Lovers of cold weather may enjoy recreational activities like skating and skiing at this time of year. Lovers of nourishing soups and freshly baked breads might prefer cooking classes when the temperature drops. Whether you are a novice or an experienced home chef, you can learn new techniques and recipes, keep warm, and make new friends at a local cooking or baking studio. Here are some places offering culinary instruction this winter:
309-1 East Main St., Riverhead
The lesson: This “farm-to-jar” commercial kitchen packages products including lavender honey, kimchi, and pickled beets, using produce and herbs from local farms. Every month, they welcome floral arranger Lauren Ashley and hold workshops on subjects including Italian cooking, cooking with herbs, and one-pan healthy meals, combined with hands-on flower arranging and table setting to complement the foods prepared. After preparing food and setting the table, the class will sit down and enjoy what they’ve made. Farmers Kitchen can also create custom group and private classes on request.
Cost: $75/person, group discounts available
LOVE LANE KITCHEN
240 Love Lane, Mattituck
When: Thursday nights in March, starting at 5:30
The lesson: During the offseason when Love Lane Kitchen closes for dinner on Thursdays, Chef Cory Guastella welcomes students into the restaurant’s kitchen and teaches them how to make some of the restaurant’s popular dishes. Subjects include introduction to risotto, how to perfectly pan-sear fish, and an advanced class in fresh ravioli. These are hands-on classes where every student gets a work station with ingredients and equipment. Basic knife skills are taught along with the recipe. As of now, classes are sold out but you can put yourself on a waiting list.
Cost: $75 includes a take-home recipe card, a glass of wine or beer, and some treats in addition to the food you cook.
NORTH FORK KITCHEN AND GARDEN
127 Green St., South Jamesport
When: Weekends in February, March and April
The lesson: Well-known cookbook author and natural foods chef Peter Berley invites students into his kitchen for weekend cooking classes held on Saturday from 2 to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Capped at a maximum of eight students, the weekends are a chance to dive into subjects that have long fascinated Berley, including sourdough bread baking, fermentation and cold-weather vegetable cookery. Berley composes menus that highlight a particular technique, but says that because students prepare and share several meals they learn a range of skills, explore a variety of ingredients and get to know each other as they cook and eat.
Cost: $270 includes dinner on Saturday and breakfast and lunch on Sunday; Berley will also design private cooking classes for individuals, couples and small groups on request
A LA CARTE COOKING SCHOOL
32 Atlantic Ave., Lynbrook
When: Day and evening cooking classes for adults, after school and weekend classes for children
The lesson: This multipurpose food space (which is available for corporate and private functions, team-building events, and photo and video shoots) holds classes in a wide variety of subjects for several different audiences. For curious cooks, there are three-hour classes in a variety of subjects including Ayurvedic wellness, cast-iron cooking and Italian cuisine. A number of “date night” classes for couples allow you to cook your own themed dinner (Havana, Valentine’s Day and Surf and Turf are coming up). In addition, there are classes for kids between the ages of 8 and 16, and parent and child classes where children 5 and up are welcome. Class size ranges from 12 to 30, and you either eat what you’ve cooked at the end of class, or pack it up to enjoy at home.
Cost: $115 to $125 per person for a three-hour class; $225 to $275 for three-hour couples classes; $120 for a grown-ups and kids class; $350 for four “junior chef” classes.
SUR LA TABLE
630 Smith Haven Mall, Lake Grove
When: Morning, evening, and weekend hands-on classes
The lesson: This top purveyor of fine cookware offers hands-on cooking classes almost every day of the week in its well-outfitted in-store kitchen in Lake Grove. No matter what your skill level or interest, you are sure to find something to suit. Learn to make croissants or éclairs from scratch, prepare an Indian or Tuscan meal, schedule a date night to cook with wine, enjoy a girl’s night fondue party. Classes are two to 2 ½ hours and led by company-trained chef instructors.
Cost: $59 to $110 per class
THE WELL-SEASONED CHEF
45 New Hyde Park Rd., Garden City
When: Once or twice a month in the evening, from 7 to 9 p.m.
The lesson: During a two-hour, hands-on class, students prepare a four-course menu and then sit down and eat together. The food skews Italian (kale soup, Parmesan risotto, Tuscan-style roast pork) with an occasional foray into American comfort food classics (creamy tomato soup, steak with horseradish sauce, rosemary-Parmesan roasted potatoes).
THE BAKING COACH
320 Broadway-Greenlawn Rd., Huntington
When: Saturday mornings and afternoons, and weekdays during some school holidays
The lesson: Baking Coach founder Lisa Basini started baking at a young age, and has had students from 12 years old to 95 take her classes. Individuals, couples, parents and their younger children or teens and friends who just want to slow down and enjoy making something together can take advantage of hands-on Basic Skill Level classes in cake pops, pizza and pretzels or savory scones. Life Skills classes are designed for teens and young adults with disabilities, and offer extra support.
Cost: $65 unless otherwise noted
LE DULCE (formerly Rustik Cake Studio)
13 Willow St., Central Islip
When: By appointment; Call or visit the studio to book a class.
The lesson: Award-winning wedding cake expert Rocio Fukuda teaches classes in the studio where she makes elaborate cakes and has recently started making pastries and fine chocolates (gelato is coming this summer). She teaches classes in the basics of covering cakes with fondant as well as other cake decorating techniques for both beginning students and experienced cake decorators. New this winter will be classes in chocolate-making. There are also classes for kids, in cupcake decorating and cookie pops. Fukuda often has visiting artists come in to teach. On May 18-19, sugar artist Marta Torres will visit and give daylong seminars in cookie decorating for $395.
Cost: $69 to $140 for a two- to four-hour class
CELEBRATIONS IN THE KITCHEN
63 E. Old Country Rd., Hicksville
When: Consult the website’s online calendar for children's cooking class dates; call to book adult classes
The lesson: This baking studio focuses on year-round holiday baking for kids and custom baking classes for adults. Classes take place in a real bakery kitchen (a bakeshop is part of the setup here). Kids can learn to bake soda bread for St. Patrick’s Day, decorate a bunny cake for Easter, construct a potted cookie bouquet for Mother’s Day. Adults who form their own groups can choose from a range of topics, including pizza and calzones, doughnuts and pies.
Cost: $35 to 50 for kids’ classes; $79.95 per person (6 people minimum) for adults