5 Tips for Teaching a Cooking Class

a group of adults around a grill

If you have a good understanding of food and how to cook, then you could hold your own cooking class. This is especially true if you are an expert at a certain kind or style of cooking. For instance, if you have a background in ethnic cooking, then a cooking class taught by you could prove invaluable to other home chefs. The following will help you create a syllabus for your own cooking class.

First Things First

Before deciding on giving the class some important pieces should be taken into consideration. The place you are holding the class being first. Are you going to hold the class in your home, at a community center or church kitchen? Consider the equipment available to you and what you may have to supply yourself. Will individuals have their own cooking surfaces available or will it be a "show and tell" style class? The other thing to consider will be the ingredients available. Will students have to supply their own ingredients or will they be supplied? If the participant is required to bring any materials, this should be made clear at the sign up for the class. A list of where students can find the materials may also be helpful.

Theory before Practice

When teaching people how to cook who may not be very skilled at it, have never cooked before or have very limited knowledge, it's a good idea to start at the beginning. When you first start a cooking class, your students have to know the fundamentals of cooking. These basics of cooking can include the type of pans you will be using in your class, why you use certain utensils and detailed explanations of various cooking techniques. You will also want to teach them the rules of the kitchen, appliance safety and knife safety. Go over what your plans are before you actually let them cook.

Prepare Handouts

Every good cooking class needs handouts. It should include information and reminders of important concepts you want them to remember. It should also include the recipes you will be showing them how to make. Try to get these done before your class even starts.

Start Small

You don't want to throw your students into a practical cooking lesson by having them cook an elaborate 5 course meal. Start with small dishes with limited ingredients. Consider what you are planning to make through the duration of the class and start out with the simplest dish you can think of. If you are teaching a cooking class on classic American cooking, you can start the class out on cooking fried eggs and bacon. As you advance from beginner dishes to more challenging ones, you can include useful cooking tricks. For example, if you're making eggs that are sunny side up, you can teach them that cooking on low heat and covering with a smaller pan will get rid of the egg slime.

Testing Time

Every cooking class should have some sort of test that students have to take in order to advance to the next lesson. Include a practical exam based on their general cooking knowledge. Also include a practical cooking exam, where they have to properly prepare a dish that you taught in class. If you don't have kitchens available for all of the students to use, you can have them cook at home and bring the foods class to heat up and share with others.


Allow your students to experiment with food. This will show you how much they have learned. Provide mystery baskets of ingredients for the students to use. Make sure that you have provide the proper information for the ingredients to make the task a little less confusing. Judge the dishes and declare an overall winner.