Advice about Cooking Classes & Camps

Questions & Responses:
Japanese cooking(2 responses)
Culinary school(6 responses)
Archived Responses: 

Cooking Classes for Kids & Teens Cooking Classes for Adults

Cooking Classes for Kids & Teens

Summer baking for teen?

March 2014

Bpn, My 14 year old is interested in baking and cake decorating. She is interested in finding some volunteer apprenticeship around this summer. Any ideas on where to look? I am at a loss. Any leads would be helpful. Thanks.

Check out Tante Marie cooking school in SF. Good classes. Tracy C.

Sprouts, formerly Culinary Kids

July 2011

Our child was underwhelmed with Sprouts, compared to the marketing hype and videos on their website (none of which was experienced by this camper.) There were not as many hands-on experiences, and many were simply watching the adult chefs cook or prepare foods. For those times when they could cook or prepare food, there was no running water or place to wash their hands or the food. When we mentioned this to the camp leader, she suggested we use hand sanitizer (??). Add to that the fact that the camp for 15 students was in a 12' x 10' canopy in the front parking lot of Whole Foods, and you may agree it was a bit less than one might expect for over $400. a week. Also, many simple ingredients such as vanilla for baking, no freezer for making the ''ice cream'' promoted on the schedule and one torch that frequently broke for glazing, and you start to get the picture. A great idea but very poor execution. Great marketing, little follow through in our experience. One Who Likes to Wash

Cooking class for 16yo boy

Oct 2010

Does anyone know of cooking classes in the bay area for teens. My 16yo nephew is very interested in cooking and I'd like to find ways to encourage his efforts. Thanks

Check out Paulding and Company in Emeryville. Terry and her daughter are great cooks and great teachers. They have a lovely teaching kitchen, and I'm pretty sure they run a teen program. Plus they were involved in Pixar's Ratatouille, teaching the animators cooking, which is very cool. You can find them online. Hope he has fun; cooking is a great hobby. Anne

Nutty Cookie Baking Camps

July 2010

My daughter took a summer baking camp at The Nutty Cookie in Emeryville. She had a lot of fun and the teacher to student ratio was very low. They also do kids birthday parties at their bakery that is where we found out about them. Their web site is 510-597-0200 SF

My daughter took a week-long baking class at Nutty Cookie this summer and absolutely loved it. Nutty Cookie is a family-owned wholesale bakery in Emeryville. Each day the children baked at least three items from start to finish and brought home a bountiful supply of their creations (scones, turnovers, muffins, cookies, granola, pizza...). Everything they made was delicious. Two additional highlights of the camp are the small class size (4-6 children) and the teacher (the bakery's owner) who truly cared about the experience for the campers. Abigail

Paulding Summer Cooking Camp

March 2010

We are considering the Paulding cooking summer camp in Emeryville this summer. Any feedback about the quality versus the price would be greatly appreciated. anon

My daughter attended the first year of Paulding and Co.'s Cook! Creative Culinary Camp in Emeryville ( last summer. She had a wonderful time, and we are basically prioritizing all other summer activities around the sessions she wants to complete this summer. The camp is in a professional kitchen (the first season of Top Chef was filmed there), with a knowledgeable, caring staff. In addition to all the cooking the students did every day, the camp also brought in local chefs, including the executive chef at Oliveto and a chocolatier from Valrhona Chocolate, for special classes and demonstrations. While the camp was not inexpensive, I felt that we got a good value, based on the level of skills that my daughter was exposed to, the meals she was fed and the amount of fun that she had there. Claire

Summer cooking class for 16-year-old son

Feb 2010

My son is a sophomore at Berkeley High and will be 16 this summer. He's expressed an interest in taking a cooking class this summer. Any advice on where to look for a teenager? I'd love to find something interesting for him since he's quite the gourmand. thank you!

