Cooking, Food & Wine Classes for Adults

Parent Q&A

Select any title to view the full question and replies.

  • Japanese cooking

    (2 replies)

    I am looking for Japanese cooking classes/teacher (for adults and teens) recommendations in East Bay, SF or Marin. Any suggestions, please share! Thank you

    Hi, you didn't specify what kind of Japanese cooking. You may want to check out Kitchen on Fire in Berkeley for classes if you're interested in learning how to make ramen/udon noodles from scratch or hot pots.

    I don't have recommendations for in-person classes, but the recipes by Nami on are always good. She also writes about the Bay Area (I believe she's based in the South Bay), so she may have leads if you contact her. I'm Japanese, and her recipes have always been spot-on, with interesting cultural notes for those interested in learning about the kinds of everyday, delicious foods Japanese families eat.  

  • Culinary school for 19 year old

    (6 replies)

    My 19 year old son had a poor experience in high school and has doubts about further education. He is tentatively considering culinary school, in addition to trying to find work in a kitchen. Are there any good local programs for someone this young, without college experience? I know Laney has a program, but I don't know anything about the quality. I suspect the Culinary Institute of America is meant for people older and already more invested in the field? Any resources or experience you can share would be a help. Thanks!

    Hello, culinary schools accept all ages, from right out of high school to someone reinventing their career.  As a graduate of culinary school and someone who has worked in the field for many years, I can tell you that it's a wonderful field to work in but there are many trade-offs.  Working in hospitality means late nights and weekends at work, most if not all holidays spent at work, long shifts and not great pay unless you do your time and work your way up the "food" chain.  It takes an enormous amount of dedication and time.  But it's also lots of fun, you make great friends and coworkers that last a lifetime, and the opportunity to be creative is endless.  Bigger named culinary schools like CIA have a bigger price tag, similar to bigger name universities.  There are culinary schools everywhere though, in junior colleges and some connected to universities without the price tag.  You want to make sure that the school teaches the basics of cooking and builds upon those ideas in upper level classes. If they can place you in an exterships, even better because that will get your foot in the door when you graduate.  I paid half of what CIA charges to get my degree in the same town with a city college culinary program and then did my exterships with some big chef names and that worked out great.  Most chefs that look at your resume want someone who's done the work, doesn't matter where you start.  I'm not sure of culinary programs down here but can help you with the North Bay if that interests you.  Hope this information helps you. 

    I believe that Diablo Valley Community College out in Pleasant Hill has a culinary arts program as well.

    Santa Rosa Junior College has a wonderful culinary arts program. We know several people who have transitioned to full-time employment in some of Sonoma County's finest restaurants-- there is a good connection between school and community. We know many others who adore the cafe run by the SRJC culinary program, where aspiring chefs in training prepare delicious meals at a low price to the public. SRJC is a great community college with its own farm (Shone Farm) and cool farm-to-table learning opportunities. I solemnly swear that I do not work for SRJC-- just a fan.

    City College of San Francisco also offers a reputable culinary arts and hospitality management program.  My roommate in college went through it, and although challenging, it gives a students the entire picture of the profession.

    Contra Costa College has a good program.

    I own Stateside Treats -- born from the Cupkates Food Truck and Stateside Bakery shop. I could help facilitate him having an informational discussion with our pastry chef to give him perspective. Also, I am willing to sit down with him to give him an overview of the business.

    I can be reached via my BPN username, below.


Archived Q&A and Reviews


Cooking Class -- cooking fish? 

Dec 2013

I'd love to know more about fish -- how to choose it and how to prepare it. I've checked the calendar at Paulding & Co.; nothing there. Sur La Table in Palo Alto has a ''date night'' seafood class that isn't what I'm looking for. Any other suggestions? inwoodave

Not sure they have a fish class, but Back to the Table cooking school in Lafayette has a lot of good classes. You should give 'em a google. If you can get a few people together, you can probably have them do a fish class for you.

I don't know if they have a class specific on fish but I particularly like the classes offered through Kitchen on Fire in Berkeley. I've taken a number of cooking classes there, including their 12 week series. I never had one focused on seafood but I did have classes that included a short discussion on cooking fish or how to shuck an oyster or quickly dispatch a lobster. The discussion varied depending on the recipes covered in that class. You can check their class schedule online or ask if they have a seafood class. I remember them always saying that if there is enough interest, they will make a class for it! Jennifer

Cooking Class in France or Italy

Dec 2013

Dear Foodies: We are hoping for a recommendation for a fabulous cooking school in either France (Paris? Provence?) or Italy (Tuscany? Umbria?) for our younger sister. She's about to have a big birthday (50), and we sibs are pooling together our miles and our euros to send her on a surprise bucket-list trip. She loves both French and Italian cuisines and loves to travel; we are hoping to find a cooking experience that is really special, authentic, immersive, and really gives her a true sense of regional cooking in the area. We are open to other cuisines and schools and destinations, but since these two are her favorites, this is what comes to mind. We're thinking about something on the order of two-three weeks and are flexible about time of year. If you have first-hand experience with such a cooking school, or know of something off the beaten path that may not be a formal school but perhaps someone who owns a farm who invites folks in from time to time, well, that would be most welcome. She's a big fan of Patricia Wells, and we are thinking of that, so if anyone has been to one of Patricia's classes and can speak to that experience, that would be very helpful as well. Thanks so much. Chowhounds

This may not be 100% what you are looking for but it there's an amazing cooking school in Bologna called La Vecchia Scuola di Cucina. I took a half-day class there once and they cook real Bolognese food( which is amazing). Bologna is north of Tuscany but near the places where some of Italy's most famous products are made ( balsamic vinegar, parmiggiano cheese, Parma ham, spicy fruit mustards from Cremona, mortadella). The school has classes on cooking in the Bolognese style for non-professionals and professionals. They also could hook you up with folks who could do tours of regional products. She'd have to find her own place to stay. It's not a travel's the real thing and the food is astonishingly good. Bologna is considered by Italians to have some of the best fresh pasta in Italy..and cuisine that combines some of Italy's most famous ingredients. They have classes in English and Italian.

There's a woman named Dada Reiner who has an Farmstay-type place in Umbria that would be good. I can't give you the name. She's not Italian but she teaches Italian cooking to people who stay at her place. I assume she speaks English along with 2-3 other languages, but you should ask.

If you are looking for more of a group that takes small groups of people around and combines cooking and travel..look into 'Tuscan Women Cook'. I don't know a lot about them or the ratio of cooking to travel. Italy closes in August for vacation. Weather is nicest in Spring and Fall. J

Check out Kate Hill's classes in Gascony... they sound wonderful, and she is very highly regarded: dreaming of cassoulet

Introduction to wine class

Aug 2009

Does anyone know of a good class for someone who knows nothing about wine. It could be a one day class in or out of town (Sonoma, Napa) or a ongoing class preferrably in Berkeley or Oakland. I am hoping for the basics and for the class to be fun.

Aspiring Student

A few years ago I took Wine 101 at Solano Cellars over on Solano Ave in Albany. It was 4 weeks and met 1x per week. It was an excellent introduction to wine and the various wine regions around the world. Kate

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

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