If your little kitchen helper is itching to take their skills to Top Chef level, now is the time to sign them up for some cooking classes! They’ll learn some skills that will impress their friends and you just might be able to turn over the dinner duties every once in a while. Chop, chop!


photo: Tinker Kitchen

Tinker Kitchen

This Mission District cooking makerspace just opened and the cooking kids are thrilled. Founder Dan Mills, a former programmer, transitioned from hacking code to hacking food. Over the course of his own obsession with the science of cooking, he amassed an impressive collection of niche cooking equipment, including a pasta extruder and chocolate temperers. Dan outfitted Tinker Kitchen with industrial-grade ovens, burners and other staples. The space operates on a monthly membership model and members can stop in any time (except during special events) to roast cacao or flash-freeze ice cream with liquid nitrogen. Or grab a day pass and check out all the equipment before your commit. Check out the class schedule to see what's coming up! 

3233 22nd St.
San Francisco, CA

Sprouts Cooking Club

A real culinary maven, the founder of Sprouts Cooking Club also started the first culinary club at U.C. Berkeley. She soon drew her attention to kids, founding Sprouts Cooking Club so children 7 and up could take classes with real chefs in real restaurants—today her kids get behind the line at hotspots like Bar Tartine and The Burritt Room.

Various locations
San Francisco and the East Bay

photo: Dandelion Chocolate

Dandelion Chocolate

If your little chef has more of a sweet tooth than a savory one, then sign them up for the Chocolate Explorers class at Dandelion. Here they will learn all about how chocolate is made from the pod to the brownie. Dandelion also offers parent-child classes where kids ages 7-12 and their adult make their own single-origin dark chocolate from scratch. Read all about it here.

740 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA

Culinary Institute of America at Copia

CIA at Copia offers Family Fundays almost every Sunday with weekly cooking classes the entire gang can enjoy together. Go to the front of the class with Lunchbox Magic, DIY Dumplings or the holiday favorite Cakes and Cupcakes. These interactive, demonstration style classes are perfect all ages, and are comprised of family friendly cooking techniques, all while building a recipe box for your own kitchen, and encourage your culinary dreamers to keep building that love of food.

500 1st Street
Napa, CA
Online: ciaatcopia.com

Jordan's Kitchen

Organic, locally-sourced ingredients are just the beginning with Jordan’s Kitchen. Junior chefs will start by learning knife skills and kitchen safety. Then the lesson goes on to teach skills like frosting a cake or pressing hand-made tortillas. Each class ends with the best part – eating the masterpiece!

413 10th Street
San Francisco, CA

18 Reasons

A cooking school with a conscience, 18 Reasons offers cooking classes for adults and children and also gives back by providing free Cooking Matters classes in low-income communities around the Bay Area. They offer an 8-week teen cooking immersion program that culminates in a “Chopped”-style finale.

3674 18th St.
San Francisco, CA

Young Chef’s Academy

Cooking involves everything from science to math to reading at Sunnyvale’s Young Chef’s Academy. Weekly, interactive classes for kids from 3 to their teenage years explore new themes that include basics like table setting, manners (yes, manners!), and proper food handling.

1336 S. Mary Ave..
Sunnyvale, CA

Hidden Villa

This organic farm located in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains provides hands-on education for kids of all ages. Their ever-popular Cow Wow classes (with pre-registration required as they always sell out) allow youngsters to milk a cow and see how milk is filtered for bottling. Or, make mozzarella cheese and use it with some edible flowers and greens from the farm garden in their pizza-making class.

Hidden Villa
26870 Moody Rd.
Los Altos Hills, CA

Kids Cooking for Life

Empowerment is a big part of learning how to cook, and the mission at this San Rafael spot is to promote self esteem and healthier lifestyles, and reversing the epidemic of diabetes and childhood obesity. Classes cover lessons on cooking, nutrition, safety, and culture.

100 Thorndale Dr., Ste. 246
San Rafael, CA
Online: kidscookingforlife.org

Junior Chef Stars

Everything from camps to birthday parties to classes are offered at this cooking academy for the small set. In addition to honing in on the creative spirit of cooking, Junior Chef Stars teaches little ones as young as 3 about safety, “kitchen cooties,” and organizing their own culinary toolbox.

Various locations
San Mateo, CA

Cavallo Point

The cooking school is housed within the picturesque Cavallo Point resort and lodge, and emphasizes local, seasonal ingredients and is led by well-known chefs, local producers and vintners. The family cooking classes get the whole clan together to chop, bake and, ultimately, eat, giving new meaning to the family meal.

601 Murray Cir.
Sausalito, CA

The Culinary Dude

The Culinary Dude blends Early Childhood Education with Culinary Arts. There’s no question that a lot of learning goes on here, but with a big serving of fun. Private classes on everything from healthy snacks to recreating the favorite foods of popular pop stars are on offer. They even host toddler classes and a parent-vs.-kid Iron Chef competition.

Various locations
Bay Area
971-30-DUDES (38337)

Y.U.M Chefs

Y.U.M stands for Young Urban Modern and offers cooking programs for children and adults alike. Led by chef and cookbook author Leah Brooks, classes range from everyday approachable recipes to composing a full brunch feast with ingredients straight from the farmer's market.

Located inside Katherine Michiels School
1335 Guerrero Blvd.
San Francisco, CA

Culinary Artistas

Located in Ghirardelli Square, this cooking school has classes for kids as young as 2 all the way up to 11. Here they learn about different culinary traditions while they make food to eat at the end of class. School break classes are offered as well as single-day options.

900 North Point Street, Suite H-108 B
San Francisco, CA

Cucina Bambini

With two locations in Los Gatos and Willow Glen, kids have tons of opportunities to beef up their cooking skills at Cucina Bambini. Teens can learn how to make pasta while little ones bake cakes or make apple crumble with ice cream in a bag. Host your next birthday party here and your kitchen will remain spic and span!

1040 Lincoln Ave.
San Jose, CA

22 S. Santa Cruz Ave.
Los Gatos, CA

—Kate Loweth, Mireille Schwartz and Erin Feher

Featured photo: iStock



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