When starting a beginner cooking class, be it a demonstration, hands-on or workshop, make sure it is the right style of class for the skill level and learning style involved. Investigate the classroom to make sure it is equipped with all necessary cooking tools; if not, ask if students are required to bring their own. Make sure the class size is between 12 to 14 students, as individual instruction is vital in beginner classes.
The style of classes can greatly impact a student's learning experience. Demonstration classes have few opportunities for hands-on work. Instead, students watch the instructor prepare a meal. This is a good option for those who are not yet confident in their skills to try to make a dish on their own, but students who are ready to cook often find this style boring and have trouble comprehending the methods without trying them on their own.
Hands-on classes not only give students the opportunity to prepare meals but to ask questions along the way. Depending on the size of the class, the instructor may not be able to devote equal time to each student. These classes are also more expensive than demonstration classes.
Workshops combine the demonstration and hands-on approaches. They last longer than a regular class, sometimes spanning days, weekends, or a week. While workshops are the ideal way to learn and digest the class's curriculum, they are very time consuming and expensive.
No matter the format, expect to learn how to use everyday kitchen equipment. Basic knife skills are taught, including the manner in which vegetables should be prepared for cooking. Menu planning is reviewed, and simple dishes including salads, meats and breads are attempted.