What You Can Learn from Taking a Cooking Class

By Stephan Taeib

In the interest of full disclosure, let me start by saying I have a thing for cookbooks. My grandmother used to have this big book of dishes from around the world. So at the age of 7, I wasn’t reading fairy tales. I was ogling the pictures from her book.

I think I was in love with the soufflé.

As the years went by, I tried my hand at a few dishes. And what an awful hand it was.My cakes looked like giant muffins. My brownies tasted like egg whites. My paella induced vomiting. And my lovely, lovely soufflé deflated right before my very eyes!

That’s it. No more freestyling for this lady. I’m taking a cooking class.

What’s really nice about taking a class, really, is that anyone can go and take one. If you’re interested in cooking but are atrocious at it, you can find some beginner lessons. If you’re quite skillful already, you can still learn some new techniques from world-class chefs.

Or, you could be neither here or there about it. Maybe you’re just tired of dinners that always included the words “hamburger, “mac and cheese,” “Chinese” and “takeout”. In that case, adding up some variance couldn’t be so bad, could it?
Here are the 5 things I took away from cooking class, and why you should consider taking one.

1. You’ll learn the proper methods.

Yes, the internet is your friend. You can probably google any recipe right now and come up with a dozen variations of the same dish.But it could get confusing. Should you use a food processor? Does the butter go before or after kneading the dough? What does folding mean?A cooking class will teach you the proper ways of doing the dish.

2. You’ll learn that nothing beats hands-on training.

Telling isn’t really as good as seeing, is it? But you could be watching a dozen videos on YouTube, maybe entire seasons of cooking shows, too. It will never compare to seeing it live.For one, cooking shows are edited. There will be parts you won’t see. But the best part really is after the expert shows you how to do it, you get to try it yourself. Nothing beats hands-on experience.

3. You’ll learn that watching videos won’t really cut it.

You may argue about being able to watch on tv and try it afterward. Or maybe follow the YouTube video at the same time. But what are you gonna do when you have questions? The video won’t answer back, would it?
And that’s another great thing about taking a class. You can get instant answers when you’re stumped. Real-life questions, real-life answers. You might even get the chef to help you out some.

4. You’ll learn something new.

You don’t need to stick with what you’ve known all your life. There are Italian cooking classes, Mexican, Japanese, French. The options are limitless.You can enroll in beginner classes and eventually move on to harder ones. You can learn about different culinary techniques.Your signature dish won’t have to be mac and cheese anymore. You could learn to cook a mean Beef Wellington and knock everyone’s socks off.

5. You’ll feel like a pro.

Now that you’ve mastered a dish, even just one dish, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. There’s nothing quite like seeing a perfectly done puff pastry.
There are some great benefits to taking a cooking class, too. Like how you get to sample your fancy meal. And now that you’re cooking, you could save a lot of money from takeout. You also meet new and interesting people.

That’s what I learned from cooking class. But don’t just take my word for it. Try one yourself, or forever be stuck with takeaway moo shu pork.

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