If you’re looking to take the next step as a cook, lover of food, or teacher, organising a cooking class may be your best way to share your passion for cooking while teaching others the secrets of a delicious meal.
This may be a daunting task at first glance, but that doesn’t mean it has to be. There are many people who are constantly craving baking tips, the best way to prepare a certain meal or even a step by step walkthrough of a brand new recipe. If you’re thinking of starting up your own cooking class, here are my 5 best tips for creating a great one.
1. Picking great recipes
A great place to start when thinking about your cooking class is figuring out what recipes or theme you want to teach to the “students.” This can be a huge decision because it can affect whether or not people will be interested in enrolling in the class and learning from you.
There are tons of great recipes out there, so be sure to consider your selection carefully before moving forward. It may be in your best interest to pick a selection of recipes that make up a whole menu, for example, an entrée, main and dessert, or if you are looking to specialise in a cuisine, then a selection of 4-5 recipes covering starters, a meat or fish dish, a couple of vegetable or salad dishes and a dessert. Choose recipes that allow for hands-on skills, like making pastry and using the pastry to roll individual parcels/tarts or pastries. This gives your students some great hands-on skills and also keeps everyone busy. Another great point to think of is not to have all the recipes with the same cooking method, so perhaps have one recipe that is cooked in the oven, one that is prepared on the stove top, a couple of cold dishes, and one on a bbq hot plate. This will make it easy to divide up the class and for everyone to be part of the cooking process, also it means that you avoid standing around with nothing to do while waiting for everything to get cooked in the oven. Depending on your skill level and your confidence, select recipes that are easy to follow and simple, always think about your students, you may think something is easy but to someone who is not great at cooking, the simplest of skills may be a challenge.
2. Market your class to get people interested
One way of determining the success of your cooking class is gauging how many people express interest and sign up to take it. Try setting up an event page to house the details of your class so people can RSVP, buy tickets and enrol themselves, as well as learn more about the class and the instructor!
This is a great means of organisation for both the instructor and the students. It’s great for centralising all the details in one place, figuring out who’s coming, and even sharing on social media. The shareability aspect of these pages is a great way to drum up some noise for your class online and expand its exposure to people who wouldn’t normally encounter it.
3. Become an expert
Although it may seem obvious, mastering your style of cooking or recipe you plan to teach is essential going into the class. You want to be able to speak confidently about the things you’re doing and why you’re doing them, which will establish trust as well with the students.
Not only will it grant you credibility, but it will allow the students to expand their horizons and learn more information from you, which ultimately what you want.
4. Get to know your students and help them
Becoming personal with your students is a great way to stimulate their learning and get the best out of their cooking potential. If you’re able to, get to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each student so you can adjust your style of teaching to meet their needs.
This may be tough in larger classes, but see if you can try conversing with each student for at least a couple minutes to see what their cooking experience consists of, and what they hope to get out of the class.
Having these exchanges can be extremely valuable in regards to teaching the best class possible and providing the most effective cooking insight to those who want it.
5. Be organised
There can be a lot of preparation and chaos before the day of the class, so maintaining personal organisation will make sure everything runs smoothly. Actions like creating an order list of ingredients based on the number of students and setting your budget, do up a preparation list of anything that needs to be prepared before the class. This makes it easier to do the whole” here is one I prepared earlier” this is particularly ideal if you are making any deserts that need setting, ice cream that needs to chill, or items that may need overnight marinating or slow braising. Having a written flow of work for yourself is also a great way to stay on track, giving you an idea of what recipes will be started first by which students and how you will facilitate the class to keep it all running on time, take into consideration the cooking, preparing and if needed the chilling down on dishes, as this will be important in the running of the class and fitting it into your designated time schedule. Writing up a summary sheet for the students to follow, is a great idea although handing out of the recipes and getting students to follow the recipe is ok for school-based students but offering a cooking class to the general public coming in to learn a particular skill and just handing them a recipe to follow will not appreciate as they are coming to your class to learn off your experience and culinary skills. So it’s a good idea for you to facilitate and guide the class and have the recipes printed to hand out at the end of the class.
At Putia Cooking School, Dominique’s experienced team of chef facilitators offer a bespoke range of cooking classes. The best thing? After all that cooking, participants sit down on the beautiful deck and enjoy the fruits of their labour.
Where do you sign up for a class? Right here, select your class and book online. It’s that simple.
Cover image by David Billings on Unspash.