I think Paulding and Co. in Emeryville has a teen cooking class this summer. They have great instructors and a great kitchen - that has been used in Top Chef and to teach the animators of Ratatouille. Anne

Last summer, my daughter participated in the first year of Paulding and Co.'s Cook! Creative Culinary Camp in Emeryville ( She had a wonderful time, and we are basically prioritizing all other summer activities around the sessions she wants to complete this summer. The camp is in a professional kitchen (the first season of Top Chef was filmed there), with a knowledgeable, caring staff. In addition to all the cooking the students did every day, the camp also brought in local chefs, including the executive chef at Oliveto, for special classes and demonstrations. I am sure your son would be very happy at one of their summer 2010 sessions. Claire

I took some very fun and very inexpensive cooking classes at Albany Adult Ed. School. Sur Le Table on 4th St. offers cooking classes and there is another place that I think is upstairs in the complex that houses the Imperial Tea Garden near Chez Panisse. Bon appetit! kl

Cooking camp for teen

August 2009

We feel privileged to have been a part of the first year of COOK! Creative Culinary Camp at Paulding & Co. My 13 year old daughter participated in the two week session (this year they offered two one-week specialty sessions and two two-week sessions), and every day she could not wait to leave the house to get there, and every day was sad to leave the kitchen. Tracy Paulding had a wonderful manner with the students, and I was astounded with the high level of cooking accomplished in this course. Far from the usual English muffin pizzas taught in kid's cooking classes, the students at COOK! made such things as duck confit, tuna tartare, strawberry shortcake with isomalt sugar, pavlova with passionfruit mango sauce, and the list continues. On top of the great things they made in class, the students met professional Bay Area chefs, and were taken on a back-stage kitchen tour of a major area restaurant. They learned to shop at the farmer's market and to appreciate quality ingredients, and also enjoyed the community service project they performed at the Emeryville Senior Center, serving a lunch of jambalaya to a group of appreciative seniors. Their two weeks culminated in a cooking demonstration and meal for friends and family. I feel the two weeks my daughter spent in the Paulding & Co. kitchen gave her a whole new set of kitchen skills, as well as interest in a possible career path. We are already looking forward to next year's program! Their web site and more information is at Claire

Sprouts Cooking Club experience?

May 2009

Has anyone had prior experience with the Sprouts Cooking Club (formerly known as Culinary Kids)? I am thinking of sending my daughter to their summer cooking day camp. I would love to know what you thought of it. Is it well run? Did your kids have fun? Was there anything you didn't like? Thanks

My daughter participated in the Sunday classes during the winter. She loved it and was sad when the session ended. It was well run and working with real chefs in real restaurant kitchens as a great experience. My daughter learned a lot, ate new foods, and had fun. She unfortunately cannot participate in the summer program because I need full day care for her. -- mom of cooking kid

Summer cooking class for 14-year-old

April 2009

Looking for a summer week long cooking class for 14 yr old. Any recommendations? nedtions? Thanks. Micky

Yes, I know a great local summer culinary camp that my teenager attended. Chef-K offers week long summer camps for youth ages 7 to 18. Teen camp is July 20-24, 2pm-5pm, for Ages 13-18. Go to Chef- for a flyer and more week-long camps. Laurie Zerga is the Director, and she is both solid and fun. My daughter still talks about the skills and recipes she learned at this camp. I am happy to answer any questions you might have. Louise

Cooking class for 13-year-old

Jan 2009

My 13 year old son would like to take a cooking class! He loves to eat and has been asking to learn to cook, but doesn't want to be taught by me! Can anyone recommend a good, basic, general cooking class that is kid-friendly and near Alameda? Thank you!! Nancy

If Berkeley isn't too far (University Ave. near San Pablo Ave.), and you can wait until summer, Spun Sugar offers really fun cooking day-camps for kids and teens. Although the shop is just about sweets and baking, the summer camps do all kinds of cooking - a full, multi-course themed meal each day (which they then get to eat!). I don't know if they have started registering yet, but the classes do fill up fast. Check out R.K.

My 11-year-old has taken several classes, and a summer camp, run by Culinary Kids, and we love their classes. Check out for details. They have a Tuesday evening class starting in February -- organic whole food cooking with Susan Waters (Alice Waters sister) -- held near Clark Kerr campus in Berkeley. Most of their classes are held in Berkeley/SF restaurants and kids get to tour and cook in real restaurant kitchens (e.g., Chez Panisse, Slanted Door, Bread Workshop, Cafe Tibet). The summer camp was fantastic, and included a field trip to Cannard Farms (supplier to Chez Panisse) to tour the farm, pick produce, and prepare an incredible farm-style meal (you definitely want to volunteer as a field trip driver for this one!) The woman who directs the program is young and energetic and very passionate about cooking, you can contact her for more info at Karen [at]

Summer Cooking camp for 12-year-old

April 2007

My son, who's 12, is interested in a cooking camp this summer. Anyone know of one?

