When it comes to cooking, my family and I are all at different stages. My mom’s a phenomenal chef. My siblings and I enjoy whipping up a meal, but we also enjoy convenience. (Let's just say I'm good friends with the air fryer.) When we're home all together, we often go to in-person cooking classes, trying our hand at baking fluffy croissants or cooking authentic pad Thai. My mom is big on capital-a Activities, and the experiences are three-in-one: a new skill, treasured time together, and a satisfying meal.
But my dad’s version of making dinner is queueing up UberEats or popping a frozen pizza in the oven. So with Father's Day around the corner, what better way to sharpen his chef skills with an in-person or online cooking class that will bring us together, whether we're physically together or not.
Cooking classes force us to disconnect in a way a recipe doesn’t. We’re more likely to opt for more time-consuming or elaborate dishes in the test kitchen—luxuries we wouldn’t afford ourselves otherwise. They're also educational. Each cooking course my siblings and I have taken leaves us more capable—no matter our skill level—and feeling closer. Psych studies also teach us about effort heuristic: we give more value to things, or meals, we make ourselves. All in all, they've got the making of a wonderful Father's Day gift we can all enjoy, no matter the month of the year. (Or no matter where we all end up.)
Thanks to the wonders of technology, families can cook together from across the world. Many chefs, restaurants, brands, and retailers have moved courses online. Since my family is scattered across cities and time zones, the virtual cooking class is beneficial to getting us all together, while still allowing Dad to fine tune his chops. Here are I've got my eye on for June 18, and beyond.
Virtual cooking classes that'll bring the family together on Father's Day
My family takes in-person classes at Sur La Table—and they keep us coming back. The instructors are friendly, the dishes are challenging yet doable, placing emphasis on how to effectively recreate your results later without someone leading you step-by-step through the process.
Their virtual classes retain the approachability and enthusiasm—and with a delicious result. Better yet, their price (starting at $29) is per household, meaning you can cram as many people as you want into your kitchen for the Zoom course. I’m eyeing this Online Spanish Favorites: Paella & Gazpacho course.
We’ve browsed AirBnB Experiences on vacation, poring over location-specific tours and activities. When they went online, the options were surprising and thrilling; we could “travel” together from our kitchen by recreating global cuisine. Think: A Venice-based tiramisu lesson ($22/person) that looks positively mouth-watering. Or a chai tea class ($14/person) from Jaipur, India? With hundreds of different hosts, you can easily shop within budget; most classes operate with a per-person cost.
Who would we be if we didn’t include the man, the myth, the legend, Gordon Ramsay? This multi-Michelin starred chef is best known for his scathing critique in his Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef shows—but we promise, his MasterClass is significantly kinder. My dad finds him hilarious. At $25/month, the MasterClass option is also über-friendly on your wallet.
For $49/class per connection, you can learn the craft of homemade pasta from an authentic Italian grandmother. Nonna Live is operated by founder Chiara Nicolanti and her grandmother Nerina Tamanti in their small village outside of Rome.
Thursday through Sunday, they offer a different pasta variety each night, with Nonna Nerina encouraging you each step of the way. Beforehand, you’ll receive her translated notes to help you prepare. If you’d rather schedule your own, you can book privately ($399 for up to 10 connections, $599 for up to 20, etc,.) or take a prerecorded on-demand course. For each class taken, they donate a meal to a child in need.
Over the past two years, they’ve hosted over 4,000 travelers in their kitchen, and have even created a “La Famiglia” subscription ($99/month) if you’d like to take unlimited classes monthly. My family just signed up to make Gnocchi alla Sorrentina.
Whether you’re treating Dad to online mixology classes or a private, culinary experience for him and Mom to enjoy, CozyMeal has got you covered. There are virtually endless options for you to shop, allowing you to find a gift that’ll meet your Dad’s skills, expectations, and interests.
If you’re going the digital route, CozyMeal charges by device, starting at $29, making it an affordable way for families in different states or time zones to celebrate together.
This early-stage app claims to be the “Duolingo of cooking,” teaching you maintainable and buildable cooking skills every day. The goal? To get you in your kitchen. For the family who doesn’t need an elaborate event but prefers a routine together, Zest ($9.99/month) is an excellent option that proves the power of consistency.
Better yet, the app keeps track of which ingredients you’ve bought and times its recipe cycles so that you use them all up. Bye-bye, rotted produce! Zest is still building out its library and is currently only available on iOS, but we’ve been impressed with the caliber of its explanations.
Not to brag, but we’re pretty proud of our Cook With Us series, in which a pro chef walks you through healthy meals in thirty minutes or less. Oh, and did we mention it’s free? Check out this playlist of summer dinner recipes to get started. (My personal favorite: Easy Chicken Tostadas.)
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