How good are online cooking classes?

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Cooking classes can be a great way to learn new techniques or explore an unfamiliar cuisine. They can also introduce you to people who share the same passion or strengthen bonds among friends. But it can be difficult to find a class on a particular subject and busy schedules can also interfere. Enter online cooking classes, which are exploding in popularity. If you wonder how valuable these online offerings are, Becky Krystal at The Washington Post reviewed three different classes to show you their strengths and shortcomings.

The classes range from free online courses to ones with one-time fees to subscription-models classes from America's Test Kitchen. Krystal tried one of each. The results were a mixed bag. In the related article, she explains some of the positives: you work in your own kitchen, learning about your particular equipment. You can also proceed at your own pace, rewinding videos as many times as you need and hitting pause whenever you need a break. There were other pluses to consider, such as being able to choose from thousands of options.

On the other hand, it can be difficult to troubleshoot if something goes awry. There is no one at hand to correct your technique or answer your questions. While some of the courses offered help for an additional fee, such as access to an instructor who can at pictures of your food and address any questions, most sites leave you to fend for yourself or use a peer-to-peer help network.

In the end, Krystal was undecided about whether she preferred online to live classes, explaining that the "experiences made me both wistful for live classes and eager to sign up for another online course. Sometimes you want to be in a room with other people, learning, smelling and tasting along with them. Other times you want to be a hermit and watch an online video at 11 o'clock in the evening while sitting in bed with your dogs." What's your take on online cooking classes?

1 Comment

  • mfto  on  9/17/2015 at 7:25 AM

    I gave my daughter a gift of one of the classes discussed - Homemade Italian Pasta class with Giuliano Hazan. She had married into an Italian family and finally had some time to work on her cooking. She said the teacher does a good job and she was successful at making different flat pasta. He may have taught baked and stuffed pasta but I don't know. I myself can highly recommend a cooking class at Craftsy -Artisan bread making by Peter Reinhart. He had me baking batards and such almost like a pro. My husband was so happy. Reinhart is a pro teacher for sure and never talks down to you but assumes it is natural for you to need lots of help. I still have some lessons to go on dinner rolls, flat breads, rustic breads. Making bread is a winter thing.

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