Let’s be honest: There’s only so much banana bread, carrot cake and sourdough you can make. Same with roasted chicken and mac and cheese. If you’ve loved spending more time in the kitchen and you want to step up your game, it may be time to take in some professional instruction—and luckily, you can do that online. Because while the idea of signing up for a cooking class in Tuscany and taking a trip sounds damn delightful—hell, signing up for a cooking class anywhere sounds pretty good right now—traveling far beyond our homes is going to be impractical for the time being. So whether you want to learn basic knife skills or understand the art of sous vide, a number of schools around the country—and world—are literally at your fingertips. Here are five of the best.
If you’re someone who loves dining at the world’s best restaurants, this is your opportunity to join some of the world’s greatest chefs—Massimo Bottura, Alice Waters, Thomas Keller, Gabriela Cámara and Aaron Franklin just to name a few—and learn their skills. For a flat rate of $15 a month (billed annually), you can access a host of on-demand classes. Who wouldn’t want to learn the art of barbecue from Franklin or understand the nuances of cooking with fresh vegetables and herbs from Waters? There’s also mixology with Lynnette Marrero and Ryan Chetiyawardana if you want to take your cocktail skills to the next level. Even Gordon Ramsay returns for a second Masterclass to help you elevate your dining table. And yes, he even swears at you. Worth the $15? We’d say it’s pretty f-ing priceless.
The Chef & The Dish
OK, remember when we talked about flying to Tuscany for that private cooking class? While you may not get on that trans-Atlantic flight anytime soon, you can still gain access to a one-on-one class with a culinary expert halfway around the world … in real time. Make pasta with a chef in the Italian countryside; sushi with a Japanese master; make jambalaya New Orleans style; or pad Thai with someone actually in Thailand. Whether you want to head to Brazil or somewhere in France, these two-plus hour private classes cost $299 for two people ($50 for each additional guest) and you’ll get (virtual) hands-on instruction and roll right into the meal you just made.
ChefSteps Studio Pass
If you’ve ever wondered if molecular gastronomy is something you could do at home, you’re in the right place. This Seattle-based cooking site welcomes those are curious about how and why technology plays a role in the kitchen. With a team comprising chefs, scientists, writers, engineers and more high-level thinkers, ChefSteps offers an understanding of the science behind cooking to help make you a better cook. Period. Want to learn the art of sous vide? How to create fluid gels? Pull the perfect shot of espresso? All here. You can take their free classes (Burgers! Clambake! Poutine!) or for $69 a year get the Studio Pass and pull back the curtain on all the magic.
America’s Test Kitchen
You’ve long been a fan of ATK’s straightforward no-nonsense TV cooking shows and even subscribed to its foolproof magazine, Cook’s Illustrated. Now learn from the experts who spend hours in the actual test kitchen perfecting life’s everyday culinary delights. You can be a total beginner or a seasoned expert as you go through 320-plus courses with 200 videos and 5,000 photos taking you through step-by-step instructions for classic recipes or more cutting-edge techniques. Want basic knife skills? That’s here. Need to perfect your pizza? No problem. When you sign up for the cooking school (three-week free trial then $48 for six months of self-guided membership or $96 to add instructor assistance), you get access to all the classes and photos and can go through them at your own pace while taking quizzes and doing exercises to improve your skills.
Eric Rivera Cooks
How many times have you been out to dinner and had your mind blown only to think, “I could never make this at home”? Too many times to count, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Chef Eric Rivera—an lively personality to say the least—has been wowing diners at his Seattle restaurant Addo for the last couple of years and he wants to show you some of his skills. Rivera, who used to be the director of culinary research at the Alinea Group, takes the professional kitchen perspective and adapts it for the home cook to give people better tools to work with on their own. Learn techniques to make sauces, vegetables, seafood or Rivera’s specialty: Puerto Rican food. Rivera will either send you a shopping list to buy your own ingredients or can ship a full cooking kit to anywhere in the country (or pickup if you’re in the Seattle area). Classes start at $35 to watch and go up to $90 and $125 to get the cooking kit. You may not make a full meal, but you’ll get the skills to learn how to do it next time—and have a blast while doing it.