Remember the days when cooking used to be fun? Maybe not, but for me, cooking was a fun challenge for many years. However, recently I’ve just been done with the chore of putting food on the table every night. And now, when restaurants are closed and take out options are limited, I’m hating it even more. But we need to eat. And we need to have fun.

So let’s make cooking fun again. Use it as a date night. Or start with one of these virtual wine tastings and move into one of these virtual cooking classes. Maybe use it as a way to connect with friends that you are missing and do it as a shared experience?

Pick a theme or cuisine, try something new, sample different online classes, both free and paid. It will support local chefs, restaurants, and tour companies that are going through hard times right now. Plus, it might just make cooking fun again. At the very least, it is something different to do beyond Netflix.

Virtual Cooking Classes

Pastel de Nata Baking Class

If you have ever visited Portugal, you will have fallen in love with the Portuguese custard tarts, Pastel de Nata. Now you can learn to bake these from home with a virtual baking class with pastry chef & bakery owner João, live from the kitchen of their family bakery. Classes take place over Zoom and one booking is good for the whole household for 15 euro, just register online via Eventbrite.

The class will covering making puff pastry from scratch and demystify the process. But if you would rather keep it simple, they will also show you how to make the most of store-bought pastry. Once you register, you will receive a detailed list of ingredients and the quantities you’ll need to make this recipe at home. Don’t worry – they are all simple things you probably already have at home!

Tapas, Italian & French with The Tour Guy

To help support the ailing hospitality industry, European and US-based small group tour company, The Tour Guy ( which has offices in Rome, Paris & Philadelphia), has partnered with BigMarker to launch Live Virtual Cooking Experiences. These virtual experiences bring award-winning local and International chefs straight into your kitchen, for an hour-long, live, interactive cooking class. You can even ask them questions as they show you how to re-create their dishes at home.

Classes are $22 per person and are held every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (times vary.) Sign up for the class and a grocery list and recipe will be emailed to you and cook along with the chef.

Pasta & Pizza with Walks of Italy

cracking eggs into flour
Image courtesy of Walks

Tour operator Walks have rolled out a series of virtual tours and experiences, including online cooking classes including pizza making, fresh pasta, and gnocchi. These sessions are reasonably priced at $10 and include a $25 voucher for a future Walks tour valid for the next tour years. These are a great way to support local tour guides.

European Cooking with Devour Tours

Devour Tours operates food tours in cities across Europe. They have been doing free Facebook Live events including tutorials on things like how to make Basque cheesecake or Andulican salmorejo. They also just introduced new paid online experiences such as “How to pair wine and cheese like a Parisian” and “The History of England in 10 Dishes.” These are available to register online for 19 euro. Devour Tours has also put together a digital cook book with over 50 easy-to-follow, iconic recipes compiled by their tour guides in eight European cities.

Cooking Skills with Culinary Institute of America

Whether you want to up your knife skills game, learn to cook the perfect stir fry, or make a home-made chicken broth, the chefs and instructors at the Culinary Institute of America offer free video resources and an online campus tour. This venerable cooking school has launched the careers of many famous chefs, maybe you are next?

Taiwanese Cooking with CookInn Taiwan

Bao bun, rice and bubble tea
Image courtesy of CookInn Taiwan

To showcase Taiwan’s incredible breadth of flavors and cooking techniques, CookInn Taiwan has launched a virtual culinary program. Foodies at home can learn how to make fun, easy and delicious Taiwanese dishes from their own kitchens. The program includes several famous Taiwanese local delicacies such as scallion pancakes, bubble milk tea, gua bao and dumplings. Experienced instructors share each step while interacting with participants in real-time for a truly authentic, local experience. Classes are $33 per person and you can see the schedule and register online.

Cooking Jamaican with Couples

Couples Resorts in Jamaica is hosting live, weekly culinary demonstrations on their Facebook page on Wednesdays at noon. Each week will feature a signature dish offered at one of their four adults-only properties such as marinated mango, roasted pumpkin soup, and escovitch fish with corn fritters. When you can’t make your Caribbean beachfront getaway a reality, you can incorporate the flavorful recipes from the chefs at Couples Resorts into your kitchen with the step by step instructions provided during Cook with Couples.

Pantry Challenge with Museum of Food and Drink

Every Friday, join MOFAD chef and champion of Food Network’s Chopped, Eric Kwan on Instagram Live at 3pm ET. Send an email with subject line PANTRY CHALLENGE to info@mofad.org with your pantry ingredients (no more than 5 please) and tune in on Friday to watch Chef Eric come up with an inspired recipe that you can make at home.

French Cooking with Les Petits Farcis

Nice cooking school Les Petits Farcis recently launched a series of virtual cooking classes inspired by the Tour de France. The classes take place weekly April through June. This series covers eight different French regions, with a main course and a dessert for each, plus wine pairings from our sommelier Viktorija, who will be there during the class.

Japanese Cuisine with Nourishing Japan Kitchen

Want to learn more about Japanese cooking? Join Alexis Agliano Sanborn in the “Nourishing Japan Kitchen” for a virtual cooking class to learn more about healthy eating inspired by Japanese customs. Alexis is the director and producer behind ‘Nourishing Japan,’ a documentary short which explores food education and the Japanese school lunch system. This free session will take place on May 14, 2020 at 5:30 pm at Dyckman Farmhouse at Home.

