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Best Ethnic Cooking Schools In The South Bay

Food is one of the best ways to explore other cultures, and in lieu of an actual trip to these unique countries, taking cooking classes is a great way to explore foreign cuisines. The Bay Area is a melting pot of cultures, and is home to a plethora of cooking schools and at-home classes for just about any cuisine imaginable. Whether you are a novice or a more advanced student looking to hone your skills, here are five cooking classes allowing you to experience the culinary delights from around the world right in your South Bay backyard.

for casablanca market
Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Casablanca Market
793 Castro St
Mountain View, CA 94041
(650) 964-3000

Price: $85 per person and per class
Hours: See a class list here

Casablanca Market is a fair-trade Moroccan import company offering quality, handcrafted products from the country. It also offers monthly cooking classes on Moroccan cuisine, taught by Chef Casablanca (Katia Essyad), a native of Rabat, Morocco. She brings authentic recipes from her own upbringing, and has drawn inspiration from her mother's cooking. The menu changes every month and classes are held in a private home in Mountain View and are generally kept to a small group of 10-12 people. Students will learn how to use a tagine clay cooker and prepare three to four traditional Moroccan dishes with imported spices, enjoying a sit-down dinner of their own creations afterwards. Fair warning: These classes fill up quickly, and months in advance.

Related: Eight Best Ethnic Restaurants in San Francisco

culture kitchen
Photo Credit: Culture Kitchen

Culture Kitchen
Locations Vary
(415) 689-6642

Price: $60 per person and per class
Hours: See a class list here

Culture Kitchen was founded in July 2011 with the mission to "spread culture through food and empower people to learn and share authentic ethnic cuisines." Its hope is to get people out of cooking ruts by exposing them to different cuisines in a welcoming environment similar to cooking at home with family. Culture Kitchen has created a network of 15 Master Cooks (non-professional chefs) from 12 different countries. They will happily share the traditional recipes they grew up cooking. The three-hour classes are very intimate with just 10-12 students, so you get an ample amount of personal attention. Currently, two classes a month are offered, with one in San Francisco and one in the Peninsula, often in Palo Alto and Los Altos.

cooking class
Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Draeger's Cooking School
Menlo Park Cooking School
1010 University Drive
Menlo Park, CA 94025
(650) 685-3704

Price: $40-70 per person per class
Hours: See a class list here

Draeger's Market, a family-owned business specializing in high-quality food products from around the world, has a history stretching back to 1925. The company also offers a nationally recognized cooking school with a variety of classes, from vegan and gluten-free to ethnic cuisine introductions like Indian and Mediterranean. The classes are led by world-renowned chefs like Erik Cosselmon, executive chef at Kokkari, and Edward Higgins, chef de cuisine at Quattro Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel at Silicon Valley. Don't let the big names intimidate you, the classes are designed for both the new to the kitchen and more advanced students. Draeger's Cooking School also offers private cooking events for corporate teams, birthday celebrations, anniversaries and other special occasions.

i heart curry
Photo Credit: I Heart Curry

I Heart Curry
Downtown Mountain View, CA
Address provided upon registration
(650) 691-5306

Price: $55 to $90 per person and per class
Hours: See a class list here

Fharzana Elankumaran hails from Bangladesh, and has been cooking up classic Bengali dishes for over 15 years. Through the years, she has also learned authentic, gourmet South Indian dishes from her husband's side of the family. Her love of cooking and teaching others eventually led her to start I Heart Curry in December 2011. The classes are hosted in her downtown Mountain View kitchen to create a relaxed, homey environment. Past classes have included "Kathi Rolls In Three Ways" and "An Authentic Bengali Fish Meal." Attendees range from novice to experienced, and the classes are designed to suit various levels. Students can expect a lot of one-on-one attention, because classes are never larger than five guests.

Related: Best Indian Food In San Francisco

Spain At Home
Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Spain at Home
At-home classes
(510) 410-4793

Price: Private classes - $60 to $120 per hour, Group Classes - $40 to 60 per person (minimum of ten people per group)
Hours: Vary

Chef Raquel Hermosilla started Spain at Home in 2001 to share family recipes with her clients. Her class focuses on traditional recipes including tapas, salads and a variety of paellas made with seasonal, organic products and ingredients. If you are looking for one-on-one attention, Chef Raquel offers private classes that can be held in the comfort of your own home. She will create a menu tailored to your preferences. Alternatively, she also offers group classes, which are perfect for hosting a party. Her authentic cuisine will make you feel like you have been transported to Spain for the day.

Jenna Broughton can frequently be found exploring the streets of San Francisco looking for her next adventure and gastronomic delight. She has traveled far and wide, from Paris to Savannah, GA, to satisfy her adventurous palate. Her work can be found at

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