If you ever wanted to work in a restaurant kitchen or learn tricks from cooking pros, you can take classes to do just that.
These chefs will teach you how to cook what's on their menus in their kitchens, and then invite you to eat the meal as well. A glass (or two) of wine and a restaurant cooking class is a four-star event.
418 North Country Rd., St. James
THE LESSON "Cooking can be intimidating," says chef and co-owner Jonathan Contes, whose demonstration lessons include topics such as brining, poaching and braising. He makes sure to use accessible ingredients so the students can replicate what they have learned for use in their own kitchens. Classes start with an aperitif or a glass of wine, followed by a demonstration of an appetizer, a main course and dessert.
COST $110 a person, includes meal and drinks.
WHEN Learn on weekends, cook during the week.
THE LESSON Get ready for the click, click, clicking of the metal knives. Benihana has a chef training program in which participants train for one to two hours on a Sunday afternoon. Then, the graduate gets to cook for four or eight friends and family members on a weekday night.
"One of our chefs stays with you," said restaurant manager Francis Lee. "You have the whole table to yourself."
COST $140 for one chef to feed four people or $250 for eight diners.
9 Union Place, Huntington
WHEN Various Sundays, usually noon to 3:30 p.m.
THE LESSON Gregarious chef-owner Nader Gebrin has been teaching cooking classes at his restaurant since it opened eight years ago.
Part of the course is teaching the students how to order from a menu. "Do you know the different types of salmon? Lamb chops? Tuna is not always tuna," Gebrin explained.
In previous classes, he has demonstrated how to cook crabcakes, Chilean sea bass with horseradish, and potato-crusted scallops. He always ends the class with his homemade Napoleon, one of the few recipes he will not share.
COST $100 plus gratuities for the staff; includes meal and drinks
354 Main St., Farmingdale
WHEN Dates vary. One lesson is planned for late March.
THE LESSON Chef Tony Kathreptis and his staff offer courses both in his restaurant and at a local library.
"It's a great way, more than anything else, to offer some interaction between us and the guests, and give something back," Kathreptis said.
At a recent cooking class, Kathreptis made tilapia, Costillas a la Parrilla (short ribs and beef with a three-chile sauce) and Mexican flan.
COST $40, includes the meal and a margarita
Learn cooking techniques from five chefs through a local continuing-education course.
WHERE Locust Valley Schools, different locations
WHEN Various weeknights, March 16 to May 16.
THE LESSON Marco Lubrano of La Bussola in Glen Cove and four other restaurant chefs are part of Locust Valley School District's continuing-education program "Elegant Dining." Chefs will demonstrate cooking soups, appetizers, entrees and desserts. The meal also will be served.
Other participating chefs are Michael Mossallam of La Pace with Chef Michael, Bernie DelBello of Jack Halyards, Marcel Kilbertus of Locust Valley Bistro and Jeanine DiMenna of Page One.
Lubrano has been teaching at the continuing-education program for about 10 years, he said.
"Usually, it's off my menu," he said of the meals he prepares. The cost includes wine and dessert, he said.
COST The series of five classes has a $12 registration fee; $55 for residents. Nonresidents pay $15 and $70, respectively. A $13 "food fee" also is paid to the instructor at each class.