Food & Drink

Interested in a cooking class? Here’s what Sacramento has to offer

This sampling of cooking and demonstration classes will sharpen your cooking skills, broaden your knowledge and round out your recipe file.

Good Eats

Veteran cook-caterer Paulette Bruce’s “classroom” is the Culinary Center at East Bay Restaurant Supply, which is open to the public. Students are divided into five teams, each cooking a different dish and sharing them afterward.

Fifteen couples attended the recent Date Night class, turning out a meal that included chicken pot pie turnovers, grilled skirt steak and chocolate-olive oil fig cake. Bring your own wine.

The class turns into a social occasion with a cookbook’s worth of education running through it. Bruce and kitchen manager Kerry O’Conner cover every base and supply every cooking need in the professional-grade kitchen. Bruce constantly circulated, answering questions, demonstrating techniques and offering tips. “If someone is challenged in an area, I figure it’s my job to help them,” she said.

Upcoming classes include: “New Year’s Eve Dinner” (Dec. 16). The uber-popular five-part series “Basic Cooking Skills” returns in March.

Class size: 10 to 30. Bring your favorite knife and apron, if you wish.

Class length: 3 to 3 1/2 hours

Children’s program: Yes

Teambuilding and private classes: Yes

Cost: $85

Register and pay:, or send a check to Paulette Bruce, 3340 11th St., Sacramento 95818

Where: East Bay Restaurant Supply, 522 N. 12th St., Sacramento

Information: (916) 498-9804 or email

Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op

“Education is what the co-op is all about, and our cooking school is a jewel in the crown,” said marketing director Jennifer Cliff. “We get everybody from teenagers with their parents to people in their 80s.”

Demonstration classes as well as hands-on cooking classes are held in the state-of-the-art Learning Center in the co-op’s expanded new site, which opened two years ago.

All the cooking ingredients are sourced from the store. Classes include a $5 shopping coupon and a copy of the co-op’s food magazine, Fork. A complementary glass of wine comes with all adult classes; after that, it’s $5 a glass at the wine bar.

In hands-on classes, students break into four groups to prepare four dishes and share the meals. Demo-class instructors show how to make four dishes, with tasting samples. Classes in the Celebrity Chef Series are led by the likes of Rick Mahan (Waterboy, One Speed) and Patrick Mulvaney (Mulvaney’s B&L).

Upcoming classes include: “Elegant Appetizers and Wine Tasting” (Nov. 29), “Tamales For the Holidays” (Dec. 18)

Class size: Up to 24 for cooking classes, 40 for demo classes

Class length: 2 to 2-1/2 hours

Children’s program: Yes

Teambuilding and private classes: Yes

Cost: $49-$75, with co-op member discounts. Some classes are free, others are $10-$15 (wellness classes) and $25 (farm classes held at Soil Born Farms in Rancho Cordova).

Register and pay:, or by cash or check at the co-op’s customer service desk.

Where: 2820 R St., Sacramento

Information: 916-455-2667 or

C’est Le Cheese

Cheese expert Jody Lagorio has partnered with chef Roxanne O’Brien to reintroduce C’est le Cheese to Sacramento. Lagorio founded the company in 2008, when it offered tastings and pairings. The new incarnation will host cheese-centric cooking and cheesemaking classes and wine pairings led by O’Brien, an instructor at American River College’s Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management program.

Upcoming classes include: “Creating Beautiful Cheese Boards.” Three more classes are scheduled in January, February and March.

Class size: up to 16

Class length: 3 hours

Children’s program: No

Teambuilding and private classes: Yes

Cost: $60, including cheesemaking classes

Register and pay:

Where: At the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management center at American River College, 4700 College Oak Drive, Sacramento

Information: 916-761-7674 or 916-484-8736;

Murer House & Gardens

Murer House is a quiet oasis tucked in a residential neighborhood in Folsom, a compound of three wood buildings (and beautiful grounds) hand-built in the 1920s by Italian immigrant Giuseppe Murer.

The nonprofit Murer House, run by volunteers, is an homage to the man, a key figure in Folsom’s civic and physical development. One of his holdings was the Folsom Hotel on Sutter Street.

