We have an urge to eat – we must eat, we want to eat. Eating is more important than sex!
Eating is a necessity, but cooking… that’s an art.
Food is not only life-critical but it also connects us to other essential areas of your life, most notably socially. Gathering around a table to share a meal with your friends and family is profound. It can be just as deep an experience with strangers as well. Even weddings and funerals arguably evolve around buffets!
I’m a big foodie and I’m pretty adventurous. Not that I’m anything like Andrew Zimmern. I can eat some bugs but not any eyes LOL I like patés and livers but I’m no big fan of offal. I guess I’m more of a curious explorer than a bizarre food adventurer.
For me, there’s nothing quite like walking between stalls in Thailand or Vietnam and trying to find something new and interesting. My wife and I have literally cried while eating the otherworldly pho made by Anthony Bourdain’s soup lady at the Hoi An market.
We went back several times hoping that my wife would be able to pick out some of her secrets but to no avail. Obviously, you need to know the recipe and the techniques. The secret sauce would make little to no difference until you get the basic skill down first. And that takes practice.
As much as I like eating and culinary exploration, I am a pretty bad cook. I don’t even try unless I absolutely have to. I do the heavy lifting instead – I go shopping and do the dishes. But I feel blessed and lucky that my wife loves it, being a creative person that she is. So I have plenty of second-hand experience with learning and I’ve gone online many times to help her improve and expand her skills.
Below are some of the results we’ve gathered over the years.
It’s interesting how with food, like in sex, we have very particular tastes about what we like, what turns us on, and what makes us happy and fulfilled. Yet, sex is almost always an intimate affair, and eating is almost always a group event. Boy, this sentence could go places LOL And while we’re at sex, cooking is similarly an extension of love. Or it can be, at its best.
For the same reasons, I found it impossible to pick a few courses and say, “Here are the best ones. Now go learn”. There are way too many interests and particular areas of expertise that one might get into.
So for this list of best courses, I decided to not go too deep. Instead, I curated the best courses I could find in different areas and topics and will let you decide what the best fit for you is.
I’ll provide you with some overall guidance and include some current ratings, where applicable. Keep in mind that these oscillate on a weekly basis.
Also, I am a big fan of getting the best bang for the buck, so I’ll start with some more premium offers and continue down to better deals. There are plenty of subscription-based cooking courses you can take that it would be a shame to spend money on any particular course. That is unless it’s something you are specifically interested in. Even then, there are choices that give you hours of training, so I’ll try to include course durations so you can gauge the course value in terms of the amount of information.
Obviously, it’s not all about quantity and even if rated well, these courses vary widely in their production qualities. But don’t let that stop you from paying attention and learning.
The greatest challenge in taking an online course vs. going to culinary school or a live cooking class is that there is nobody there to correct you along the way. For this reason, if you are a beginner, I would strongly recommend you start with some courses that will give you general knowledge rather than specific recipes.
However, I do realize that cooking is time-consuming and very few of us have a lot of time to spare. So you may just have to go with learning how to make specific dishes and take it from there. And you know, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that approach either. Either way, you will learn but only if you practice.
Information is not knowledge and knowledge is not a skill.
No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing – Julia Child
Best Online Cooking Classes
The Rolls Royce of online learning, MasterClass has been setting the new standard for the course quality and the level of presenter expertise. OK, the second part is unfair to many other online teachers. But they are in a class of their own by having their classes taught by the most recognized names in their respective fields, stars really!
While they don’t have a huge number of courses, I have mentioned MasterClass in other reviews and it is no different when it comes to cooking. What makes them the “premium choice” is not that they are so slick but simply that their prices are higher. But they also offer an affordable yearly membership. And at double the price of any single course, the yearly access makes complete financial sense.
At the time of my MasterClass review, there are more culinary-related courses, but only four chefs are presenting cooking classes: Gordon Ramsey, Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Keller, and Alice Waters. They are all great cooks with their particular areas of expertise, strength, and weakness.
I think that the two most essential classes not just for MasterClass but overall for this list of cooking courses are by far Thomas Keller’s Cooking Techniques I and Cooking Techniques II. The first course covers vegetables, pasta, and eggs; the second one goes over meats, stocks, and sauces.
Keller’s classes are focused on and organized around techniques and not recipes. This is where he differs from pretty much all other courses on this list.