Archway School has a summer cooking camp ''Cuisine and Art''. We've never done it, for purely logistical reasons, but it sounds intriguing, and one avid junior cook we know recommends it highly. Their phone, per a post in the April 2 newsletter, is 510-849-4747

Cooking class for 12 year-old

Feb 2007

My 12-year-old daughter has discovered cooking after receiving a Betty Crocker cook book for Christmas. (Yay!) I would like to find a learn-to-cook course or class on the weekends for her to attend. Does anyone have suggestions for a class that is targeted for older kids/teens? kg

Spun Sugar bake shop on University Ave. has a cooking camp in the summer, a week- long session where the kids cook all morning and then eat lunch together. My two boys have done both the kids and teen class and really enjoyed it. I wish that the teacher paid more attention to cooking healthful foods, but the menus are fine and accessible for the kids (pastas, baked goods, soups, etc.) Carrie

Cooking classes for young children


Are there any cooking classes in the East Bay for young children? Especially available on Fridays? I haven't been able to find any. Amy

To the parent who is looking for cooking classes, Montclair Recreation Center offers them throughout the year. Frances

Montclair Rec Center in Oakland has several cooking classes for ages 4-7. My daughter is enrolled in Brunch Bunch -- Scrambles, fruit salads, pancakes, crepes, muffins and more will be explored (and eaten!) in this tasty class. Session I April 6,13,27, and May 4th or session II May 11,18,25, & June 1. Fridays 11:45-12:30. There's also Lunch Bunch -- Children will be introduced to healthful nutritious and delicious foods from all the food groups. Children will prepare and enjoy a good lunch. That's on Mondays 12:15-1:00. Cost is $50 per session which includes the cost of food. (Non-Oakland residents pay an additional $2.) Contact: Montclair Rec Center 6300 Moraga Avenue, Oakland CA 94611 510-482-7812 Sharon

Montclair Parks and Rec usually offers a cooking class for kids. The spring session started on 4/2. There is a Book Cook class where the teacher reads a book and then they prepare related recipes. Also, thee are 2 other classes that meet for 4 week sessions - Lunch Bunch meets on Mondays at 12:15 and Brunch Bunch meets on Fridays at 11:45. The phone number for more info is 510)482-7812

Cooking Classes for Adults

Cooking classes for my husband and me

Feb 2009

My husband would like to take some cooking classes, and I'd like to join him for at least a few of them. We're wondering where people have found really good classes for the basics and also a few fancy treats? Carolyn

Sur La Table on 4th street used to do cooking classes but they weren't cheap. For free you can go to one of Williams Sonoma's cooking demonstrations (in Emeryville). Of course the idea is that you buy a bunch of stuff but you're not pressured to and I often haven't at all. They have sessions on BBQ, drinks mixing, cake decorating, salad dressings, marinades, etc. Give them a call and find out what classes are coming up.

Terry Paulding - i took her class when i got divorced. i always loved to cook but was not in the kitchen much while married (ok, take that any way you want...) her class was way fun and learned new things and refresshed on others... gave me the confidence i needed to have fun in the kitchen again, did it with a girlfriend, highly recommended! - o.

Want to learn the basics

Nov 2007

I'm interested in improving my cooking skills. i have become reasonably proficient learning on my own, making dinner every night, but would love to learn some of the basics from a real chef (eg. knife skills, making stock, etc). Does anyone know of any such classes offered for cooking amateurs? preferably in the East Bay and on weekends. Thanks. wannabe chef

Hi there! The Williams-Sonoma in Emeryville offers free (I'm fairly certain they are free) skills, or techniques, classes. I know I get notifications about it via email every quarter or so. Their other classes, such as cooking a particular style of food or meal, are at a charge. Good luck, and have fun!

Check out Pauldings in Emeryville. anne

My husband took a class at Sur La Table in Berkeley and enjoyed it a lot. Their catalog of classes is online.

