Watch CBS News

Best Cooking and Cocktail Classes in L.A.

(credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

With the proliferation of TV shows, celebrity chefs, supper clubs and pop-ups in the Los Angeles culinary scene, the talent to create a gourmet meal or shake up a complex cocktail has become a highly coveted skill to possess. It's unlikely to find what you're looking for at a cookware store, where classes are more geared towards selling you knives than teaching you how to use them.Here are a few distinct food and drink classes offering specialized instruction that would make even the most discerning of palates proud.


Greenbar Collective

2459 E. 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90021
More Info

GreenBar Collective is the producer of the world's largest portfolio of organic, handcrafted spirits. It's also the first distillery in Los Angeles since the Prohibition. Husband and wife team Melkon Khosrovian and Litty Mathew discovered that whole, organic ingredients taste better, a result of the higher concentrations of flavor and aroma they contain.

GreenBar Collective is not open to the public, so signing up for one of their cocktail classes will be the only way to get an inside look at their lean, mean, green distillery machine. Classes are held in the bright second level loft that overlooks gleaming tanks and copper stills in the warehouse space below. The vibe is relaxed and informal, with plenty of tasting encouraged (In the name of research, of course).

An update from Litty revealed they are about to launch Slowhand, the first whiskey that has been distilled in Los Angeles (Since the Prohibition), which is sure to prove as a sought after spirit with an equally in demand class centered around it.

Classes are held on the last Saturday of the month, however, due to the holidays, they will start back up in January 2013. Resist the urge to bootleg until then and check the events calendar on their website for the upcoming class schedule. Cross my heart with two stainless steel bar spoons, it's well worth the wait.


Hipcooks West Los Angeles

2833 S Robertson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 841-2738
More Info

Hipcooks offers cooking & cocktail pairing classes that focus on healthy, local, fresh and organic foods, but the most vital ingredient is fun. There is an undeniable playfulness surrounding everything they do, all the way down to the witty names given to classes. There's no sign of an egotistical chef in the kitchen and the approach to cooking is refreshingly "no fuss, no muss."

Classes are taught in a very fluid manner to instill confidence and encourage students to get fully immersed in the experience. By the end of class, students will have successfully discovered the inner chef that has been bashfully hiding within.

As big fans of libations, Hipcooks are experts at pairing cocktails with a meal. The "Thai 2 On" class in December is a perfect example of this, with meals paired with a coconut milk and Thai basil spiked cocktail provocatively named "Thai Me Up," along with a tamarind whiskey sour.

Classes end in a dinner party and wine tasting (Or cocktail pairing depending on the format), where guests get their convivial on. Class schedules and descriptions can be found on their website. In addition, to serve as food for thought as students hone in on what would be referred to as their newfound "mad" skills, Hipcooks recently introduced their first cookbook, titled "Hipcooks - Around the World in 12 Dinner Parties."


Taste of Pace

652 S. Mateo St., Suite #207
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 537-0056
More Info

Taste of Pace specializes in "Western European Cuisine with international elements utilizing seasonal and local ingredients." With an impressive client list that includes Food Network, class goers who are looking for a nice change of pace will appreciate the refined technique driven format found here.

The chefs of Taste of Pace will show guests how to procure the finest seasonal produce and create fabulous meals with the bounty of Southern California's best farms. Classes guide students through a 6 course gastronomic experience, leaving them with the skills and confidence required to prepare any meal.

Guests can choose from 4 class options, 2 of which consist of a series of 3 components in a single class. The "Basic Cooking Series" would serve as an excellent class for kitchen novices, covering knife skills, pantry and meats. All classes are offered Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons. Visit their website for detailed information.


Food Story

460 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(310) 853-3663
More Info

When Yoko, founder of Food Story would go out to eat, she was constantly compelled to educate her dining companions on everything that revolved around Japanese cuisine, from the nuances to the proper dining etiquette. It was in these ongoing serendipitous moments that she discovered her calling as a "Japanese Food Ambassador," with the passion to share her wealth of information about Japanese food culture.

Through Food Story cooking workshops and personal storytelling, students will receive an authentic glimpse into what it might be like to cook and dine in a Japanese home. Classes take place in a gorgeous loft space in Downtown Los Angeles, with an intimate vibe similar to that of a dinner party amongst friends. Every detail lends to the authenticity of the experience, all the way down to the Japanese dishware.

Food Story is perfect for the adventurous type looking for a cultural experience. There are a handful of ultra unique offerings that are hard to find elsewhere, if at all. Take the udon noodle-making workshop as an example. Sounds innocent enough at first glance, until guests learn that part of the process is to knead the dough with feet.

A list of workshop descriptions can be viewed on the website. Workshops are available for private parties interested in an intimate experience amongst colleagues or friends.


Spork Foods

7494 Santa Monica Blvd. Suite 302
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 512-5544
More Info

Whether full-fledged vegan or just vegan curious, taking a class at a place that is said to be the most popular vegan cooking school on the West Coast is a bet you can count on.

L.A. natives and sisters Jenny and Heather Goldberg own and operate Spork Foods, offering organic vegan cooking classes, in-home healthy eating consultations and private cooking parties.

And if that wasn't already convincing enough, they've also cooked for celebrity clients such as Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, Kristin Bauer, Emily and Zooey Deschanel, Ed Begley, Weird Al Yankovik and others who prefer to stay private. If you asked nicely, perhaps Jenny and Heather would reveal, but then of course, they'd have to spork you to death. That's just how it goes.

Their programs are designed for all levels, with an emphasis of preparing food that works to maximize the health benefits that impart from this specialized cuisine. The culmination of events will finish at the dinner table, where everyone sits down together to enjoy the sans animal product bounty amongst new like-minded friends. Classes are offered on weekends with updated themes each week. Visit the "classes" link on the website for further details.


Duff's Cakemix

8302 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90069
(323) 650-5555
More Info

Chef Duff of Food Network's Ace of Cakes fame would encourage you to avoid any dining situation that doesn't end on a sweet note. For those who feel the same, a 3-week introductory cake decorating course will provide the sugar high they crave.

At Duff's Cakemix, guests can play cake star as they participate in an introductory cake decorating course, with each week building upon the skills from the previous session. The first week covers how to build and crumb coat a cake. Next, creating the canvas of the cake with fondant or buttercream in the second week, and ending with decorating techniques such as writing and creating borders to round out the series. Fun extras such as airbrush and glitter dust may be available for additional fees.

The basic skills cake decorating class consists of 3 Tuesday evening classes. Call to sign up and do Chef Duff proud by playing with your food.

Joy Bitonio has the phrase "Joie de Vivre" tattooed on her shoulder, a reminder to enjoy life every single day. She has a voracious appetite for fun, adventure, food, good cocktails and works out like a madwoman to keep it all together. Her fitness articles can be found on Follow her on twitter.
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.