10 amazing places to book cooking classes this winter

Chef Geoffrey Couper (lovingly known as Cheffrey) is one of the extraordinary instructors at The Okanagan Table. Shown here with Pastry Chef Jason Whitfield (left).

As the weather cools, we tend to retreat back into our kitchens and into slow cooking mode. I also find that there is more time to experiment and learn new methods, so what better time than to sign up for cooking classes and wine school?

Here are some suggestions to pique your interest and p.s: Cooking classes make for wonderful Christmas gifts. What better to give than a delicious experience?

1. Very recently, the legendary RauDZ team has opened a new addition to their restaurant empire. The Okanagan Table in downtown Kelowna is part cooking school, part catering, part restaurant, part take away shop and part event space. Their main goal is to ignite culinary passion with a fun approach to cooking beautiful food. The classes are lead by world-class teachers like Chef Geoffrey Couper and Chef Bernard Casavant (both with their own legendary careers and both former instructors at our Culinary school and Pastry Arts program at Okanagan College. Here you learn to cook like a pro in a beautiful space while sipping wine and eating incredible RauDZ style cuisine. Check out the class schedule here: https://theokanagantable.com

Chef Michael Buffett's Start Fresh Kitchen is so much more than a cooking school- he caters, he farms and he inspires.
Chef Michael Buffett's Start Fresh Kitchen is so much more than a cooking school- he caters, he farms and he inspires.

2. Also in Kelowna, Start Fresh Kitchen has been offering a full calendar of diverse cooking demos and classes in their Landmark District location. Chef Michael Buffett and his team bring in guest chefs and other guests to teach a range of classes from learning how to make ramen and gnocchi to learning how to sous vide and preserve. https://www.startfreshkitchen.ca/

Learn to make croissants at Blue Bunch Farm
Learn to make croissants at Blue Bunch Farm
Image Credit: instagram//BlueBunchFarm

3. Kamloops is now home to Monika Jerger, former owner and baker extraordinaire at Okanagan Grocery in Kelowna. Monika is offering amazing baking classes at her Blue Bunch Farm. Here you can learn to make beautiful bread, croissants and more. She is on Facebook as Bluebunch Farm and her number is (250) 826-2811 to inquire.

French macarons are one of Sandrine's speciality and so fun to learn to make at home!
French macarons are one of Sandrine's speciality and so fun to learn to make at home!
Image Credit: Sandrine French Pastry website

4. Sandrine French Pastry's owner Chef Sandrine Martin-Raffault a wonderful teacher and shares her secrets to making a range of delights from classic French desserts like macarons, cream puffs and for the holiday season, Yule logs. Oui oui! And these classes are hands-on.
https://www.sandrinepastry.com

Chef Roger Gillespie offers wonderful classes at beautiful Hester Creek Estate Winery.
Chef Roger Gillespie offers wonderful classes at beautiful Hester Creek Estate Winery.
Image Credit: Facebook//HesterCreek


5. Down south in wine country, Hester Creek Estate Winery has a beautiful demonstration kitchen and offers some wonderful classes that all include wine pairings, of course. In-house Chef Roger Gillespie is a joy as are some of his guest instructors like Chef Chris Von Hooydonk (Chris also has his own cooking workshops – see next). Book a couples weekend and book one of the gorgeous Hester Creek Villas.  https://hestercreek.com/visit/events/

A sample menu from a custom workshop at Backyard Farm- yes please!
A sample menu from a custom workshop at Backyard Farm- yes please!
Image Credit: Facebook//backyardfarm

6. And for something extra special, book a private workshop or culinary demo with friends or family with Chef Chris Hooydonk at his Backyard Farm in Oliver. The culinary demonstrations here can host up to 20 guests, and the menus are customized. Workshops for up to eight guests and also customized after a personal consult. Each workshop includes a three course menu and wine pairings that the guests help to prepare in a hands on environment in the kitchen. http://backyard-farm.ca

There is a delicious lineup of culinary classes to choose from this winter at Mission Hill Estate Winery
There is a delicious lineup of culinary classes to choose from this winter at Mission Hill Estate Winery
Image Credit: facebook//Culinary Classes at Mission Hill

7. Stunning Mission Hill Estate Winery in West Kelowna has an equally stunning kitchen theatre where they offer a range of cooking demonstrations. This winter check out their international tour with classes featuring the cuisine of France, Greece, Thailand, India, Mexico and Italy as well as a range of other topics like cooking with seafood and a class specifically featuring holiday cuisine called Tis the Season. https://www.missionhillwinery.com/ofsignificance/culinaryworkshops.aspx

When you can't golf, cook! Cooking classes at Predator Ridge will inspire new and delicious dishes to make at home.
When you can't golf, cook! Cooking classes at Predator Ridge will inspire new and delicious dishes to make at home.
Image Credit: contributed

8.  What does golfing have to do with cooking? Predator Ridge is all about lifestyle, and that includes delicious food. Check out their sushi making class or Christmas baking class - would be so fun to do with friends.
https://www.predatorridge.com/blog/dining/okanagan-cooking-classes

Salt crusted sea bream from the Couples Only Seafood class at The Dirty Apron in Vancouver.
Salt crusted sea bream from the Couples Only Seafood class at The Dirty Apron in Vancouver.
Image Credit: Facebook//DirtyApron

9. In Vancouver, The Dirty Apron’s name signifies that this is not a demo kitchen, its hands-on, baby. The extraordinary kitchen stations are stocked to the max – including your own stove so you are really doing the cooking. After the preparation and plating of each dish is finished, students gather at the communal dining to enjoy their creations with a glass of wine.
Vegan, Plant Power, A Julia Child inspired French class — all would be worth a weekender in Vancouver if you don’t live nearby. Classes by day and fooding around Vancouver by night sounds like the perfect getaway. You can also get a group and do a private class or office team building.
https://www.dirtyapron.com/cooking-school/calendar/our-classes

Wine school is the best school - homework is fun too.
Wine school is the best school - homework is fun too.
Image Credit: Facebook//FineVintageltd

10. Now where to get your wine geek on. The WSET (World & Spirit Education Trust) is the mother of all wine schools (and, as the name suggests, it also teaches about other libations). In B.C. we have Fine Vintage offering classes across the country from Vancouver to Calgary to Toronto. Learning includes the opportunity to taste an array of exceptional international wines to really educate your palate. In the Okanagan (and also Vancouver, Vancouver Island and Edmonton) Wine Plus+ also offers the courses that range from the one-day Level 1 program to the 6-day Level 3.
Level 1 would be an awesome gift for your favourite novice wine lover and sure to ignite their passion to continue studies. Or enrol in the program together! 
http://www.wineplus.ca/
https://www.finevintageltd.com/


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