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Chicago Restaurants That Offer Cooking Classes

By Sarah Freeman
March 5, 2014

There’s a better way to learn how to cook than juggling cooking books, pots, pans and a plethora of ingredients in that cramped apartment kitchen of yours. Instead, roll up your sleeves and let the experts show you how it’s done. Professional chefs around the city are welcoming guests into their restaurants to learn some of the tricks of the trade via cooking classes. Here's where to get some quality instruction.

Bread

Kneading dough, getting covered in flour and filling up on warm carbs - sounds like time well spent to us. Little Goat’s bread-baking class is a hands-on experience led by the restaurant’s bread maker, Greg Wade. Each six-person class is shown how to make a number of breads, including ciabatta, focaccia, dinner rolls and Little Goat's famous brioche cinnamon buns. Guests make and bake their own breads, while indulging in snacks, salads, stews, desserts, and wine and beer. Tickets are $65 and the classes are announced via social media and on Little Goat's website.

Oysters

GT Fish & Oyster hosts its first quarterly oyster classes on March 25 at 6 PM. The class will teach the differences between East and West Cost oysters, tasting notes and how to pair oysters with wines from Tenzing Wine & Spirits. Anyone who attends the class is welcome to join for discounted dinner after. Classes cost $40 and are held in GT’s Whale Room.

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Sushi

On the last Monday of every month, learn the art of sushi making during Maki Saki Mondays at Sunda. The 1.5-hour class walks guests through the basics, from how to roll sushi to more sophisticated techniques like sake pairings. Tickets to a total Japanese immersion cost $45.

Italian

Welcome to Italy, or the closest thing to cooking in Italy that we get in Chicago. Today, Eataly opened its cooking school with a full syllabus of Pasta 101, Cooking with Italian Seafood, Classic Italian Cocktails, The Art of Winter Risotto and more. Trained professionals hold classes in the glass-encased cooking school throughout the week. Registration is now open and classes cost between $35 and $110.

After picking up the basics, learn the finer points of Italian pasta, fish, sausages, meats and sweets with executive chef Luca Corazzina at 312. Scoula 312 cooking classes resume in late spring and are held on the first Saturday of each month at noon for $45. They include a focused lesson and demonstration along with light lunch, recipe cards and a bottle of hand-pressed 312 Chicago olive oil.

Butchery

If meat and BYOB is the preferred culinary experience, then Butcher & the Burger hosts regular whole-animal butchery classes that demonstrate how to break down hogs, cows and other animals. The classes are indeed BYO and include a full meal. During the summer month, the dual burger and butcher shop hosts grilling classes in addition to butchery lessons. Prices and times vary by subject, but are always listed online.

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Cocktails

We take it that a couple of guys who go by the name Tippling Brothers know a thing or two about cocktails. Each month, class is in session at the Mixology Academy held in Double A Lounge below Mercadito.The classes focus on different topics from sours to swizzles. In addition to cocktail demos and tastings, the classes dig deep into the history of drinks and spirits. Tickets cost $35 and the schedule is available online.

For large-format cocktails, join beverage director Will Duncan in his retro cocktail lair, Punch House. His classes also touch on the history and the principles behind the making of punch as well as offer attendees hands-on demonstrations on crafting their own full batches of punch. The class is offered to individuals or for groups of up to four - larger classes are also held on a monthly basis - and costs $75 per group.

Wine

Wine can be that thing that caps off the end of the day or a fine meal, or that thing that terrifies diners the second a server hands them an eight-page wine menu. Learn the fundamentals at The Chopping Block with its new certification courses hosted by the Fine Vintage. The courses are taught by James Cluer, one of only 312 Masters of Wine in the world and only 38 in North America. The first-class level is a one-day course that covers basic wine knowledge and the fundamentals of wine and food pairing. It debuts on May 24 at 9 AM and costs $349. Level two is a three-day course that provides instruction on professional wine tasting and extensive coverage of the main grape varieties and the regions they come from, held on May 25, May 31 and June 1 at 9 AM, and costs $950.

Places Mentioned

GT Fish & Oyster

Seafood • River North

Food25 Decor23 Service23 Cost$55
 
 
 
Butcher & The Burger

Burger • Lincoln Park

Food25 Decor17 Service20 Cost$17
 
 
 
312 Chicago

Italian • The Loop

Food21 Decor20 Service21 Cost$42
 
 
 
Mercadito Chicago

Mexican • River North

Food22 Decor21 Service17 Cost$39
 
 
 
Little Goat

West Loop

Food22 Decor22 Service21 Cost$28
 
 
 
 
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