Q: I recently started following a vegan diet but feel completely lost in the kitchen. At this point I find myself eating lots of pasta, rice, and the same vegetables over and over again. I also find myself missing lots of “old” foods I used to enjoy and can’t seem to make good vegan replacements. A friend suggested I look into attending a vegan cooking school or take some vegan cooking classes. Do you have any recommendations on how to choose one? What should I look for?
A: This is a great question and idea. Vegan cooking schools are a great idea for new vegans and vegans with ages of experience. A few great things happen when you attend a vegan cooking class.
First depending on your interests, you will learn great new recipes and new cooking techniques. For example, struggle with satisfying your sweet tooth? Try a vegan dessert cooking class and you can then take what you learn and start cooking all types of vegan desserts. The basic recipes you learn will help you begin to create your own recipes at home. Need to learn how to use new vegetables? Find a class specializing in using seasonal produce. Sick of brown rice and chickpeas? Find a vegan class that specializes in ancient grains. There are all types of specialty classes for beginning to advanced vegan cooks.
Secondly, taking vegan cooking classes is a great way to meet other vegans in your community. It can be hard to be the only vegan around constantly begging friends to try vegan restaurants with you or always settling for the side dishes at dinners. Instead get to know some other vegans who live near you and make new friends. Most cooking classes are extremely interactive, sometimes involve wine or beer, and overall are a really fun time.
Now let’s talk about how to go about choosing a school. Depending on where you live, there will likely be up to 5 types of vegan cooking classes you could consider.
- Vegan only cooking private cooking classes
- Cooking schools with vegan classes
- Culinary arts schools with continuing education classes on vegan techniques
- Night or adult education classes from local universities and community colleges
- Online vegan cooking classes
The class that’s right for you really depends on your budget, purpose for taking the class, and personal preferences. Classes from private cooking schools are likely to be the most expensive. These vegan classes are usually held at their location and include the cost of all ingredients. Many times these classes can average between $50-100 per class depending on where you are located. This normally includes the lesson, a 3-5 course meal that you learn to cook, and many times beer or wine.
Vegan cooking classes at culinary schools are best suite for people looking to learn techniques and truly advance their skills as a vegan cook. The classes normally last 6 weeks to a full semester and will meet weekly. These classes are designed for both the occasional cook and the culinary student. In some places you may be able to find a vegan or vegetarian adult education class at a local university or community classes. These usually meet weekly and usually are very affordable.
Lastly in today’s connected world, there are also online vegan cooking schools. Depending on your current skill set and if you don’t mind losing the social aspect, these can be a great option.
Hope that helps! Readers – do you have any advice regarding the best vegan cooking classes or any personal experiences to share?