While his presentation is calm yet filled with passion, I must admit that he’s not as well versed at speaking to the camera as the other MasterClass chefs. However, that did not bother me much. His “umms” can be distracting at times, but he delivers soo much valuable knowledge and easily makes up for any minor shortcomings. In case you didn’t know, he is the only American chef that was awarded multiple three-star Michelin ratings at the same time for two of his restaurants. This guy knows his sh!t.
If you’re looking to gain overall cooking knowledge and learn proper techniques for handling and cooking different types of food, these are the two courses you should attend. If you were to take only one or two courses, this is it! And being that you’d get a yearly access pass, then you don’t want to miss the rest of the MasterClass cooking courses.
Gordon Ramsey is the biggest star here and is the best presenter. And if you are not too familiar with the real Ramsey, he is nothing like that character you’ve seen in Hell’s Kitchen! He certainly won’t be yelling at you – though it would probably be helpful at times LOL He does curse plenty though.
Apart from his story and introduction, the lessons in his masterclass are of three types: Methods, Mastering Ingredients, and Make. Methods show you specific cooking skills, Ingredients are skills related to a particular type of food or dishes, and Make are the recipes where you follow the process of creating a specific dish.
Gordon now also has a class called Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking II: Restaurant Recipes At Home that aims to bring dining experiences to your home kitchen.
Wolfgang Puck is very exciting and bold, and very much in line with his personality, so is his course. While he doesn’t use any crazy cooking gear, I was surprised by how many ingredients his dishes have. But don’t let that deter you! His overall approach is kind of simple.
He has a great way of teaching and you will pick up tons of knowledge from this master chef! Wolfgang is such a friendly and down to earth guy that all the info he gives you seems to stick even better. I’m a big fan, now even more so than before!
Last but certainly not least, Alice Waters is very calm and literally down to earth. The unique angle of her cooking class has to do with her cooking philosophy of getting really close to the ingredients and the people who grow them. Alice’s recipes are simple and she stresses seasonality a lot!
If you’re not familiar with her, Alice Waters is a well-known Californian chef, author, and restaurant owner who is all about using only locally grown organic ingredients. If you are more interested in farm-to-table cooking and being in sync with nature, this is the course for you.
I should probably remind you that applying practical knowledge from any of these courses will require buying some additional tools, ingredients, or even cookbooks. Maybe not necessarily “require” but it is very easy to get addicted to the wonderful world that opens up once you’ve been shown how to master it. You can expect some additional expenses for the kitchen, no matter which of the courses on this page you end up taking.
All of these courses are incredibly valuable and you can easily binge watch them first and then take the time during your yearly membership to practice and become a master of your own kitchen domain!
- Thomas Keller Teaches Cooking Techniques I: Vegetables, Pasta, and Eggs
- Thomas Keller Teaches Cooking Techniques II: Meats, Stocks, and Sauces
- Gordon Ramsey Teaches Cooking I
- Gordon Ramsey Teaches Cooking II: Restaurant Recipes at Home
- Wolfgang Puck Teaches Cooking
- Alice Waters Teaches the Art of Home Cooking
Where would online learning be without Udemy? OK, it’s not necessarily the ultimate solution for all our educational needs. But it excels when you have a particular itch to scratch and need to get a good deal.
Granted, it’s not literally the best deal because you pay per class and there is no subscription option. But being that most classes are usually priced at $10, you still get a huge bang for the buck. And you get to keep the course forever and not lose access to it when your subscription lapses. So there!
I love their platform and to be honest, I’m used to it. I also like the peace of mind they give me. If I should run into any course that’s particularly bad or not delivering as promised, I can always get my money back.
Here are some of my favorite courses and finds.
General Cooking Courses
- Cooking Lessons for Dad: Learn to Cook Food the Easy Way! (4.7 / 7 hours)
- Essential Cooking Skills (4.4 / 1.5 hours)
- More Essential Cooking Skills (4.4 / 2 hours)
- Cook Like A Man: Cooking for a Dinner Date (4.6 / 1.5 hours)
- Healthy Cooking Fundamentals by Chef Nic DeMuth (4.5 / 1.5 hours)
- Healthy Cooking Fundamentals by Cathy Erway (4.3 / 2.5 hours)
- Herbalism :: Herbs and Foods for Long-term Health (4.7 / 1 hour)
- No Oil Cooking Recipes – Eat Healthy! Live Strong! (4.1 / 3.5 hours)
- The Busy Mom’s Complete Guide to Healthy Breakfast (5.0 / 1.5 hours)
- Cook Like a Wok Star! (5.0 / 1.5 hours)
- Interactive Thai Cooking Class (4.7 / 4 hours)
- Indian Culinary World – Master the art of Indian Cooking (4.4 / 4 hours)
- Basic Italian Cooking Skills (4.7 / 1.5 hours)
- Moroccan Cooking World – tajine, couscous and more (5.0 / 1.5 hours)
- Kosher Cooking Secrets – Mom’s easy to make homemade food (4.7 / 1 hour)
- 92 Best Authentic Japanese Food Recipes Cooking Class (4.3 / 8 hours)
- The Most Comprehensive Sushi Course Online (4.8 / 2.5 hours)
Maybe you have no idea what Bluprint is. Or maybe you know them under the old Craftsy name. They’ve been around since 2010 and are now owned by NBC Universal.
