Eat & DrinkNew York

Free Cooking Classes at Williams Sonoma

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It’s hard to be a thrifty foodie who loves to cook in NYC. It’s especially hard when the cooking skills your parents passed down were more along the lines of “Go to Sam’s Club. Buy food. Go home. Stick whatever family-sized entree you bought at Sam’s Club into oven. Press Bake. Enjoy when ready. And whatever you do, don’t look at the Nutrition Facts on the box.”

There is a lot in the world of cooking that I should know, but cooking classes at spots like the Institute of Culinary Education (while worth it; I took a baking class there that finally helped me stop making off-color chocolate cookies) hover around the $100 mark for one and much more for an extended series. I’ve also tried out the Brooklyn Kitchen for around $45, but it’s lack of kinetic learning reminded me of the classes I’d taken before at every amateur cook’s favorite “Will I ever be fancy enough to justify spending this much on a Spatula?” store Williams Sonoma for absolutely free.

The classes take place at 11AM on Sundays and usually last around an hour. They involve one instructor providing demonstrations to a group that caps at around 20 (you must call ahead to the store to reserve your spot), during which he’ll cover the subject at hand – such as braising, knife skills, seasoning, etc – and answer any spectator questions along the way. You’ll get papers with the information covered, recipes to take home, and samples of the food being made during the class. You just have to bring a pen, appetite, and maybe heels in case you’re as short as me.

I believe W&S offers free classes in other cities but New Yorkers are fortunate to have many store locations to decide which will be less crowded. I picked the Chelsea location in the past, but will probably go to the midtown stores from now on because it occurred to me that most New Yorkers won’t brave a midtown store on a weekend for the sheer fact of having to fighting tourists and their mustard-dripping soft pretzels along the way. Whichever you choose, just remember: just because you know how to make something better doesn’t mean that sometimes it’s not okay to do your parents proud and have a bowl of corn flakes for dinner instead.

Williams Sonoma Free Cooking Classes
Check for NYC Locations HERE

Photo Credit: Slash/Food

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Jill S.

Jill S.

Jill is an Ohio native and Boston University graduate who refuses to stop saying "pop" and wearing her Red Sox gear despite being heckled for doing so since moving to Brooklyn. She's been honing her thrifty ways since doing that silly thing people talk about when they ignore reason to follow their hearts and chose a career in the fulfilling but faltering music industry. She earns her beer money as a publicist and writer, and spends her spare time cooking, biking, and trying to decide if she's ready to get a cat.