Among its cultural offerings, which include Italian language classes and local history lectures, is a small cooking-class program concentrated on Italian cuisine.

“We want people to relax, so classes are very down to earth in a comfortable home environment,” said programming director Cindy Baker. “And we have great parking,”

Upcoming classes include: “Holiday Biscotti” (Dec. 1), “Lasagna” (Dec. 15)

Class size: 5 to 20

Class length: 2 hours

Children’s program: Children 9 and older with an adult will be included in “appropriate classes,” Baker said. “A lot of grandparents bring their grandchildren.”

Teambuilding and private classes: Yes

Cost: $45 for cooking classes, $70 for cheesemaking classes

Register and pay:

Where: 1125 Joe Murer Court, Folsom


Napoli Culinary Academy

The delightfully decorated former Italian restaurant offers a staggering number of classes focused on global cuisines. More than 800 “students” attend each month, and classes are booked into April. You can get on a waiting list or, as chef-owner Hassi Sadri told a recent sold-out class on Indonesian cuisine, “Call me and I’ll get you in the back door.”

Napoli doubles as a school, with an 11-month program in restaurant-hotel management.

“Everybody is getting involved in the food movement and they want to learn to cook, so we’re trying to expand,” said Sadri, a veteran judge at major culinary events including the annual Pizza Expo extravaganza in Las Vegas.

Upcoming classes include: The popular “Taste Of” series will feature China (Nov. 28). Napoli closes in December for teambuilding events and private parties.

Class size: 30; up to 70 for teambuilding

Class length: 3 hours; bring your own apron

Children’s program: Yes

Teambuilding and private classes: Yes

Cost: Ignore the $156 toll on the website. Instead, book a class through Groupon and pay less than $30 (Napoli has a relationship with the discount-coupon company). Or call Sadri and ask for the code to use on the Napoli website for an identical discount.

Register and pay:

Where: 1401 Fulton Ave., Sacramento

Information: 916-971-0600,


The global cookware chain, which has two Sacramento stores, has its culinary bases covered with hands-off cooking/technique demonstrations and other programs. Of course, some of the recipe ingredients and most of the equipment used are sold at the stores.

“Many of our customers who have a good grounding in cooking may want to see a new piece of equipment they’re considering buying,” said culinary specialist-instructor Susan Shenk. The program model is identical at both stores.

At the recent “Fall Favorites in the Instant Pot” at the Pavilions store, Shenk delivered a lively how-to demo on the digital version of the classic pressure cooker (but with no explosions). She put together two recipes at the small cooking island, answered questions and peppered her commentary with handy tips. Samples were tasted at the end of class.

The monthly Cookbook Club is more expansive. Shenk chooses recipes from a celebrity chef’s latest cookbook (Ina Garten, Joshua McFadden, Giada De Laurentiis) and performs a longer demo involving a three-course sit-down meal. Guests get a cookbook as part of the package.

Upcoming classes include: “Pizzaiolo Pop-Ups” pizza-making

Class size: 12 for demos, 16 for Cookbook Club

Class length: 1 hour for demos, 2 to 2-1/2 hours for Cookbook Club

Children’s program: Yes (hands-on)

Teambuilding and private classes: Yes

Cost: $30 for demos; $50-$60 for Cookbook Club. All attendees get a 10 percent discount shopping coupon good for that day.

Register and pay: Call or visit to register. Pay over the phone or in person; you cannot pay for classes at the website.

Where: At Pavilions in Sacramento, near Fair Oaks and Howe avenues; and at the Galleria in Roseville, near Roseville Parkway and Galleria Boulevard

Information: Pavilions: 916-923-3301; Galleria: 916-788-1240.

Other options

Note: Whole Foods Market in Arden-Arcade ended its cooking-class program several years ago (it was the only Whole Foods in Sacramento that offered one). It recently reopened its professional kitchen for rent to private parties and cooking instructors who want to teach classes. Information: 916-488-2800.

Though giant kitchenware specialist Sur la Table offers classes in 15 of its California stores, the Roseville location does not have a teaching space.

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