In a foodie's mecca like Vancouver, enrolling in a cooking class is not only an effective way of improving your culinary skills, it's a great way to meet people and be social in the city. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a skilled cook or a beginner; cooking lessons are both informative and great fun. Vancouver is a great place for taking entertaining and creative cooking classes that will boost your cooking confidence and expand your culinary horizons. Here is a list of the most popular options.
The Dirty Apron is not only one of the best fine dining restaurants in Vancouver; it’s a culinary paradise where amateur cooks as well as passionate professionals learn and enhance their cooking skills. The school was established based on a great devotion to exquisite cuisine paired with the leadership of Karri and Nico Schuermans and former Chambar Sous-Chef David Robertson. Most of the classes are taught personally by David, who has extensive knowledge of classic French cuisine, plus there are classes throughout the year taught by additional celebrity chefs.
The selection of classes is vast, including popular regional cuisines as well as classes for geared for complete beginners or experienced cooks. A class is composed of a maximum of 22 students and focuses on building both confidence and skills in the kitchen. Nightly classes often feature themes and take approximately four hours, whereas daytime classes are spread throughout a whole week running for about six hours each day. Even though the main goal of The Dirty Apron classes is to provide high-quality culinary education, it’s also tons of fun. The price point is on the higher end, but is proportionate to the quality of their services.
The Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver is a small, independent school that provides fantastic cooking classes ranging from regularly scheduled culinary and pastry “Serious Foodie“ programs to private parties, corporate team-building events and advanced workshops offered periodically throughout the year. All classes are led by the owners, who have a simple teaching philosophy: “We teach the way we would want to be taught.”
The family atmosphere and original approach towards cuisine make this culinary school one of the most sought-after in Vancouver. Even though its kitchens aren’t as spacious as some other schools, the open space (with eight stoves) is roomy enough for their classes. The quality of Northwest’s amateur classes is comparable to professional schools and they take pride in making sure even beginners get enough personal attention and instruction. Visit their blog if you want to learn more about the academy.
Zac's Cooking School
Zac’s cooking school provides quality cooking classes taught in an engaging way within a friendly environment. It was founded as a result of a growing demand for Zac’s catering and personal cooking within the homes of his clients. The owner, Zac, is an experienced cook who worked as a chef in various restaurants in Melbourne and Vancouver before he started to show off his craftsmanship to other people. The first classes started in 2008 and since then have gained tremendous popularity.
They offer mostly group cooking classes for parties, entertainment, or couples as well as one-on-one instruction, but you can enrol in one of their scheduled group classes as an individual. The themes of scheduled classes include a very wide variety of programs such as traditional French cooking, home-made pizza making, bread and pastry making, curries of the world, cake decorating and knife skills in different levels.
The RAW Foundation Culinary Arts Institute is a top-quality cooking school that concentrates on gourmet raw foods. Their curriculum focuses
“on the benefits of a plant-based diet, inspiring and empowering both home & professional chefs to prepare delicious, raw & living foods with ease and share this passion with others, doing what they love.”
The spaces are welcoming, clean, well-lit and full of energetic, friendly people who know their stuff. They provide plenty of inspiring introductory and certification classes, live events, nutrition consultations, lectures, coaching, and counselling. The classes are taught by qualified raw food experts, including raw food chefs, French pastry chefs, sports nutritionists, holistic nutritionists, natural health practitioners, natural health educators, kinesiologists, thai therapists, sustainable agriculture experts, bio-dynamic & organic farmers, event planners, counsellors, wellness coaches, and business coaches. If you want to learn how to prepare delicious raw food meals and bring home lots of new, original recipes, try RAW Foundation.
The Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts is Canada’s first private culinary school with an onsite restaurant and bakeshop. The school is highly acknowledged even outside Vancouver and British Columbia and is recognized as the first culinary school in Canada to embrace Ocean Wise status and Green Table Network programs. They provide a huge array of cooking classes, including professional classes, teen classes, butchery basics, cake decorating, Japanese, French, and Spanish cuisine, and much more.
Chef Instructors from the Institute are knowledgeable professionals dedicated to teaching their students as much as they can in a positive atmosphere. Classes feature new cooking and baking techniques as well as demonstration of new recipes and sometimes the lesson is punctuated with a country’s wine, beer, or spirit. Take a look at the list of upcoming events if you want to register for a class.
Rooted Nutrition is a group of wellness-minded professionals led by registered holistic nutritionist and whole foods chef Andrea Potter who offer cooking classes that teach people how to eat and live healthily. The main concept of Rooted Nutrition is to eat healthy, local, organic food, thereby reducing our reliance on the large and unsustainable food system that produces huge amounts of waste and carbon emissions. The classes are accessible to anybody, and there’s even space to attend classes as a volunteer, meaning extra hands-on experience.
Since 2010, Rooted Nutrition provides classes that empower people to cut through diet fads and nutrition confusion and to get cooking with real, whole foods. As Andrea suggests, the real change towards health and wellness starts at home, in the kitchen.
Rooted Nutrition offers an abundance of different cooking class categories, such as probiotic foods, ancient grains, drying foods, legumes, baking with alternatives to gluten, and much more. Rooted Nutrition instructors lead their classes in an interactive way and each lesson is an exciting journey into the world of healthy and sustainable food preparation.
As we’ve learned from Andrea, this season’s focus is to “help people to create and maintain healthy habits for a great 2013!” They organize lots of special events such as public speakings and cooking demos at health fairs, community harvest and food preservation festivals, and even home parties and corporate classes.
Quince is a cozy cafe, boutique food shop and cooking school with extensive culinary exhibition spaces. They provide either fully-participatory or demonstration-style cooking classes designated for beginners as well as skilled cooks. Quince has a spacious contemporary Cooking Studio that provides students with a comfortable and professional environment. Every class has a recipe booklet, which you can take home with you. Chefs from Quince prefer a hands-on style of learning, which makes it easier to remember new techniques.
The variety of cooking classes at Quince is quite impressive. In the first weeks of 2013, you can choose classes such as Hawaiian Cocktail & Waikiki Pupus, The 9 Day Basics: Intensive Techniques for the Serious Amateur, Indian Bar Snacks, or Year of the Snake Chinese Dim Sum & Japanese Sake.
Andrea Jefferson, the owner of Quince is an entertaining chef with more than ten years of teaching experience. Moreover, Quince issues gift certificates, which make great gifts for foodies and amateur cooks. If you’re unable to choose one of their cooking classes, you can make a private booking and focus on your own areas of interest.