The days of ramen-boiling bachelors and bachelorettes are over. With the likes of Blue Apron and HelloFresh filling kitchens with the sizzle of pre-designed meals, it’s easier than ever for the culinarily inept to prepare some semblance of a fancy supper. Strip away the mail order ingredients and erase the carefully prepared recipes though, and the return to shaking chicken flavoring out of silver packets could be swift. In Boston, however, there are a number of solutions for those looking to elevate their cooking from gruel to gourmet. Whether you’re a confident chef or a grilled cheese specialist, these innovative, intimate and effective cooking classes are sure to transform the way you cook.
Seven nights a week in Boston’s South End, a dinner party of strangers gathers for a five-course meal. Clearly no ordinary meal, this party is the result of Stir (102 Waltham St., 617.423.7847) a demonstration kitchen put together by nationally renowned chef Barbara Lynch. The concept is simple: a table for ten wraps itself around an island kitchen-top while Stir’s chefs and sommeliers prepare and pair dishes and wine from across the world before guests. Guests can ask and observe all they want about preparation and pairing, but the only work they do is with a fork and knife as they enjoy the world class meal prepared before their eyes.
When you walk into Shiso Kitchen (374 Washington St., Somerville, 617.999.9971) the feeling of having gone across the street to a friend’s house on some weekday evening is unavoidable. That experience is intentional, as Shiso strives to make its cooking classes some of the most intimate and personable in Boston. Classes are small, capped at eight participants, with the intention of ensuring that all hands are used in preparing the night’s meal. The menus are inspired by the global experience of chef Jessica Roy, who wants to leave customers feeling that they’ve tasted and traveled the world after a night out at Shiso.
In true Cambridge fashion, inventive Formaggio Kitchen (244 Huron Ave., Cambridge, 617.354.4750) strives to use cooking classes to pay it forward to the greater community. Rather than using in-house chefs to direct their classes, Formaggio invites professionals from the local cooking scene to share with students their unique perspectives and send them home with an understanding of those specialties.
Chef Mark DesLauriers’ classes at ArtEpicure (1 Fitchburg St., Somerville, 617.996.5334) are at once an education in cooking, science and history. Beyond merely teaching students the techniques and tricks behind professional kitchens, DesLauriers invites guest chefs from across the nation and world to share the story behind certain cuisines and to prime guests with a biological and chemical understanding of taste, smell and appearance.
The experience provided by Cozymeal (100 Cambridge St., 617.307.4582) is unlike any other offered in Boston. While most cooking classes are hosted onsite at restaurants or professional kitchens, Cozymeal allows you to bring their chefs home with you. Simply visit Cozymeal’s website, enter your city and the style of cooking you want to learn, and Cozymeal will set you up with one of their local, world-class chefs who will either invite you to their personal kitchen for a lesson or turn your home kitchen into the classroom. It’s all very intimate and personalized.
Milk Street Cooking School (177 Milk St., 857.990.3625) is a mere slice of the greater Boston-based Milk Street cooking world (which includes a magazine, a radio show, a TV show, and books). Their goal is simple and they promise to fulfill it: Milk Street classes will change the way you cook. Their methods are intended to teach you “critical cooking skills,” the ability to look at available tools and ingredients, then render a delicious meal from those elements. To do this, Milk Street ensures that their classes are full of hands-on experimentation, often having different students prepare the same ingredients using different methods to help them better understand the effectiveness of each. Devoted to their home city of Boston, Milk Street donates the proceeds of their cooking classes to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester and the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, offering each group free cooking classes and coaching.
SUR LA TABLE
Chef James of Sur La Table (100 Huntington Ave., 617.236.4525) in Copley Place doesn’t want you to walk away from his classes with mastery of a mere recipe (though you will); instead, his focus is on the technique behind that cooking. By mastering the methods by which food is prepared, customers will return home with the skills needed to prepare any recipe outside of the classroom and in their own kitchens.