Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abundance. Or not at all - Harriet Van Horne
If you have an interest in creating food and building your culinary skills, then cooking courses are a great way to indulge that passion. The various types of cooking classes will offer you skills and niche in different cuisines and recipes. You can also make new friends, learn to appreciate world cuisines, and engage in learning exchanges. Or just join these classes for the love of food!
Your level of commitment and skills are two major determinants in the type of course you sign up for. If you are an aspiring chef, you may need to go for a full-time cooking class in a culinary school. Some of these cooking courses can last for a few years or a few months, depending on the specialization. You can choose to specialize in vegetarian cooking classes or vegan cooking classes or maybe pastry classes. And if you are only looking to develop basic cooking skills or if you are a home chef looking to take the quality a notch higher, then you can enroll for some online cooking courses. There are also community programs or local restaurants that sometimes offer these one-off opportunities to learn new recipes and try out new dishes.
Different Types of Cooking Courses
Do you just love food? Do you aspire to open a restaurant in London or become a celebrity chef in India? Cooking superstar or a novice- no matter who you are you can always gain a lot of benefits from signing up for a cooking class. And wait. Not all cooking courses are the same. You should ideally choose a course that is commensurate with the level of experience you have with culinary skills. Also, think about the specific methods of cooking that you want to learn and develop and then only sign up for a course.
Courses That Are Hands-On
These are for people who love to jump right into action. In such classes, you will learn by doing. So, you will have your own work station, ingredients, and tools to play around with while a teacher or guide observes you carefully. You will be provided with specific feedback pertaining to your dish to help you improve.
These are theoretical classes without much hands-on experience. Just like a regular classroom, you are required to sit down and take notes as a culinary expert teaches you about the specifics of the course. You are free to ask questions and seek clarity wherever needed.
As the name suggests, these courses are a mix of lectures and hand-on exposure. This is perfect for those who like to implement what they learn and seek feedback for improvements. In fact, you will find most people preferring this module over others.
Cookery books and virtual cooking classes are the newest additions to the list. The books are sold across all stores and e-commerce platforms from London to Ludhiana. So, you can easily get hold of the right cookery book.
Vegan Cooking Classes
The latest to join the trend of evolving cooking classes are vegan cooking classes. Curated for aspiring vegan chefs, there are many modern-day vegan cooking classes to choose from. This is a highly specialized training program, as you can guess, given the nature of dishes that make up the style of cooling. You can become a certified natural chef or get accredited as a vegan chef where you get to understand the nutritional benefits of fresh vegetables. But you need to have some basic and special kitchen skills in order to enroll for vegan cooking classes.
Key Features of Vegan Cooking Classes
The classes themselves may differ from school to school, but there are a few underlying elements that are common to all:
- Self-paced learning classes are the focus.
- Both online and physical classes are available.
- Courses may vary between 1 to 5 years.
- Each course is supplemented with learning materials, start-up kits, workbooks, etc.
- You get access to learning networks and platforms.
- Option to enroll in essential or complete courses is available.
- Direct interaction with mentors.
The good part about Vegan cuisine is that it can be inculcated in any dish- Thai, Indian, Mexican, etc. Actually, Vegan is a cuisine in itself. And with the rise in its popularity, there are tons of vegan cooking classes now available online.
Vegetarian Cooking Classes
If you are a vegetarian, then you already know the benefits of eating greens everyday and how they can be a source of great health. So, if you love to eat vegetarian food, then you might as well learn to cook it!
Top Skills You Learn at A Vegetarian Cooking Class
Build Your Knowledge of Vegetables
Almost all vegetarian cooking classes start with a basic understanding of vegetables. This is because of the simple reason that your protein here is plant-based. You will learn how to whip up mouthwatering vegetarian dishes in a matter of a few minutes. You will also understand the precise time needed for cooking different vegetables and avoid overcooking them in the future. You also learn to prepare dough and gain access to great recipes made solely out of vegetables!
Make the Best Use of Leftovers
Leftovers always taste better the next day. Don't they? It is a fantastic way to add extra flavors to an already delicious meal. You can learn how to get creative with your leftovers from the expert chefs. Add the cooked or uncooked vegetables to make new dishes to amp up the flavors. For example, you can create a puree from grilled leftovers and put it in a soup or in your pasta and serve for breakfast the next day.
Add a Veggie Delight to All Your Meals
You can create the most delicious breakfast meals out of fruits and vegetables. For example,
- Banana-egg pancakes
- Almond oatmeal
- Quinoa muffins
For lunch, serve up a lentil and quinoa salad with a chickpea soup to go with it. While vegetable fried rice and black bean soup make a killer combination for a light, yet tasty dinner.
Prepare Gluten-Free Meals
Switching to vegetarian meals that are free of harmful gluten has the following benefits:
- Glowing and clear skin
- Increased rate of metabolism
- Weight control
- Reduced acne
- Overall health performance.
Pastry Classes for the Baker in You
Cakes are like books. There are new ones you want to read and old ones you want to reread - Ellen Rose
Hands-on training is a very important element of pastry classes. Whether you are enrolled in a London cookery class or an online class in India, you will be required to get your hands dirty with sugar, flours and chocolates to begin with. This usually culminates with the student interning at an affiliated bakery or restaurant to gain exposure to the real challenges in the life of a pastry chef. This is why you may not find a lot of online pastry classes simply because they can't provide you with this level of expertise and focus. You can, however, get yourself a certification in bakery and pastry-making.
What are the Elements and Topics in Pastry Classes?
The first and probably most difficult job of a pastry chef is to select and plan the dessert menu to accompany the rest of items. You have to account for a lot of things while deciding this. The main determinants include,
- Popularity of the item.
- Cost of making the item.
- Mapping the item to the choices of the demography you serve.
- The design of the menu.
- The presentation elements.
As part of your course, you will learn how to plan, execute and submit sample pastries and improve on them through feedback.
Purchase of Components/Ingredients
If you are a dessert chef, you will know the pain of trying to buy one-off or singular items. Hence, most pastry classes will teach you the tricks to buy in bulk and always maintain a well-stocked pantry. Equally important is to learn about prevention of spoilage and wastage. Kitchen equipment and packaging materials are some of the other important components taught under this segment.
Adding Nutrition to Your Dessert
Desserts are not always unhealthy, although on the face of it, they may seem so thanks to the amount of calories they carry. But a good pastry chef will also know how to add vitamins, minerals, proteins, and lipids to a dessert. As part of your cookery class, you are taught about the nutritional value of ingredients used in pastries and are encouraged to make healthier desserts and use alternative sweeteners.
The Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry-Making
This segment of the course introduces you to the foundation and basics of pastry-making. This includes the knowledge of equipment, use of right utensils, most commonly-used ingredients, and the health and safety measures.
So, you can be a sous-chef in London or a MasterChef in India, but you need to start with the basics of cooking with relevant cookery classes.