How to make your cooking classes more engaging
If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him...the people who give you their food give you their heart.
So…You’ve mastered the art of cooking, and you’ve been told by your friends what an amazing chef you are. You’ve always been passionate about making food and, by extension, making people happy. You love showcasing your cooking skills, be it a thanksgiving turkey meal or a fancy candlelight date night. Nothing gives you more joy than looking at your family enjoying the delicious meal that you prepared with your own hands. We can very easily establish that cooking is something you love dearly.
But you’ve also had bad experiences; you’ve seen people struggle to cook simple meals. You’ve seen people order takeaway when they can very easily cook a homemade healthy meal! You’ve seen people complain about how difficult it is to make their favorite pasta or how they really wish they could cook but just don’t have the skills necessary to. But you know that cooking isn’t that hard, cooking good food is a skill that can be learned by anyone in the world!
So you set out on a journey. A journey to teach people the nitty gritty of cooking. You've yourself been to a cooking class; in fact, you've been to many! You've seen online cooking classes with professional chefs. You know you can teach basic cooking skills and cooking techniques. You wanna reach out to that budding chef out there who just needs a little bit of guidance. It shouldn’t be too hard, right? After all, you’re a great cook, and you love people! Teaching how to cook should be a breeze. People will naturally gravitate towards a cooking class.
Well, in our experience, we tend to notice that a lot of times, new business owners, even though they get many new customers when they start out. It becomes increasingly difficult for them to retain them. Why? Well, one of those reasons is that the classes were just not interesting enough. People signed up to learn a new skill, giving up their weekends where they’d like just to sit by and enjoy a movie. But they’re at your studio! Learning how to cook.
Eventually, when the classes start to look a lot like school, people leave.
People are in no mood to give up an hour of their precious weekend just to sit through a class and take instructions.
So, How to teach cooking classes and make them super engaging?
- Safety, Safety, Safety
- Make it feel like home!
- Mix it up!
- Make online content.
- Form a community
Here’s how you can change that. We bring you a few very important tips for you to successfully run your cooking classes and make your cooking lessons even more engaging!
1. Safety, Safety, Safety!
When you think of safety, you’re likely to think in the direction of boring rules, multiple restrictions, and guidelines. Basically anything but the opposite of fun, then why focus so much on safety? Well, the kitchen might be dangerous for beginner cooking classes because of the presence of hot pots, pans, and sharp knives. Kitchen tools require proper safety training and strict safety rules. Without proper safety rules and procedures in place for your cooking, these dangerous hazards can come in the way of having fun. Which we don’t really want, do we?
Here are a few common safety guidelines that should be followed in a kitchen -
- If you must walk while holding a knife, hold it flat against your thigh to prevent cutting someone by accident.
- Make sure to say “behind you” when walking behind someone. This is done in restaurant kitchens, so people don’t turn around and bump into you.
- Washing your hands before preparing food, wearing long hair back in a bun or ponytail, and using a clean-tasting spoon are all examples of good food hygiene habits.
- Always double-check that all oven and stove dials are off when you're done cooking. Make sure you never leave food alone while it is being cooked.
- Keep loose clothes, long sleeves, and long hair away from hot burners, dish towels, and pot holders. Avoid loose-fitting clothing.
- Dishcloths and pot holders should also be kept away from hot burners, loose clothing, long sleeves, and long hair. Keep your attire tight-fitting.
Proper safety guidelines in a cooking class can go a long way, especially for beginners. By ensuring adequate safety protocols, you’re making the cooking class a safe space and ensuring that people can be safe yet still have fun!
2. Make it feel like home!
While teaching sophisticated cooking and baking techniques is a good idea to cultivate variety in your students’ cooking arsenal. However, we all know that nothing tastes better than that one special recipe of a simple dish that your grandma or your dad used to make; they added a fun twist or maybe a special ingredient to a recipe that completely changed your tastebuds!
Invite your students to bring those recipes to life and try them out on your own! Teach them in your class.
People love sharing stories about their childhood and how a particular food comforted them, and people always love to share the recipes that they so thoroughly enjoyed throughout their childhood.
Maybe not every day, but every so often, you can ask your class to bring their favorite childhood recipe; it can be anything from grandma’s famous chocolate chip cookies or dad’s simple yet amazing one-pot chicken rice, maybe even your brother’s Mac n cheez with a special twist.
Whatever the recipes may be, homemade recipes will always bring tons of memories to be shared and lots of fun.
After all, who do we cook for but our own family and friends?
3. Mix it up!
Any class can get boring very quickly if you’re teaching the same old things over and over again. Offering a variety of cuisines and a diversity of multicultural, multiethnic food is key to keeping your students engaged.
Take inspiration from your students; if you have students from diverse backgrounds and communities, try teaching recipes from those specific cultures, and invite them to bring recipes from their culture into your cooking class.
This helps build an identity within your students, there is a sense of individuality and pride in sharing food from your culture. And the feeling of community grows amongst the others since intimate stories and backgrounds come with food.
Even so, there are always many different cuisines that are always popular and things that people absolutely love to eat. Here are a few different cuisines that you can try teaching that’ll bring variety to your cooking class and add diversity.
