If you’re looking for a gift for the foodie in your life, an online cooking class is total *chef’s kiss* material. According to surveys, experiences reign supreme as the type of gift folks want most, and that goes double now that we’ve had to limit our experiences for so long due to the pandemic. For either a seasoned or aspiring home cook, an online cooking class makes a perfect, safe, fun and experiential gift that they can use from the comfort of home. Now all you need to do is find the right class.
Cooking classes are one of those things people don’t often buy for themselves but generally love when they find themselves in one. The past year has seen a spike in online cooking classes and other remote culinary tutorials and experience and many of these culinary lessons would make a great gift for a hands-on chef looking to learn more. There are online cooking classes for every level of home cook too, so if your sweetheart is a total novice with the knives looking to learn cooking basics, there’s a class for that. If they’re a more experienced chef hoping to perfect a bearnaise sauce or beef Wellington, there are plenty of cooking classes for seasoned chefs too.
You can also find online cooking classes for every type of cuisine on the planet, as well as online wine education and virtual cocktail classes. The internet famously has everything, and that extends to digital culinary know-how. Want to learn to make dim sum or take a class on hot Indian curries? It’s out there. More of a baker? There are in-depth classes in bread baking, while others focus on pastry and dessert.
You’ve also got the cooking class format to consider. Some classes are live, held over Zoom or other video platforms with classes of various sizes so you can muse with the instructor along with the other home chefs. You can also book classes that are one-on-one so it’s just you and your partner or group interacting with an expert chef who will walk you through a recipe or two. These tend to be more expensive, for obvious reasons, but have a fun energy and feel very special. For my money, a one-on-one cooking class makes an excellent gift for a foodie you love.
MasterClass and America’s Test Kitchen feature prerecorded lessons and classes to be watched on your own schedule. The benefits of a prerecorded cooking class or tutorial are twofold: You get to tap into some of the best cooking talent in the world, like Thomas Keller, Alice Waters and Gordon Ramsey, and once you buy or subscribe to one of these services with recorded cooking lessons, you’ve got them forever and can easily navigate to specific parts of the class if you ever need a brush-up.
From celebrity chef-led lessons to chocolate workshops and cooking classes for families, these are some of the best online cooking classes to give as gifts in 20201.
The Chef and the Dish
The Chef and The Dish will connect you with real, live pro chefs from all over the world who will join you in your kitchen in real time, via Skype. Global cuisine is represented authentically by chefs from the actual places the cuisines originate, whether you want to explore Brazilian steak, Hungarian goulash or sushi from Japan. Some classes are as inexpensive as $149, but most others start at around $299 for two people with an additional cost for extra students. You can also expect to pay around $50 or so for groceries and ingredients.
With so many cooking class options available through the Chef and the Dish, your best bet might be to send a personalized gift certificate, which you can buy in any amount.
If your previous food TV consumption has left you longing for the opportunity to get screamed at by Gordon Ramsay, MasterClass may be the easiest way to have that dream realized. Not only a cooking resource, MasterClass is a roundup of video tutorials, available for $180 per year for the entire library, which includes dozens of lessons in art, business, music and other subjects.
On the cooking side, Ramsay’s contemporaries include other legendary chefs such as Alice Waters, Thomas Keller, Dominique Ansel (of cronut fame) and others. (Again, these are recordings, not live coaching.) You can even receive instruction in wine appreciation from Wine Spectator’s James Suckling or have Aaron Franklin walk you through his famous Texas-style BBQ secrets.
For a more spirited experience, MasterClass offers a mixology lesson with bar specialists Lynette Marrero and Ryan Chetiyawardana.
Rouxbe is a leading online culinary school and is certified by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation. So, yeah, it’s some serious stuff. Rouxbe offers both individual lessons and professional certificate programs, so this would be best for experienced chefs looking to take things to the next level.
Gifting someone a Rouxbe membership makes the most sense and $100 gets you an entire year. With it, you’ll gain access to 75 recorded video lessons, and hundreds of recipes with personalized instructor support. Lessons include Knife Cuts & Knife Sharpening, Eggs, Dry-Heat Cooking Methods, How to Make Soup, How to Make Salad Dressing and more.
Cozymeal has hundreds of live group cooking classes that are held via Zoom, and many are between $20 and $40. This popular dark chocolate workshop, for instance, is just $39 and has loads of rave reviews. Most Cozymeal classes have multiple dates you can book or you can buy a gift certificate and let your giftee choose.
Cozymeal also has a number of cocktail-focused lessons, including bourbon cocktails, Campari cocktails and a tapas and sangria-making class.
As with most of these classes, you’ll need to supply your own ingredients, which you could totally make part of your gift.
Udemy’s online cooking courses feature experts delivering lectures on specific food and drink topics such as Bartending Mastery, if you’re hoping to put your new bar gear to good use, or Sourdough 101 and French Macarons for aspiring bakers. Classes are individually priced and most are $20 or $30. Any of the classes can be given as a gift.
The New York Times
The New York Times has one of the best collections of recipes anywhere in the world. What you may not know is it also has an extensive library of cooking tutorials and classes you can tap into when you sign up. Cooking is now its own membership separate from the newspaper. A year’s membership costs just $40 (or $5 per month) and includes over 19,000 recipes and hundreds of supplementary videos that’ll walk you through various dishes and cooking techniques from top talent such as Samin Nosrat, Melissa Clark and Yotam Ottolenghi.
America’s Test Kitchen
This might be a good one to give someone with a family, and America’s Test Kitchen is one of the most respected names in food education. Besides publishing a huge library of cookbooks rooted in the science of cooking and a website with recipes and videos, ATK offers online cooking classes. That includes the Young Chef’s Club, which is designed for kids as young as 5. The program delivers themed boxes every month along with access to exclusive instructional videos, recipes and other food and cooking activities. The Young Chef’s Club is $25 per month, but gets cheaper if you commit to a six- or 12-month membership.