Joburgers take food seriously. With some of the country's hottest and most award-wining restaurants, as well as a new food market popping up every weekend, the City of Gold is a certifiable foodie Mecca. When you feel like you want to get out of the dining room and into the kitchen yourself, there are also plenty of cooking classes and culinary demonstrations on offer around the city that present a chance to learn something new in a fun and sociable atmosphere that is perfect for a night out with friends or a team building event. From intimate classes at the home of a star chef inspired to share the tastes of her heritage, to skills workshops in the professional kitchens of the country's top culinary training institutes, here are some of Joburg's best classes for cooking fans.
THE COOKERY BY THE SECRET JOZI CHEF
Paul Maciel, former chef and owner of popular Italian restaurant Pronto, stepped out of the kitchen in 2016 to build The Cookery cooking school alongside his popular food blog The Secret Jozi Chef. The personable and energetic staff at The Cookery, based in Craighall Park, run a broad range of interactive social classes where you can bring a group of friends or meet other foodies for an evening of fun. CUISINE: Varied. Includes regionally focused courses such as Mediterranean and Latin. BOOKING: Email The Cookery at firstname.lastname@example.org. PRICING: R300-R480 p.p.
A savant of Indian cuisine and Eastern culture, Alexis Kriel's classes are an inviting education on the whole package of cooking, eating and experiencing curries—the spices, flavour profiles, textures and colours, alongside the ritual and history. Alexis imparts a warmth and depth of knowledge in her kitchen, making her intimate classes feel like you're visiting with a familiar friend, while indulging in one of South Africa's most beloved cuisines. CUISINE: Indian BOOKING: Email Alexis Kriel at email@example.com. or call +27 11 887 8755. PRICING: R800 p.p. (for private groups only, 10+ people)
One of Joburg's most beloved, not-so-secret culinary experiences is Chef Su-yen Thornhill’s pop-up dinner party in Houghton, Chez Fong. Asian fusion meets the rest of world, as Su-Yen blends her Chinese heritage with flavours from across Europe and Africa in the mouthwatering dishes she prepares for her demonstration-style dinners (the menu changes every week!). These dinners regularly sell out, so keep an eye on the schedule she releases on her Facebook page and make sure you book early. Su-yen also offers cooking classes where you have the opportunity to make the dishes yourself. CUISINE: Asian fusion BOOKING: Contact Chez Fong at +27 74 361 9079. PRICING: Contact Chez Fong directly for pricing.
FLAVOURS OF SUSAN GREIG
Susan Greig hosts a monthly demonstration-style cooking class from the comfort of her home in Hyde Park that focuses on fresh seasonal ingredients, simple cooking techniques that anyone can master and re-discovering the joy of cooking. Her classes are relaxed, entertaining and interactive, with Susan demonstrating six of her recipes first, and then encouraging you to have a wily go at it yourself (mistakes are encouraged!). Susan's wisdom goes beyond the recipes themselves to the art of the presentation, which she delights in and willingly shares all her tips and tricks. 2018 closes out with Susan's Christmas Feast workshops at the end of November, and her Summer Entertaining series in early December. CUISINE: Varied. Focus on healthy and fresh ingredients. BOOKING: Book directly online here susangreig.co.za/courses.php. PRICING: R500 p.p.
DISCOVERY VITALITY HEALTHYFOOD STUDIO
Discovery Vitality's HealthyFood Studio is a new educational concept designed to make healthy eating more accessible and exciting in South Africa. Helmed by professional chefs and supplied with fresh products from Woolworths, the studio in Sandton features classes that highlight the simplicity, variety and flavour of healthy cooking, and encourages finding a balance between nutrition and taste (n.b you don't need to be a Discovery member to join in). Highlights of the studio's upcoming schedule include a 'Healthy Braai' class, kids courses, and plant-based cooking and working with local ingredients workshops (multiple dates for all classes). CUISINE: Varied. Focus on healthy and fresh ingredients. BOOKING: Book directly online here healthyfoodstudio.co.za/#/courses. PRICING: R595-R850 p.p. (incl. a complimentary guest with purchase)
CAPSICUM CULINARY STUDIO
As one of South Africa's leading professional culinary training institutes, Capsicum Culinary Studio focuses on educating the country's future chefs and pastry makers. Capsicum also opens its doors to aspiring home cooks for its Masterclass series, which is an exceptional opportunity to strengthen cooking skills in a fun and social, hands-on environment. Classes conclude with a social tasting and a complimentary glass of wine. CUISINE: Varied. BOOKING: Email Capsicum at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +27 86 111 2433. PRICING: R490 p.p.
SA CULINARY CLUB
Wandile Mabaso's 'cook and dine' pop up-style venue, the SA Culinary Club in Bryanston exudes a highly sophisticated, yet creative energy from its eponymous restaurant to the inclusive courses on offer. Mabaso is a veteran of Michelin-starred French kitchens and a protege of Alain Ducasse who calls him the 'Ambassador of French cuisine in South Africa'. Classes are taught in a professional environment, including their signature Cook & Dine experience where attendees prepare the first of three courses with the executive chef, and the more social and stylish Champagne Brunch. The multi-purpose, dynamic culinary space can be rented out for corporate team buildings, brand activations and private events. CUISINE: Varied. BOOKING: Email the SA Culinary Club at email@example.com or view the calendar and book online at saculinaryclub.com/store/. PRICING: R695 p.p.
The divine confections on display at 44 Stanley's Chocoloza look almost too pretty to eat—almost. The finest Belgian chocolate is used to bring out the uniquely African flavours of Ethiopian coffee, Khoisan salt, and Marula fruit infused in Chocoloza's beloved chocolates and truffles. You can learn how these delicacies come to life during Chocoloza's bi-monthly Chocolate Experience workshop, which includes an interactive chocolate making demonstration and plenty of tastings! CUISINE: Dessert BOOKING: Contact Chocoloza at firstname.lastname@example.org. PRICING: R390 p.p.
KITCHEN PARTY AT THE HYATT REGENCY JOHANNESBURG
If you'd like a more feet up and hands off culinary experience, look no further than the Hyatt Regency's social and fabulous Kitchen Party series. Sit back, watch and enjoy as Executive Chef Xavier Francis leads his team in preparing for you a five course menu in the OneNineOne restaurant open kitchen that highlights their passion for locally sourced, sustainable ingredients. Each Kitchen Party is themed and highly interactive—as you sip on Cape wines, the Chef shares why he picked and paired certain flavours, while his team is firing away at your supper in the open kitchen. BOOKING: Contact the Hyatt at +27 11 280 1188 or book online here. PRICING: R380 p.p.