Want to learn how to make a new dish at home? Here are five cooking classes you can take online, all led by local chefs
Mexican Cuisine 101
Cook alongside a Top Chef alum while learning the art of Mexican cuisine. Claudette Zepeda launched a cooking club and has a lineup of classes on her website, where she’s teaching how to make everything from pan dulce (July 18) to carnitas estilo Michoacan (July 22) on Zoom in an approachable way. Two days before the class, you’ll receive a shopping list and a note of what equipment you’ll need. If you want to just have a glass of wine and watch, that’s fine too—classes are recorded, and you’ll be sent a link afterward. A portion of the $30 ticket price is donated to No Kid Hungry.
Cook as a Group
Jodi Abel is a self-taught chef, and for the past 12 years she has been teaching group cooking and team-building classes through her company LaJollaCooks4U. Her group classes are now virtual on Zoom: pick either a 60-minute or 90-minute session, and you’ll be given a selection of two or three dishes to make. Contact them for a quote.
Bring a Celebrity Chef Into Your Kitchen
Brian Malarkey has been hosting virtual cooking classes focusing on dishes with Baja and Asian influences, and teaching how to grill meats. During a one-hour class, you learn how to make one entrée and one side dish along with general cooking tips. After you’ve plated your dish, you can show it to him for feedback. Classes are interactive, and you can ask questions through Zoom’s chat feature—he also shares behind-the-scenes info about what it’s like to be on Top Chef. Proceeds from the classes have been going to the PMC Relief Fund. His site has a library of short videos on basic cooking techniques, and he regularly invites guest chefs to cook (virtually) alongside him. On Monday, August 10, the special guest chef is Rocco DiSpirito, who will be showing how to make an authentic Milanese risotto.
Chef Alma Fernanda is a San Diego local who has cooked in restaurants in LA, Mexico City, and Madrid, and she offers virtual cooking classes every Thursday evening that have become popular on both sides of the border. Classes cover a wide variety of cuisines, from traditional Mexican seafood to Mediterranean and Italian, or are focused on specific ingredients. She saves a recording of each class for five days after the live stream so attendees have time to look back for reference. Fernanda conducts her classes predominantly in Spanish. Classes are $25 US per session; email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message her on Instagram to sign up.
A Taste of Tuscany
Chef Giacomo Lenzi moved to San Diego from his native Tuscany, Italy, and launched catering company A Casa Mia. Just before the pandemic he had secured a new event space, but shortly afterward he needed to come up with a new business plan. He launched a virtual cooking school that hosts a class every week, and the price of admission includes an ingredient kit that will be delivered to you the day before the online session. The next class, which covers how to make a pizza from scratch ($40), is on August 7.