Cool cooking classes to take or gift this holiday in Central Florida

Cool Cooking Classes to Take or Gift This Holiday in Central Florida

Photo courtesy of Canva

By Cynthia De Saint

November 27, 2023

Trying to think outside the bow-topped gift box for a unique gift that’s sure to delight friends and loved ones—or maybe yourself? Put these classes at the top of your list.

Famous chef and author Julia Child once said, “I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” 

That’s because Child recognized that cooking is not just a chore one does to put food on the table, but an art in itself, and preparing food for yourself or your family is a way to nourish not only the body but the soul as well. 

If, like Julia Child, you would like to do more than just eat, but instead savor the tastes and textures, delight in the aromas, and create wonderful dishes that are a feast to the eyes as well as the taste buds, cooking classes can be a great gift for yourself or loved ones during the holiday season.

But before you don that apron and toque (that’s the fancy way to say chef’s hat), a word to the future chef: Look for a class that you will feel comfortable in. Don’t start out with a gourmet chef class if you’re looking for beginner cooking lessons. You can also look for classes with both cooking and health-based components like those that focus on lowering cholesterol or sugar levels.

Here are five fabulous classes in central Florida that will hone your skills in the kitchen and allow you to explore multiple ingredients and recipes from around the world. 

Truffles & Trifles, Orlando

Named one of the top five cooking schools in the country by the Food Network, 

Truffles and Trifles started 38 years ago with a dream to share the love of cooking and make being in the kitchen fun. 

With her witty sense of humor and Southern charm, founder Marci Arthur and her staff of classically trained chefs make sure that every cooking class is a memorable experience. Depending on which class you choose, you can learn how to make everything from homemade pasta to holiday cookies, as well as learn the more esoteric art of cooking with beer or mastering a buffet dinner party that will wow your guests. 

Couples rave over the date night cooking class, but if “the more, the merrier” is for you, you can also enjoy this unique experience with your friends by scheduling a private party, or let the team at Truffles and Trifles—the first school to be chosen for the Orlando Sentinel’s Culinary Hall of Fame—host a team-building event for your corporation. 

The Gathering Table, Melbourne

If you are a people person who likes sharing magical experiences, this is the place to, well, gather and enjoy a great communal experience. 

Founded on the premise that “it takes a village to get a great meal on the table,” the kitchen—which is set up for guests of all cooking levels—is arranged so everyone gets to cook. While you may not be preparing the entire menu, you do get to enjoy eating the whole menu, because once all the dishes are completed, everyone sits down for a family-style meal.

Worried about making a blunder? Not to worry—every class has a trained Gathering Table instructor and class assistant who will guide you through your culinary experience. Choose from a variety of classes that include various cuisines, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free, just to name a few. 

A word to the wise: If you enjoy a good wine with your class creation, remember that all classes are BYOW, so bring the pairing of your choice or purchase a bottle at Gathering Table’s store.

Sur la Table, Tampa

If you are eager to learn from the experts, Sur la Table’s classes offer a truly immersive adventure in the art of cooking. Their motto: “We create cooks.” That’s because students will learn to master techniques demonstrated by professional chefs and skilled instructors who will walk you through everything, step-by-step, to create delicious menu items. Students will collaborate in groups of up to four at shared workstations stocked with the tools and ingredients to make each recipe. 

With classes like “Dinner, the French Way,” “Exquisite Italian Dining,” and “Build & Take: Winter Wonderland 3-Layer Cake,” you’ll be happy to know that students are allowed to sample a generous portion of their own creations. They will also receive detailed recipes and comprehensive at-home instructions to make sure they can dazzle family and friends with their newly learned skills. 

Sur la Table also offers Dinner Date Night cooking classes, the perfect opportunity to enjoy a hands-on date experience while creating especially delicious memories … as well as some tasty dishes you’ll enjoy together for years to come. 

The Fat Tuscan, Gainesville

Chef Michelle Gioviti grew up in her Italian nonna’s kitchen, watching her grandmother create delicious dishes from simple ingredients. “I learned at an early age that food was a way of life and its preparation was the art to a good life,” said Giovito, adding that the love of food led her to open a place of her own. 

The good news for those who want to learn the art of Italian cuisine? Chef Gioviti incorporates a philosophy of slowly prepared foods with simple ingredients, which is the trademark—if not the cuore (heart)—of the Italian cooking style. This results in the most delicious, bold flavors, done Tuscan-style. 

Teaching, Gioviti says, is her passion because cooking with her students and discussing how food shapes their lives “is the way us Italians have been for centuries; cooking, eating and celebrating together.”

So if you’re interested in learning to make pasta, bread, or lasagna, or just the secrets of your favorite sauces, check out The Fat Tuscan’s monthly schedule of classes. 

The Food Pharmacy, Sarasota

Originally from Bayamón, Puerto Rico, where she developed a love for cooking by her grandmother’s side, Evelisse Capó is a Doctor in Pharmacy as well as a health and nutrition educator. 

Dr. Capó started to question the effectiveness of the conventional pharmaceutical approach to treating diseases, so she decided to inform the community about the benefits of a plant-based diet to prevent and aid in the treatment of cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other common life-threatening conditions. Note that, on her website, she advises to consult your physician prior to changing your diet, adding that the information, data, material contained, or presented is not intended to be taken as medical advice. 

Her personalized cooking classes focus on giving students the skills to make healthy eating fun, delicious, and sustainable for the long haul. She teaches the processes behind cholesterol-free burgers and fries as well as cakes, cookies, and even ice cream without the eggs, dairy, or oil. She also teaches how to make delicious creamy pastas—gluten free, if you prefer. 

Her promise: “You tell us what you love, what you hate, and how you want to make it. We’ll give you the skills to make it happen, effortlessly.”




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