Cooking Class Vacation

Oct 2006

My mother has generously gifted me with a trip, the caveat being that she gets to come with. Fortunately we get along fairly well. However, we realized that it might be best if we have a focus of some sort for the trip. We agreed that we'd start looking at tours with a culinary theme. I started off looking at France and Italy, but they are super expensive. Mexico is our other choice but there are so many towns with so many chefs offering cooking classes it is overwhelming. Has anyone out there on this list gone to one of these in Mexico? I'm mostly interested in the 3-4 day or longer programs which take you out to markets and other activities instead of the single day classes. Otherwise we'll drive each other crazy

I love San Miguel d'Allende in Mexico! I went to art school there in '86, and my brother took cooking classes there about 8 years ago. It's a beautiful colonial town with lots of artistic gringos. I don't know which cooking class would be best, but see if you can find something on the web. It's friendly, small, with lots of interesting cultural events and delicious food. I am still thinking about a chicken pomegranate dinner I had there. Yum yum.

Basic Cooking Class

Oct 2005

Hello, I live in the east bay and would like to take cooking classes. Can anyone suggest where I can find a reasonably priced cooking school. I don't need anything fancy or gourmet, my main goal is to learn how to make tasty low calorie meals. Thanks pvs

There is a personal chef in Pleasant Hill who loves to teach cooking classes! He would teach you just what you need to know and the class would be personalized for you. If you want to bring the price down (I do not know how much it would be), you could go in as a group! is the website. Have fun! love to cook!

I highly recommend Terry Paulding's cooking classes. She offers a wide variety of classes and teaches some of them for Piedmont Adult School. Her classes always include fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables incorporated into lovely dishes that suit the time of year. You can check out her website at Judy

I am not sure where you live, but Mt. Diablo Adult Education cooking classes are reasonably prices, great teacher(s) and definitely have the type of class you're looking for. Otherwise, check some of the other adult ed classes in your neighborhood. k

Here's a link to the cooking classes section of the on-line catalog of the Piedmont Adult School:

The Piedmont Adult School holds its classes in the evening at Piedmont High School in Piedmont, which is easily accessible from I-580 and is near the Grand Ave. and Piedmont Ave. neighborhoods of N. Oakland. The one class I took there (not cooking, alas) was delightful in every respect. You are so smart to be doing this! Wishing I could go with you

Compassionate Cooks in Oakland offers vegetarian cooking classes. Here's the menu for the Nov 12th Class, ''Thanksgiving for the Birds'':

  Harvest Stuffed Winter Squash Sensational Stuffing with Toasted Nuts and Raisins Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions Glazed Garlic Green Beans Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crust 

Classes are 3 hours for $40. anon

Dec 2003

I'm looking for cooking classes. I've never been a very good cook and feel I'll never learn on my own from going through cookbooks the skills needed to be an excellent cook. The California Cooking Academy offers Saturday classes covering cooking basics, but they are expensive ($175 each). I am open to any and all types of cooking, including vegetarian. Grace

My cousin Alain DeLangle is the chef at Le Charm French Bistro. He is starting a cooking program offering pastry classes on Sundays from 9:30 to 11 am. The dessert for Jan/Feb is financier, baked pear, caramel cream, and florentine cookies. Le Charm is located at 315 5th Street in SF, cross street is Folsom. Please call 415.546.6128. Amy

A friend of mine, Robin Levine,recently started her own company called KitchenGirlfriend. She teaches cooking classes in your home, either to individuals or to groups. She knows a lot about food and really loves what she does. If you want more information about her classes, she has a website: Bon Appetit, Michelle

Asian Cooking Classes

Sept 2005

Does anyone know of good ''intro to Asian cooking'' classes in the Berkeley area? My parents are coming for an extended visit this winter and were interested in finding a class, either with a school or a private home. Any suggestions? julie

My husband has enjoyed the classes he's taken at Sur La Table on 4th Street. You may want to try there. anon

I took a series of great Asian classes (Basic and Intermediate Thai and Vietnamese) at the Piedmont Adult School. The teacher is Chat Mingkwan - who is wonderful. His approach is to give you the foundation for Southeast Asian cooking - spending time talking about the ingredients, helping you get a feel for the taste of each dish and in the Intermediate Class, you even cook without a recipe! It is hands on and a whole lot cheaper than at Sur La Table or Home Chef. The challenge is that it is in a HomeEc classroom so the kitchen isn't great but if you can cook under those conditions, you can cook anywhere! His website is

