Classes teach savory options to try at home

It is not easy to cook a gourmet meal at home, but classes at some of New York City’s finest restaurants may help you get one step closer. Whether you want to gain more experience or you are desperate to learn a few tips, the city is home to numerous cooking schools and classes that will convince you to throw out your microwave meals and start using your stove.

The Natural Gourmet Institute is based around the art of creating healthy cuisine, so you know that your experience will be full of natural foods. During the weekdays, the institute offers a Chef’s Training Program, which allows aspiring chefs to gain a health-conscious culinary education. On weeknights and weekends, it serves as a school for individuals who are interested in taking specialized classes.

Natural Gourmet Institute, located at 48 W. 21st St., is equipped with top-notch kitchens and equipment that guarantees the most professional experience. Each class is taught by an accomplished chef, many of whom have produced several cookbooks and attended prestigious cooking schools. The classes at NGI cover almost everything one would need to know about healthy cooking as well as about gourmet cooking in general. Upcoming classes include Vibrant Vegan Vegetable Dishes, Seasonal Vegetarian Sides for the Holidays and A Traditional Thanksgiving.

Depending on the type of class, the number of available spots varies. Most sessions are between $100 and $130 and are four hours long. You can also explore other opportunities, such as Friday Dinners and Certificate Programs.

Pizza may be a bit more indulgent, but places such as the Pizza a Casa Pizza School teach students how to make this favorite dish. The school, whose name translates to ‘pizza at home,’ began in Mark and Jenny Bello’s home kitchen, and in 2010 the couple decided to open up shop on the Lower East Side at 31 Grand St. Pizza a Casa is not just any cooking class — it is a New York City pizza-making experience. By attending one of their classes, you will learn the secrets to the perfect New York style pizza. The pizzas are even cooked in an electric oven, so that students can recreate the specialty at home.

The school is just big enough to fit the instructors, students, ingredients and equipment, which gives the space a homey feel. Each four-hour class has between 12 and 16 students, and is priced at $165 a person or $295 per couple for the couples class. They also offer a Pasta-Making Workshop for the same price, which is currently only available for couples. In addition, Pizza a Casa does private events that can host up to 24 people.

Pizza a Casa ensures fresh and accessible ingredients. Their cheese comes from the infamous Di Palo’s Italian Specialty Shop in Little Italy, their tomatoes are from Coluccio & Sons in Brooklyn and other necessities come from local markets.

When you go to Pizza a Casa, you, like the over 20,000 graduates, will be provided with the freshest traditional New York City pizza experience.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Nov. 18th print edition. Email Caroline at [email protected]