MasterClass offers online cooking classes with professional chefs like Thomas Keller and Dominique Ansel — here are 11 of the best ones

 
MasterClass Cooking

You can learn from top chefs around the world with the online learning service MasterClass.
Each class teaches you to make an array of dishes using easy-to-find and affordable ingredients, and helps you develop skills that are useful for a variety of tasks.
Read more: The 13 coolest classes on MasterClass, including business and leadership with Bob Iger, creative writing with Margaret Atwood, and cooking techniques with Thomas Keller 

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With states issuing stay-at-home orders during the novel coronavirus pandemic, many of us have been thrust into the role of full-time home chef, among many others. If you don’t have experience making complete meals day after day, this task may seem overwhelming. And, it didn’t help that you never knew what would be available at your local supermarket or at online grocery stores

What is MasterClass?

For $180, MasterClass gives you unlimited access to culinary arts courses from some of the top chefs in the world, including Gordon Ramsay, Wolfgang Puck, and Alice Waters. It’s an expensive investment, but know that each course includes multiple lessons or episodes — one even has as many as 36 episodes.

Each class is broken up into easily-digestible lessons and supported by a full-color PDF workbook featuring recipes and tips. Additionally, there is a community forum specific to the class where you can post questions, get extra info, and potentially interact with the instructor.

Also included in your membership is access to classes in film & TV, music & entertainment, writing, business, design, sports, and more.

For a full rundown of MasterClass, read our review over here.

What to know before taking a cooking course on MasterClass

In my hours of watching and testing the cooking courses, I picked up a few tips that might enhance your experience.

First, watch the whole lesson before attempting to make a dish. You don’t necessarily have to watch the previous lessons, though it often helps. However, you do need a good idea of the whole process before getting started on a recipe. I found it helped to bring my laptop into the kitchen with me, and I’d reference the workbook and the video — making frequent use of the pause button — while preparing meals.

When taking the cooking classes, don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time. All of the chefs are encouraging, but several stress the importance of practice. If anyone could quickly and easily produce restaurant-quality meals, these chefs would be out of a job. They break down the steps so you can easily learn them, but it may take a few tries before you can master beef wellington or perfect the fruit tart.

Fresh ingredients are also a must. Yet, the instructors understand that substitutions often need to be made based on where you live and availability, and they make recommendations.

Some chefs suggest you turn to local sources for your ingredients when possible. You’ll usually find the freshest ingredients at your local farmers’ market. Or, you might consider signing up for a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, which is a subscription-based service that provides you with weekly boxes of fresh local farm products. In addition to the environmental and economic benefits, CSAs can help you minimize your time in grocery stores, where social distancing is virtually impossible.

Along with watching and engaging with several episodes of every culinary arts course on MasterClass (read more about our evaluation methodology below, after our recommendations), we researched reviews and ratings of the classes from other experts.

All of the courses we recommend produced mouthwatering meals in our tests, can be followed easily in your home without special equipment or ingredients, and that are helpful to a broad range of skill levels.  

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Here are the 11 best culinary arts and cooking classes you can take at home with MasterClass:

Click each link to go directly to our review of the class, or keep reading to learn about all of them.

“The Art of Home Cooking” with Alice Waters
“Cooking Techniques II: Meats, Stocks, and Sauces” with Thomas Keller
“Modern Italian Cooking “with Massimo Bottura
“French Pastry Fundamentals” with Dominique Ansel
“Cooking I” with Gordon Ramsay
“Cooking Techniques I: Vegetables, Pasta, and Eggs” with Thomas Keller
“Mixology” with Lynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana
“Texas-Style BBQ” with Aaron Franklin
“Cooking” with Wolfgang Puck
“Mexican Cooking” with Gabriela Camara
‘The Art of Home Cooking’ with Alice Waters
Master Class

“The Art of Home Cooking” with Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California offers outstanding tips for making restaurant-quality dishes using ingredients and equipment that most home cooks have readily available.

In this course, rather than go through countless recipes step by step, Waters provides 17 lessons and nearly four hours of instruction on how to stock your pantry, outfit your kitchen, and how to get creative with the ingredients you have.

Of course, she does explore a few of her favorite home recipes, including how to sub ingredients in and out. You can easily revisit the highlights in the 77-page full-color PDF workbook you receive with the class. 

I made her Oat Pancakes, which were easy and healthy. As recommended by Waters, I topped the creation with a strawberry and pear compote. If I have to say so myself, the results were something that might be worthy of a restaurant spot in California. I enjoyed the depth of flavor, but it did not play well with my kindergartener. 

‘Cooking Techniques II: Meats, Stocks, and Sauces’ with Thomas Keller
MasterClass

“Cooking Techniques II: Meats, Stocks, and Sauces” with Thomas Keller is designed for the hardcore carnivore with all you need to know to make inspired dishes using beef, poultry, lamb, and other meats.

Keller is best known for The French Laundry, a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Yountville, California that is arguably the best in the world. This is the second of Keller’s three MasterClass courses, and it offers an overwhelming amount of content, including more than more hours of video and a full-color PDF with over 100 pages of content.

He explains different cuts of beef, pork, poultry, and lamb and what they are used for as well as how to wet and dry age. He touches on the different ways of cooking meats, including pan roasting, frying, oven roasting, braising, and grilling, and when each is useful. In the process, he offers recipes that are accessible yet refined.

My favorite recipe was the Chicken Paillard with Arugula Salad and Sauce Vierge. I had an easy time making it, and everyone in the family enjoyed it. I was struck by how well the chicken and Vierge complemented each other. My teenager said it was his new favorite chicken dish and my wife was impressed by the presentation, so this dish is now in our regular rotation.

“Modern Italian Cooking” with Massimo Bottura
MasterClass

“Modern Italian Cooking” with Massimo Bottura packs a lot of information and skills into this 14-lesson course that takes basic ingredients and turns them into a gourmet dish.

The class is taught by the chef patron of Osteria Francescana, a three-Michelin-star establishment widely considered to be one of the best restaurants in the world. Most recently, Bottura has gained additional notoriety during the pandemic with his free Kitchen Quarantine series on his Instagram.

In this course clocking in at just under four hours, Bottura covers his modern twist on classic Italian dishes, incorporating causes that are important to him into his classes and often talking about the importance of reducing food waste. He also invites members of Il Tortellante, a fresh pasta workshop for disadvantaged kids, to help make tortellini.

So far, I’ve made two dishes from the course. First, I made the Sogliola al Cartoccio, or Mediterranean-Style Sole. Due to grocery shortages during the pandemic, I had to substitute some ingredients, but the finished product was beautiful, delicious, and healthy. Plus, it was relatively easy to make and didn’t take long.

The other dish I made is less of a dish and more of a habit. Bottura talks about a “Broth of Everything,” a vegetarian broth he makes using vegetable scraps he’s collected. I started doing this using a gallon bag stored in my freezer. Once it was full, I dehydrated it overnight in the oven at 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The next morning, I put all of the dehydrated, aromatic scraps in a stockpot along with some herbs and simmered it for six hours. The resulting broth is like liquid gold, and yes the name suggests, I use it in everything.

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