Vegetarian cooking classes

Dec 2003

Does anyone have any recommendations for vegetarian cooking classes in the East Bay? I am an inexperienced cook in general, and am thinking of becoming a vegetarian. Any suggestions would be very helpful. (I checked the web site and could not find anything) Thanks. margo

Check out the URL at for good info about the new Berkeley culinary school. Some classes will be taught as mini-series. For more info, call 1-800-987- 7530. They emphasize vegetarian cooking. Nori

i can't testify as to the quality, but i did notice when perusing the class offering for the winter-the piedmont adult ed course offering had a listing for a vegetarian class or two. linda

I have taken several cooking classes at Sur La table and really enjoyed them. I took a veggie cooking class at Homechef as well but I don't know if they are still up in running. Many of Sur La Table classes are vegetarian (they have a thai one I liked) but others just have 1 meat dish out of 5 or 6 prepared so I read the proposed menu quite closely before signing up but have really enjoyed some of the ''normal'' classes as well. Only caveat is that they are not cheap classes! Loves to cook vegetarian as well

You probably won't get this in time for the December 13 class, but Colleen does regular monthly classes. Here is her latest: UFETA\x92s (Unitarian Universalists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) monthly vegetarian cooking classes are more popular than ever. Join us on Sat., Dec. 13, at 10 AM in the kitchen for a special holiday treat, as we cook up some delicious dishes, including Polenta-crusted Tempeh Piccata, Herb Scalloped Potatoes, Saffron-spiked Moroccan Stew, Holiday Pecan Balls, and more. Sign up by contacting Colleen Patrick-Goudreau at 510-482-1927 or colleen AT $25 for church members (First Unitarian Church, Oakland); $35 non-members. B Avalon

I highly recommend Compassionate Cooks. I have attended Colleen's classes for over a year and she is very knowledgeable. She has everything prepared and goes through step by step on how to prepare the dish's. The dish's she shares are easy to follow and usually can be prepared easily. She answers any questions you may have and her classes are very reasonably priced. Dana

Cooking class for teen

May 2002

Anyone know of any cooking classes for the summer for a 13-year-old in the Albany/Berkeley/El Cerrito area?

Sur la Table (4th Street) offers a great cooking program for kids 9-14 during the summer. It's pretty popular so it may be full already. If she's mature enough and pretty serious about cooking, their regular adult classes are great as well and fairly reasonably priced. toni

Sur la Table has a great cooking class for 9 -13 year olds (my son took it a few years ago). Call meets for one week in the mornings with a field trip in the middle of the week. I think Carolyn is the instructor and she's great! Rochelle

Thai cooking classes

July 2008

I really really love Thai food and have always wanted to learn to make it at home for my family. I have been hearing about these new Thai cooking classes in the Peninsula. I know there has been lots of talk on this network about the class in oakland, but they have really large class sizes (I'm too shy for that) and its so hard to get a opening. I heard these other classes takes only 4 people at a time and its more of a hands-on thing. Has anyone done this class? Is it easy to learn? Do you know if there are any other classes? the only info I could find was on Yelp I think the website is thanks Mariam

I'm not familiar with the class you're talking about, but there is a woman in Piedmont, Kasma loha unchit Clark who teaches Thai cooking in her home. It's been a while since I've taken classes with her (and went with her on her Thailand Tour)....but she used to have about 8-10 people come over (sign up for a series of 6) and we'd all cook together and then have a great Thai meal. We've developed a great repertoire of Thai recipes. I know she's in the phone book. This might be outdated info, but hopefully it'll be helpful. still cooking Thai

Nov 1999

The millenium approaches so I'm feeling like I'd better hop to it with those dreams long on the back burner. Can anyone recommend a sushi making class and a Thai cooking class --preferably that are way-fun, with wonderful teachers, and affordable? I'd also be interested in any other highly recommended food-related classes/ resources. I'm realizing that access to such varied and wonderful international cousine is a luxury while we live in Berkeley and likely won't be available if we ever move to the boonies. Thanks. Andrea

To the person looking for Thai cooking classes: Kasma Loha-Unchit teaches classes in her home in Oakland, and also sometimes at Sur La Table on Fourth Street. My husband has taken several classes with her and she is wonderful. She also has a great cookbook out call It Rains Fishes. The number I have for her is 655-8900. Adele