth, you will be cooking with confidence. Registration for all five classes immediately earns you a 10% discount on the $243 class package. For more details, please visit Great News Cooking School.
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