EDU-CATION - Cooking classes in the South!

Feel like showing off your inner “Top Chef” on vacation? Those recreational and fun cooking classes and tours will reveal the secrets of cooking, in nice, Southern environments and with plenty of inspiration. So, if you have some time and a few dollars to spare, here is a list of some cooking you could do:
Dallas-based June Naylor and Cynthia Wahl organize regularly cooking classes and culinary tours in  the Dallas area. Among several programs, one is a cooking event called a Food Fight!, an instructional cooking party organized as a special event for a group of friends, colleagues and family. You will work with a chef at his or her restaurant, dividing the group into teams. Participants receive coaching from chefs and get guidance on technique. There's often a wine-pairing or cocktail crafting component too. A different event is called Menu Magic, in which the group is split into teams with each team making one of three or four courses, following the chef's recipes and with help from the chefs. At the conclusion of both events, a winning team is announced and everyone participating sits down to a meal.

Those events are scheduled for weekend afternoons and during holiday breaks. The chefs the participants work with most often are Grady Spears of Grady's Restaurant, Fort Worth; Louis Lambert at Lambert's, Fort Worth; Lanny Lancarte II at Lanny's Alta Cocina, Fort Worth; and Brian Olenjack, Olenjack's Grille, Arlington.
Tailoring special classes to clients' requests can be organized with just about 10 days' notice - though more time is much appreciated.

Reality Cooking at Chef Allen's - Be A Chef for A Day is an ideal one afternoon class for those who would like to try working in a Top restaurant for the day. For one evening you can chop, dice and sauté your way around Chef Allen's kitchen. For the novice cook or fledging gourmet, Chef Allen and his highly trained Chefs will guide you through the principles of fundamental cooking methods that you can depend on for a lifetime. The day begins with a discussion of food and culinary philosophy with Chef Allen. Then you will proceed to the kitchen for a half-day of hands on instruction and participation in restaurant activities that are tailored to your personal interests.
The price does not come cheap; it will cost you $195 for the day for one person for a class of two. Expect to spend about 4.30 hours in the kitchen.
19088 N.E. 29th Ave, Aventura, Florida


If you want to explore cooking in a wok in a casual way, Wok Star Cooking Classes with Eleanor Hoh is a good idea. Eleanor Hoh teaches you how to make an easy, one dish, wok dinner using a lightweight cast iron wok. Her no recipe, no measuring approach is perfect for any skill level, and will leave you with a new confidence for cooking with a wok. Students will learn how to make a Rainbow Lettuce Wrap, Shrimp and Asparagus Stir Fry and more. You will also become familiar with a variety of Asian ingredients during this interactive class. Classes cost $55, and take place at a variety of venues and times so check her schedule.

If you happen to be in Georgia, Natalie Keng of Chinese Southern Belle organizes Chinese cooking classes very often with her mother. Classes feature seasonal, holiday culinary and cultural traditions and the best of the East, West and the Deep South! Expect to get some Asian grocery and cookware tips as well. Here is a list of upcoming classes:
Unless noted, events are held at 5600 Buford Highway Farmers Market, Doraville 30340. Register via Visit for updates and prices; contact

One of American Airlines chefs, Cindy Hutson guides students through an interactive cooking class on Saturday afternoons. While the theme varies from class-to-class, students will learn to prepare her signature dishes. The group will be divided up into groups of 6, with a chef from the restaurant guiding the group through the lesson. Each table elects a head chef and the sous chefs to assist. The Class is limited to 18 people. What class would be complete without champagne and wine flowing throughout, and students will learn further their skills of food and wine pairing. Students leave with a gift and recipe book from the day. The cost is $90. For more information and upcoming classes check Ortanique on the Mile, 278 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables.