Quick! It’s dinnertime, and you’re tired of the same old meals — even your freshest recipes seem a little stale these days. So, what are you making?
You could simply get takeout, or even splurge on a home visit from a talented pro chef if you’re feeling fancy… but isn’t there something so satisfying about cooking your own gourmet meal?
Before you say “But I’m not a chef,” hear us out: Pittsburgh’s culinary counselors are standing by with both virtual and in-person cooking classes for home cooks of all levels and culinary interests. With a bit of guidance from the experts, anyone (yes, even you!) can cook a meal that’s comforting, tasty, and memorable.
Check out some of our favorite local cooking instructors and schools and get ready to add some new favorite meals to your dinner rotation:
Chef Alekka (Virtual)
Chef Alekka Sweeney is a classically trained culinary and pastry expert whose food delivery services and dinner parties are quickly taking over the Pittsburgh foodie scene. If you’re looking for a more personalized, interactive cooking class you can enjoy from home, trying one of her virtual workshop-style classes is a must. As the former owner of Give Me Some Sugar Cooking School in Chicago, Chef Alekka has over a decade of experience teaching food lovers of all experience levels how to make a tasty meal themselves.
Chef Alekka’s virtual classes typically last between two and three hours, and during that time you’ll learn essential tips and techniques for preparing a first-class meal right in your own kitchen. Classes are $35 per screen for small group workshops and include a shopping list for ingredients, and if you’re looking for a unique, custom experience, you can even coordinate a private event session with the chef.
Threadbare Cider House & Meadery (Troy Hill)
Calling all curd nerds: Threadbare Cider House & Meadery is reintroducing their beloved cheesemaking classes this summer, and if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make fresh cheese in your own kitchen, you’ll want to sign up ASAP.
In the past, Threadbare’s resident cheese expert Elise Miranda has hosted groups of cheese lovers at the cider house and walked through the process of making fresh mozzarella, ricotta, and even tasty halloumi cheese. For just $45, attendees will receive a glass of Threadbare cider and an appetizer from the Threadbare kitchen in addition to biscuits and cheese that they make themselves. June’s ricotta class has already sold out, but keep an eye out for future classes on the Threadbare website and sign up as soon as you can — tickets typically go fast!
Gaynor’s School of Cooking (Station Square)
Gaynor’s School of Cooking has been an institution for Pittsburgh food-lovers looking for expert-led cooking classes for many years. After a yearlong hiatus from in-person classes, we were delighted to learn that Gaynor’s will be bringing back its in-person classes for adults and kids on June 19th!
The team at Gaynor’s spent the year renovating their space and dreaming up new classes to offer students of all ages, and the variety of their culinary offerings is impressive. Upcoming classes for adults and families include cheesecakes, hors d’oeuvres, sushi, madeleines and macarons, and a summer grilling spectacular, and their beloved couples night classes that feature a three-course dinner are resuming as well. Also making a triumphant return are Gaynor’s summer camps for kid chefs, which might just convert even the pickiest kiddo into a true gourmand.
Crate (Scott Township)
Crate Kitchenware and Cooking School has been a culinary mainstay in the South Hills for more than four decades, and what better place is there to fall in love with the art of cooking? Crate offers both demonstration-style and hands-on cooking classes, so whether you’re a novice ready to watch an expert chef at work or are an at-home cook looking to deepen your skills, you can find a class that’s just the right fit.
Crate also offers a range of kid-friendly camps and classes as well as virtual courses — perfect for if you just can’t make it to their Scott Township store (even though it’s definitely worth the trip). Plus, don’t forget to take advantage of the 10% discount students get on the day of their class to pick up some essential kitchen supplies that will make replicating your meal at home a breeze!
Enrico Biscotti (Strip District)
Ever dreamed of being a pizzaiolo, slinging fresh pies high in the air and serving them up with the works? You’re in luck because Enrico Biscotti’s pizza-making classes can transport you as if by magic to an authentic Italian pizza shop without ever leaving the Strip.
Enrico Biscotti’s lead pizzaiolo Roy will teach you everything you need to know about making a world-class Neopolitan-style pie in the shop’s brick oven pizza oven. You’ll talk toppings, dough, and even how you can replicate the brick oven style of cooking in your own oven at home. Best of all, the class ends in a family-style dinner with more than enough slices to go around.
Chop, WOK and Talk! (East Liberty)
When Chop, WOK & Talk! opened two decades ago, it was Pittsburgh’s only Southeast Asian cooking school. Now, their ethnic cuisine class offerings have expanded beyond their fusion roots to encompass whatever you’re hungry for: French classics, Southern comforts, Italian favorites, and even Cajun-Creole meals. They’ve even got exciting news: in-person classes resume on August 10th.
If you’re interested in learning more about the cultures behind some of your favorite foods like Moroccan couscous, Thai laksa, and Cajun fried green tomatoes, Chop, WOK & Talk! goes beyond just the recipes to teach you the tricks and tips you need to know to immerse yourself in the cuisine and flavor profiles of vibrant cultures all around the world. If you’d like a more custom menu or are interested in hosting a celebration at Chop, WOK & Talk!, consider booking a private party — make sure to reach out in advance, because they’re going fast!
Market District Cooking School (Robinson)
One of the Robinson Market District’s hidden gems is its state-of-the-art cooking class facility located on the second floor above the store itself. Chefs of all levels are welcome to join Market District’s cooking school instructors as they demonstrate a wide range of recipes using only the freshest ingredients — how much fresher can you get than right inside the fully-stocked grocery store?
Whether you’re looking for a cooking demo, a hands-on workshop-style class, or even a private party, Market District’s one-time courses and their multi-week cooking schools guarantee a fun (and yummy) experience. Of course, the best part is that once you’re all done cooking, you can take a trip through the Market District store to find all the ingredients you’ll need to make the recipes you’ve learned at home and impress your next dinner guests!This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.