The Gourmandise School of Sweets & Savories

Clemence Gossett headshot
Image courtesy of The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories

The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories, a renowned cooking and baking school located at Santa Monica Place in California, has opened their virtual doors to a series of online cooking and baking tutorials for all ages to participate in during the shelter-at-home. Chef Clemence, co-owner of the famous school, has taken to the School’s YouTube (@TheGourmandiseSchool) and Instagram IGTV (@gourmandisela) to share delicious recipes as well as tips and tricks to buying the best ingredients.

Guests are invited to follow along as Chef takes them through homemade bread making as well as fresh spring-inspired dishes. The Gourmandise School’s virtual classes are scheduled through May 15 and are available at ANY time to the public via their social media. Step-by-step recipes to try at home will be available on their Blog with a chance to send in any questions that may come up to their hotline (hotline@thegourmandiseschool.com).

Cooking Skills with The Brooklyn Kitchen

The Brooklyn Kitchen is offering online cooking classes in knife skills, fresh pasta, dumplings, brunch at home, Middle Eastern, hand pulled noodles and more. Classes are available on a sliding scale from $20-40, with scholarships available for those in need. Register and find out about future classes on thebrooklynkitchen.com.

Private Cooking Lessons with Key2MIA

Chef Brandon, image courtesy of Key2MIA

This virtual experience from tourism company Key2MIA in Miami brings a private chef into your home for one hour of interactive cooking. Chef Brandon guides you through the basics, ensures you follow the recipe (provided in advance) and teaches you amazing cooking techniques to create an unforgettable dinner. This is perfect for either a family fun or date night. 

This culinary experience is booked by request and is $20 per household. Simply contact Key2MIA with the requested date and time, if available, you’ll be sent a link to process payment and reserve your virtual seat. 

Coffee Classes with The Ranch at Laguna Beach

The Ranch at Laguna Beach is currently closed due to COVID, but the property’s General Manager, Kurt Bjorkman, has been hosting virtual “Coffee with Kurt” classes to engage guests and provide a dose of positivity. The classes are hosted live on Instagram every Tuesday on Kurt’s IGTV account. The classes have ranged from a Dalgona Coffee class hosted from the resort’s Treehouse Suite, to an AeroPress Coffee Class held live from the resort’s hot tub. The classes are free and will be held every Tuesday through May.

Fried Chicken with Montage Palmetto Bluff

Nestled in a lush, 20,000-acre coastal nature preserve between Hilton Head Island and Savannah, luxury resort Montage Palmetto Bluff offers authentic Southern cuisine across a collection of on-property dining venues. Overseeing the resort’s culinary operations, Executive Chef Nathan Beriau teaches viewers how to make “Mrs. Shirley’s Fried Chicken,”in a series of instructional videos, providing culinary inspiration during self-isolation. This recipe is the ultimate comfort dish, paying homage to the deep-rooted traditions and history of the Lowcountry. Watch the videos and download the step-by-step instructions by Executive Chef Nathan Beriau.

Chefinars with Avital Food Tours

Avital Food Tours (based in San Francisco and Los Angeles) is offering virtual chefinars and remote culinary team building. These 1-hour “chefinars” feature a virtual seminar with a local chef or restauranter who leads guests through a recipe. Guests can cook along with the chef or be in the moment and cook the recipe later.

Cooking Classes with Chef Alyssa

Chef Alyssa, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, run private, group, family, and kids cooking classes. During this time, she is hosting live classes from her home kitchen for just $15. These classes are designed to accommodate cooks at every skill level and cover topics like gumbo, meringues, cast iron cooking, Cinco de Mayo, and beignets. Register online in advance.

Italian & Peruvian with The Table Less Traveled

The Table Less Traveled, a Seattle-based tour operator of culinary trips is offering a full calendar of live, donation-based cooking classes with select chefs teaching Italian and Peruvian cooking from their kitchen to yours.    
These session are live from Italy and Peru, allowing you to connect directly with chefs, create authentic cuisine, and hear about current life in those countries (all in English). You can register online with multiple course options — from pasta making to ceviche to risotto. Private courses are also available for birthdays or virtual corporate team building.

Cooking for Kids with Feast it Forward

Feast It Forward, a charitably minded showroom with 16 tasting rooms and a live studio, is hosting Kids Kitchen Recess. The Facebook Live series airs every Wednesday and features founder Katie Hamilton Shaffer and her 6-year-old and 3-year-old daughters sharing crafty ideas, cooking tips, interactive worksheets, local restaurant delivery options and reviews.

Cooking for Kids with The Sylvia Center

The Sylvia Center is a New York City based non-profit that teaches nutrition and healthy cooking skills to children and their families in underserved neighborhoods throughout New York City and in Colombia Co., NY. The Sylvia Center has served more than 23,000 children and teens with hands-on experiences in community kitchens and at Katchkie Farm.NY. During this time, the center has pivoted to creating new online content including home-based kitchen tutorials including recipes for dishes and instructions for kitchen hacks like growing herbs. New content is added every Monday.

They also offer cooking tutorials and fun activities that are filmed on Katchkie Farm, an organic farm in upstate New York. New content in this series is added every Friday. All session are free with no registration, just  go to https://www.sylviacenter.org/keep-our-kids-cooking/ and the click on Home-Based Tutorials or On the Farm under Categories.