Cooking classes in Dallas range from free to $400. So which ones should you spend your money on? We visited several cooking classes and have a list of the best.

Cooking classes in Dallas range from free to $400. So which ones should you spend your money on? We visited several cooking classes and have a list of the best.

Rose Baca/The Dallas Morning News

Hoping to hone your skills in the kitchen but don't know where to start? We whisked our way through cooking classes in Dallas-Fort Worth to determine which ones are worth your time and money. Consider these classes if you want to meet new people, impress a date or schedule some quality time with friends or family. 

We guarantee you won't leave hungry.

Central Market

  • Take classes here if: you're a beginner in the kitchen
Galettes, or herbed oatmeal crepes, were on the menu at Central Market's More Savory and Sweet Crepes cooking class. The crepes were topped with broiled salmon, sour cream and herbs.

Galettes, or herbed oatmeal crepes, were on the menu at Central Market's More Savory and Sweet Crepes cooking class. The crepes were topped with broiled salmon, sour cream and herbs.

Brooke Burchill

Never successfully completed a complicated recipe? Start your culinary education at Central Market's Cooking School.

An instructor for the More Savory and Sweet Crepes cooking class demonstrates a proper (and mouthwatering) drizzle atop chocolate crepes with chocolate mousse.

An instructor for the More Savory and Sweet Crepes cooking class demonstrates a proper (and mouthwatering) drizzle atop chocolate crepes with chocolate mousse.

Brooke Burchill

Chefs at Central Market work directly alongside their students during special "hands-on" classes. For beginners, it's a fantastic way to better understand the cooking process. Small details like knowing how to best crack an egg or mastering the difference between dry and wet measuring are often implied knowledge in other cooking classes. At Central Market, a chef will be just a few feet away as you make each recipe -- and they're happy to answer questions and offer advice.

At a crêpes cooking class at the grocery store's Lovers Lane location in Dallas, the instructors made a point to have new students practice important skills, including learning to separate an egg yolk from an egg white and successfully flipping a crêpe.

Chefs provided valuable grocery shopping tips and jumped in to demonstrate techniques as needed. What's more, the instructors were committed to making sure every single student got to experience or witness every part of the process -- so much so, in fact, they asked multiple times, "Did everyone learn what they came here to learn?"

If you walk into a Central Market cooking class a novice, you'll surely walk out with some confidence in the kitchen.

  • Prices typically range from $55 and $70 per person. Five D-FW grocery stores: Southlake, Plano, Fort Worth and two in Dallas. centralmarket.com/cooking-school.aspx.

Sur La Table

  • Take classes here if: you want to add some recipes to your arsenal
Sur La Table just opened its new store, complete with a fully equipped kitchen for cooking classes, on Cole Street in Uptown Dallas. The shop was previously located on Travis Street.

Sur La Table just opened its new store, complete with a fully equipped kitchen for cooking classes, on Cole Street in Uptown Dallas. The shop was previously located on Travis Street.

Brooke Burchill

Whether you're a novice in the kitchen or a cooking connoisseur, the classes at Sur La Table can help you build a repertoire of recipes that are easy to replicate at home.

The class is relatively slow and the recipes aren't complex, which means no student moves ahead without everyone keeping up. This pacing makes it easy to stop and take notes along the way. 

The classes are relaxed and stress-free -- and also BYOB! (Pro tip: Bring a bottle or two of your favorite wine to make fast friends.)

Students in the Easy Entertaining: Brunch cooking class at Sur La Table cooked and dined on a variety of classic brunch entrees, including this smoked salmon eggs benedict with hollandaise.

Students in the Easy Entertaining: Brunch cooking class at Sur La Table cooked and dined on a variety of classic brunch entrees, including this smoked salmon eggs benedict with hollandaise.

Brooke Burchill

Though the chef is never far away, a cooking class at Sur La Table feels a bit more independent than others offered around town. During a brunch-themed class at the Sur La Table in Uptown, we worked in groups of about four and relied mostly on our groupmates and the printed recipes to guide our way through the cooking process.

Working in small groups means there will be more opportunities to divvy up tasks without diluting the experience of the class, but groups don't work with the chef's direct guidance during the entire process. If you're still finding your groove in the kitchen, it may be beneficial to attend with someone who has some experience cooking.

  • $69-79 per person, $49 for kids classes. 4525 Cole Avenue, Suite 190, Dallas; 1151 E. Southlake Boulevard, Suite 340, Southlake. surlatable.com.

Pirch

  • Take classes here if: you're looking for kitchen tricks -- and also like a deal (free!)
Reporter Brooke Burchill looks on as chef John Simon assists Joyce Edmonson with preparing pasta at Pirch.

Reporter Brooke Burchill looks on as chef John Simon assists Joyce Edmonson with preparing pasta at Pirch.

Allison Slomowitz/Special Contributor

Cooking classes at Pirch differ from those at Central Market and Sur La Table in two ways: First, students aren't given recipe packets to reference throughout the class. Second, it's entirely up to each student to decide how heavily they want to participate hands-on, if at all.