Caribbean cuisine is a delightful combination of diverse food styles, including African, Creole, and Latin American cuisine, incorporating various traditions that have been merged together over time. Fish, poultry, and hog are frequently roasted, grilled, or cooked into mouthwatering stews and curries. Along with coconut, bell peppers, limes, tomatoes, yams, plantains, and yucca, beans, and rice are stapled foods (starchy root vegetables). The meal is frequently made with Caribbean spices, marinades, and seasonings, which may also contain tropical fruits, spicy peppers, onion, cilantro, rosemary, tarragon, tamarind, and marjoram.
Popular Dishes - Soup Joumou (beef and pumpkin soup, Arroz con Leche, Coucou, and Flying Fish
Thai food has recently become one of the most popular cuisines in the world. Thai cuisine, albeit employing many of the same components as Chinese cuisine, differs from Chinese cuisine in that it uses a lot of broths, noodle meals, and fresh herbs. Contrary to Chinese cuisine, there aren't many dishes where vegetables are the main ingredient in a thick, rich sauce. Thai cuisine's primary flavors are hot, sour, bitter, and sweet.
Popular Dishes - Chicken Satay, Pad Thai, Thai Green Chicken Curry, Som Tam, Khao Klukh Krabi
Another very popular cuisine of recent times is from the East Asian region. Meals in Korea often consist of rice, vegetables, and meat—which may be grilled, steamed, or—in the case of fish—raw. At almost every meal, you can expect a plethora of tasty side dishes, such as Kimchi, a spicy fermented vegetable dish made of cabbage and radish. Sesame oil, fermented bean and chili pastes, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes are common seasonings. Popular foods include mung beans and bean sprouts, which can be sautéed or used to make cereal, noodles, and pancakes.
Popular Dishes - Samgyeopsal, Jjajangmyeon, Kimchi Stew, Soft Tofu Stew
Numerous modern Greek recipes are as old as the hills, and ancient Greek cuisine has influenced many of the cuisines we know today across much of Europe and the Near East. The distinctions between Greek, Turkish, Arabic, and even Italian food are frequently muddled as a result of the entering influences from the countries the Greeks colonized and explored. Greek mezze is a great way to enjoy the taste of Greece. The flavors so reminiscent of the Mediterranean are produced with the help of fresh herbs and olive oil. Since many of its islands are unable to maintain cattle, Greece prefers lamb and pig to beef. Fish and seafood are also often consumed.
Popular Dishes - Taramasalata, Dolmades, Moussaka, Pastitsio
4. Make online content!
With the immense rise of social media personalities and seeing how quickly everyone is adapting to the internet, it wasn’t hard to foresee so many food-related content creators pop up and making social media the helm of their careers.
Now it’s time for you if you haven’t started already! On average, people use social networking sites for one hour and forty minutes per day. That’s a lot of time for you to catch someone’s attention and to be promoting your cooking classes online!
Making food-related content on Instagram can be as easy as filming yourself or your cooking studio creating the food. Or you can try the very popular Mukbang format of content, wherein you place a camera in front of yourself as you enjoy eating your food; it’s a way of captivating people into delicious-looking food and making them wonder where they can eat it or how they can make it.
With food-related content, you can encourage students in your class to participate regularly in your videos and showcase their impressive abilities. It’s a fun way to acknowledge their skills and to show off to the internet how great a teacher you are!
5. Form a Community!
Now that you’ve started to spread your wisdom, your little birds are free to fly and soar through the heights of the culinary world. Well, then it’s time for you to turn them into the family!
You know how for every batch of cookies you make, you set aside a jar for them to go in? Why do you do that? Because you wanna showcase them, preserve them for a while, and keep them in a safe place, right? Why not do the same with your students? And no, we don’t mean you take your students and put them in a jar. We mean, why not make an ongoing, engaging community?
Make social media groups, keep your former students engaged with you, keep them up to date, and let them know what's up with your classes, tell them that they can pop in anytime. Maybe even teach a class or two!
Keeping former students socially engaged with you and your classes builds a healthy network where word about your business spreads organically through word of mouth, where people are willing to vouch for you. This is a very healthy way to ensure that you always have fresh cookie dough…ahem, sorry! We mean fresh students. This is a very healthy way to ensure that you always have a fresh batch of students flowing into your business.
While you’re at it, why not connect with other chefs and teachers in your area? It’s always a good thing to exchange tips with someone who’s sailing through familiar waters. It helps build healthy competition, and at the same time, there are always people to rely on and show you the path whenever you’re stuck.
There are probably a thousand different recipes for running a healthy business. We like to think that, on occasions, we figure out the secret sauce. But that’s enough with the food puns (read buns). Okay, that was the last one, we promise.
One thing we’re sure of, though, is that if you start applying these methods to your own business journey, you’re surely on the right track to running a successful business. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog so far, we’ll see you next time. Until then, Bon Appétit!
P.S. While you’re here,
Let us show you how you can quickly book students into your cooking classes by enabling instant enrollment with class registration software by Omnify.
Take a recess from administrative concerns with Omnify’s robust lesson scheduling and management solution, so you can focus on optimizing your classroom experience.
The perfect recipe to grow your cooking classes, starting with insightful tricks on making a community, various cuisines to try, and how you can engage students