Craftsy has always been centered around quilting and Bluprint is definitely not only for cooking. This great site has lots of arts and crafts classes as well as baking and “caking” which I’m not even mentioning in this review. Otherwise, this would become one ginormous article!
Now as Bluprint, they’ve been adding videos for fitness, dance, yoga, home decoration, family etc. So you really get a lot more than just cooking. But let’s stick with that. A simple search for “cooking” currently pulls up almost 1,400 results!
There are classes on steaks, pork, chicken, cast iron cooking, cooking for weight loss, diabetes, even junior cooking! There are whole seasons of Jamie Oliver’s “The Naked Chef” and programming from Bravo. There’s a 15-minute class on cooking vegetables and the same chef has an almost 10-hour-long course on Mediterranean cooking. Really, if you can think of it, they probably have it!
Their excellent search engine can help you find courses appropriate for your level, certain type of cuisine, food, or even an event you might be preparing for. Thanks to their parent company, you will recognize names from Today and other NBC shows such as Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons as well as top chefs like Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver. It’s almost like a TV channel subscription!
You can buy individual classes to own forever, but that would add up quickly. Instead, you should join on a monthly basis and switch to yearly and save even more if you decide it’s worth it for you. They have thousands of hours of broadcast-quality video courses and plenty of it for cooking, baking, and cake decoration. For each month that you’re a member, you can choose one course to own forever. So as soon as you pay your dirt cheap yearly membership, you get 12 credits to pick the keepers. Sweet!
Do not miss this gem at MyBluprint.com
We normally go to SkillShare for creative, business, and technology classes. This is a great site with thousands of high-quality courses. But it turns out that they have hundreds of culinary courses as well!
If you have the time to devour tons of information, SkillShare gives you more bang for the buck than Udemy does. For the price of one Udemy course, you get a whole month of education. As pointed out before, you will no longer have access to the courses in subscription-based services once your membership runs out. But for most uses, lifetime access is not necessary.
There are currently over 500 culinary courses on SkillShare. Not all of them are cooking-related as there are courses on coffee and baking or specialized topics such as making jams, brewing kombucha, and even making legal moonshine!
The course durations differ greatly but you will not find many that are hours long. But you can pinpoint a particular skill or dish and skyrocket your knowledge on a budget. You can find courses by Nicoletta Grippo, the head chef at Eataly in NYC and quite a few original SkillShare productions that you won’t be able to see anywhere.
I’ve also found a great three-part Thai food course that is also available on Udemy. If you were to get it there, it would cost you two or three months worth of SkillShare membership.
Finally, you may want to consider what other courses you get with your membership. There are so many business, programming, and digital art courses on SkillShare that it may make great sense to get it for all the non-culinary extras.
Besides, SkillShare is free to join and a number of courses are available for free. The best stuff is all premium, but you’ll be able to get a sense of whether you like the platform and their excellent selection of varied topics.
Check out SkillShare today.
We live in the most interesting of times, especially when it comes to learning and personal development. Take any possible interest and you will find so many resources available at your fingertips. It’s inexpensive, of good quality, and is available immediately. And it’s also very specific.
Online cooking courses are a great example of how the world has truly become our oyster. The selections I presented above are the best that I could find. The four different platforms have something for everyone. The choices are amazing!
Maybe you’ll have a hard time choosing, but there’s no reason to wait. And the costs are for the most part so affordable that you can take a few and run with it right now. Even if you can’t make up your mind, grab one of the subscriptions and get started.
The late great Anthony Bourdain said, “The way you make an omelet reveals your character.” Why not improve both? You can and should be building your character and you can certainly sharpen your cooking skills. If you want to, there are no more excuses not to.