Taking a cooking class with friends and family is a great way to up your game in preparation for Thanksgiving and the December holidays—plus it makes for a super-fun date night, family activity, or night out with friends. And because New York and Connecticut are amazing foodie locations, there are tons of options for incredible cooking classes in the region.
From baking classes to knife skills to cuisine-focused classes like Chinese Take Out Classics and the Ayurvedic Kitchen, there’s something for everyone. Best of all, you can take the NYC subway, LIRR, or Metro-North to culinary and cooking schools like Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan, the Zwilling Cooking Studio in Westchester, and The Cooking Lab in Port Washington. Note that some locations require a short walk or rideshare from the station.
1. Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), Manhattan
7 minute walk from Cortlandt Street
8 minute walk from World Trade Center
8 minute walk from Park Place
9 minute walk from Chambers Street
9 minute walk from Fulton Street
Some of America’s best chefs have studied at ICE, including Gail Simmons, Missy Robbins, and Marc Murphy, and now you can, too, via their recreational classes. “In the recreational classes, attendees work in the same professional kitchens with the same chef-instructors as our career-programs, so you’re getting a real culinary school experience,” says Tracy Zimmerman, Lead Chef of the Recreational Program. “The classes use top-notch ingredients and are a true hands-on experience.”
ICE has classes in everything from Ayurvedic cooking to a chocolate workshop for kids and parents to a two-day croissant-and-brioche intensive. Zimmerman notes there are also plenty of Thanksgiving prep classes coming up. Brush up on your pie dough skills in The Perfect Crust or the two Make-and-Take Thanksgiving Pie Workshops just before the holiday.
2. Home Cooking New York, Manhattan, NY
4 minute walk from Canal Street
5 minute walk from Canal Street
6 minutes walk from Grand Street
10 minute walk from Canal Street
Founded in 2002 by Jennifer Clair, a former recipe editor of The Wall Street Journal and cookbook developer for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Home Cooking New York offers 10-person maximum hands-on classes that end with a full sit-down meal. Upcoming classes include Classic Beef Bourguignon Dinner, the ideal date-night class Romantic Dinner for Two, and Seasoning 101: How to Use Herbs and Spices and How to Make Really Good Sauces, two great primers to help you amp up your holiday dishes. Beginners should check out the six-session Culinary Boot Camp to learn basic knife skills, braising, fish, and meal techniques, and dough basics during weekly three-hour classes.
3. The Well-Seasoned Chef, Garden City
7 minute walk from Stewart Manor
This kid-friendly facility has a small shop selling kitchen items and a demo kitchen perfect for small group classes and kids’ birthday parties. There are always fun interactive classes on schedule like the upcoming Fall Cupcake Decorating classes for kids ages 2 to 7 and up, and Junior Chef Culinary classes for kids ages 8 to 14, where they learn basic knife skills and kitchen safety while making chicken parmigiana, pumpkin ravioli, and cannoli ice cream. Classes are taught by owner Chef Sophia Benito Brivio, a graduate of ICE.
4. The Cooking Lab, Port Washington
6 minute walk from Port Washington
Learn to make everything from fresh mozzarella and burrata to empanadas at this family-friendly culinary studio, where you’ll find eight cooking stations that can accommodate one or two people each. Aside from singular classes, the Cooking Lab also offers weekly after-school classes for elementary and middle school children. It was founded by Parisian chef Mathieu Lanfant and lawyer-turned-chef Michelle Capobianco, who trained in Italy.
5. Zwilling Cooking Studio, Pleasantville
10 minute walk from Pleasantville
The German knife company opened their US headquarters in Westchester in 2015, with a state-of-the-art cooking studio. “Part culinary classroom, part dinner party, our hands-on cooking classes are a fun way to test your cooking chops,” says executive chef Bernard Janssen. Classes include Chinese Takeout Classics, “Girls Night Out” Taste of the Middle East, and “Date Night” Latin Lovers, where couples learn to make papusas from El Salvador and mofongo, a Puerto Rican dish of fried plantains with shrimp. To prep for the holiday season, consider the Basic Knife Skills or Holiday Menu, which includes cauliflower soup, stuffed pork loin, and chocolate mousse.
6. Fig Cooking School, Milford, CT
10 minute rideshare from Stratford
This culinary facility has been offering recreational classes since 2009 and is owned by Heide Lang, who trained at the French Culinary Institute in New York. Upcoming classes include Autumn Dinner with Friends, where attendees learn to cook roasted butternut squash and cauliflower soup, Shepherd’s pie, and chocolate pudding, and French Bistro, with steak au poivre and lavender crème brûlée. In December, the Festive Holiday Dinner class will teach participants to cook beef tenderloin with lingonberry horseradish sauce and wild mushroom tartlets.
Devorah Lev-Tov is a travel and food writer based in Brooklyn. She has been living in NYC for 15 years and writes for publications including The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Vogue, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Eater, Thrillist, and more.