The First Year: Wanna Learn to Cook?

Here are our five gourmet suggestions for moving beyond burnt toast

Or maybe the question should be: do you need to learn to cook? Don’t feel bad. Not everyone knows how. If your guy is like most out there, maybe he can make a mean egg sandwich or cheeseburger, but that’s about it. And maybe you can whip up a few things—but not exactly enough to get you through a week. And chances are you can’t exactly afford to hit up Barclay Prime every night.

Our suggestion? Learn! And not just by staring at your mom and taking notes the next time she makes her signature chicken casserole. Our region has several easy, affordable options for learning how to cook together. “Couples are actually cooking together in the kitchen these days,” says Charlotte Albertson of Wynnewood’s Albertson’s Cooking School. To her, that’s a change from how it was even a few years ago, and she thinks it’s a great way for newly married couples to spend time together. “When two of your are cooking, it shortens the time considerably, and it brings you together in a teamwork atmosphere!” And isn’t being a team what newlywedness is all about? Here are some cooking classes we think you should check out.

Kitchen Kapers, Moorestown

Chances are slim that you’ve never set foot into any of the locations of this well-stocked local chain—but did you realize one of their South Jersey locations offers a schedule chock-full of cooking classes? They have a variety of topics and methods on their roster, but their Couples Classes are definitely what you’re looking for. In these, you’ll both watch the chef as he or she shows you how to prepare a meal (the interactive part), then you’ll roll up your sleeves and get in the kitchen yourselves (the hands-on part). Focuses range from Spring Soiree: Seasonal Cooking for Two to Jamaican Jerk and Vietnamese-French Fusion themed classes. Plus, the size isn’t overwhelming: classes are limited to five couples, and the price is $95 for the two of you.
East Gate Square Shopping Center, 1341 Nixon Drive, Moorestown, 856-778-7705, kitchenkapers.com

Viking Cooking School
It may seem odd to establish a date night right after you say your "I do’s," but the Viking Cooking School in Bryn Mawr offers three-hour Date Night cooking classes that’ll give you valuable hands-on training in the culinary arts. Classes include Date Nights in the City; in Paris; in Sicily; romance-themed dinners, and more. Couples will spend the first two and a half hours preparing the menu of an appetizer, entrées and a dessert. The last half hour is for eating and enjoying your newly acquired skills, with your newly acquired spouse. Prices range from $99 to $129 per person.
Viking Culinary Center, One Town Place, Suite 100, Bryn Mawr, 610-526-9020, vikingcookingschool.com

Sur La Table
The South Jersey outpost of this super store, with its dizzying array of everything you could ever possibly want for your kitchen, offers a busy roster of classes covering everything from grilling basics to croissant workshops and sushi 101. Especially perfect for newlywed couples are the Date Night classes, which are priced around $100 per couple and teach you—with a hands-on method—how to whip up dishes like grilled flat bread with roasted tomato and manchego cheese, arugula salad with prosciutto and grilled peaches, and individual blackberry cobblers with honey ice cream. Tip: Eat a snack before you go—classes run between two and three hours, and you don’t eat till you’ve reached the finish line.
The Promenade at Sagemore, 500 Route 73 South, Marlton, 856-797-0098, surlatable.com.

Reading Terminal Market
This Philadelphia landmark is not only a haven of all things foodie, local and good—but at Italian spot La Cucina, within the market, you can also learn how to actually cook some things with those top-notch ingredients you’re buying. Sessions are hands-on, and students will learn how to make everything from easy appetizers for entertaining to handmade pasta. And because they’re perfect for beginners, they’re often packed with young and newly married couples. Prices are about $100 per couple, and classes are usually limited to 16 people.
12th and Arch Streets, 215-922-1170, readingterminalmarket.org; 215-922-1176, lacucinaatthemarket.com.

Albertson’s Cooking School, Wynnewood

This Main Line-based cooking school not only offers classes on a wide range of topics (from making sauces to outdoor grilling), but they actually hold them at different spots throughout the area (Yangming Restaurant, The Shipley School, South Philly’s Italian Market, Madsen Kitchen in Broomall). That means no matter where you live, you can probably find a class to join that’s convenient for you. Many of the classes are hands-on, though in some of the more intense ones—such as the three-hour bread-making class—it’s more of a chef’s demonstration. Classes are usually around $100 per couple.
PO BOX 27, Wynnewood, 610-649-9290, albertsoncookingschool.com.

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  • David

    Another great place to learn how to cook is the Viking Culinary Center in Bryn Mawr. Terrific facility and teaching staff. It would also be a cool place for a party where you and your friends can learn to cook together.