A student prepares ravioli at a Pirch cooking class at NorthPark Center in Dallas.

A student prepares ravioli at a Pirch cooking class at NorthPark Center in Dallas.

Allison Slomowitz/Special Contributor

Chefs leading the class will give verbal instruction and guidance, which means a much more laid-back and unstructured experience than a typical cooking class. Rather than learn how to cook a meal from beginning to end, you'll work on bits and pieces of the process, such as making fresh ricotta for ravioli or perfecting a tomato sauce by adding spices to taste. If you cook something you love, you can ask the chefs to share the recipe and write it down yourself.

The best use of these classes is not to learn to cook, but to pick up on a few tricks of the trade -- such as how to avoid drying out your pasta dough -- and commit them to memory.

Because the class is best absorbed in small pieces, feel free to take a break during class to grab a coffee from Pirch's cafe; your experience won't suffer from the pause in participation. Want to cook nonstop for the entire hour and a half? You can do that, too. Best of all, you won't be out any cash if you end up preferring to sit on the sidelines, as every demonstration is free. The low-pressure environment is best enjoyed with friends.

  • All classes are free. 8687 N Central Expressway (inside NorthPark Center), Dallas. northparkcenter.com/stores/northpark-pirch.

Tre Wilcox Cooking Concepts

  • Take classes here if: you want to learn from a chef-lebrity
Chef Tre Wilcox drizzles dressing over salad during a cooking demonstration for media and guests at his new business, Tre Wilcox Cooking Concepts, in Plano on March 9, 2016. 

Chef Tre Wilcox drizzles dressing over salad during a cooking demonstration for media and guests at his new business, Tre Wilcox Cooking Concepts, in Plano on March 9, 2016. 

Rose Baca/The Dallas Morning News

The best reason to take a class at Tre Wilcox Cooking Concepts is the obvious one: You'll have a chance to cook side-by-side with the "chef-tainer" -- that is, the man who proved his chops on Top Chef and Iron Chef America, Tre Wilcox. The chef's booming personality and infectious laughter make him a fitting entertainer for even the most uninvolved attendees. As in: Spouses, significant others and family members will feel compelled to get involved in the action when they fully intended to sit this one out.

As an added bonus, whoever pays to participate in the class is asked to invite a guest to join them for dinner towards the end of the night when the cooking is nearly finished.

Students at Tre Wilcox Cooking Concepts slice and dice at work stations to prepare the first course for a Texas Grilling Steakhouse cooking class.

Students at Tre Wilcox Cooking Concepts slice and dice at work stations to prepare the first course for a Texas Grilling Steakhouse cooking class.

Brooke Burchill

Here's how it works: Two full courses are prepped simultaneously, then the first course is cooked to completion, at which point all guests should have arrived to eat. After the first course is devoured, the students briefly return to the stoves to finish the second course while their guests sit nearby and sip on wine or a beverage of their choice. (Pro tip: The classes are BYOB, but if you forget to bring a wine or beer from home, pop into Matador Meat & Wine next door to Tre Wilcox Cooking Concepts before class.) Before long, the second course is served, and all in attendance feast until they're stuffed full of food much finer than that of your average cooking class. Blue-cheese-crusted filet, lobster ceviche and grilled lamb chops with rosemary balsamic were among the entrees featured in some of Wilcox's hands-on classes.

Before you sign up, it may be beneficial to know that Wilcox's classes move quickly, so it helps to have some experience in the kitchen. Everyone who attends is given a list of recipes for what they'll be making and eating throughout the class, but Wilcox makes it clear that the recipes are to be used as "guidelines." Within the group, attendees take different part of the recipes, but Wilcox assures that students will learn the whole process by asking teams to explain what they're working on. This not only reinforces what students have learned; it allows the class to understand the full process of making complex meals. 

If you want to elevate your chef game to new heights and enjoy more than a small tasting of the fruits of your labor, this is the class for you.

  • $80 per person, $175 for couples classes. 8200 Preston Road, Suite 135, Plano. trewilcox.com.

Honorable mention: Abacus

  • Take classes here if: you're practically a chef
Gary Scott has been a regular student at Abacus' cooking classes.

Gary Scott has been a regular student at Abacus' cooking classes.

Courtesy of Abacus

If you're serious about cooking and not afraid to shell out some serious cash to prove it, consider applying for a coveted spot in a cooking class at Abacus. The restaurant's "highly refined, intensely focused" cooking classes are offered only a handful of times each year, and they sell out a year in advance. Also, they cost $400 per person.

So what do you get for that chunk of change? For starters, you get a personalized chef's coat and the run of the kitchen for the full day on a Sunday, when the restaurant is closed. You'll work in one of four groups, each of which prepares a course with the help of a member of Abacus' team of chefs. At the end of the day, you and a guest of your choice will sit down to a four-course meal and wine.

Worth it? You be the judge.

  • $400 per person, unless otherwise noted. 4511 McKinney Ave., Dallas. abacus-restaurant.com.

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