This post is written by Nicole Pallante, who blogs at A Local Choice. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter @ALocalChoice.

Whether you are looking for a social evening out or yearn to learn new recipes and skills beyond your current repertoire, these six Greater Columbus locations are sure to take your culinary and homesteading abilities to a whole new level.

seasonedfarm1The Seasoned Farmhouse: This recreational cooking school has long been a dream of Tricia Wheeler, chef and Editor-in-Chief of Edible Columbus. At her charming Clintonville location, numerous expert instructors guide you through hands-on and demonstration cooking and gardening courses which range from seasonally focused to regionally specific. Unique offerings include Fresh from the Farmers Market (a four-week series that teaches how to prepare meals using ingredients sourced from the local farmer’s market) and Classical French Training (a 30-week series designed for both the novice cook and those with more experience looking to sharpen their culinary skills).

cityfolksCity Folks Farm Shop: Since opening their doors in March 2012, City Folks Farm Shop has offered food education classes that are anything but typical. There is no kitchen, no printed recipes, or meals consumed, yet the instruction they offer has everything to do with food. Centered on informative conversation, their class options include Seed Saving, Organic Gardening, Food Preservation, Fermentation and Bee Keeping, just to name a few. After class, purchase gardening tools and supplies as well as homestead products on the premises in order to DIY at home.

thekitchen1The Kitchen: Owners Anne Boninsegna and Jen Lindsey do not focus on offering traditional cooking classes at their German Village commercial space, but instead host hands-on parties, creating a social experience centered around a selection of appetizing recipes. The four-six recipes prepared for each event are divided among participants and the varying levels of difficulty allow for as much or as little involvement as desired. The ladies of The Kitchen are there to offer guidance, but their main goals are that everyone has fun, learns a new recipe or technique, and enjoys the communal meal that the group helped to prepare. Register for one of their monthly public dinner parties or plan a private dining event customized specifically for your group.

Local Matters: Don’t have time to attend a class outside of your normal schedule?  Wellness Matters, the newest program offered by Local Matters, is partnering with the Columbus Foundation and Two Caterers to bring healthy food education to  groups. Offerings include Cooking Demonstrations, Hands-on Cooking Classes, and Group Activities, and can be customized to fit the needs of any environment, including family reunions and bachelorette parties.All classes consist of a healthy meal paired with an explanation of basic nutrition and cooking techniques.  If your group prefers to be active participants, sign up for one of the Team Activities such as a Cook-off Challenge.  This “Iron Chef” inspired class promotes team building by dividing participants and presenting a mystery ingredient from which they create a dish.100% of profits from the classes offered go to support Local Matters’ mission. 

Franklin Park Conservatory: Many of us are familiar with the breathtaking botanical gardens and unique event spaces at the Franklin Park Conservatory, but did you know they also offer food education courses for children, teens, and adults? The adult courses consist of a wide variety of hands-on as well as demonstration options and are taught by instructors who aim to use ingredients straight from the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Community Garden Campus on site. While some classes are hosted in the Education Pavilion, the months of May through November offer access to an outdoor kitchen known as the Live Fire Cooking Theater. This outdoor space includes a wood-fired brick oven perfect for their Pizzas with Pizzazz class and a fire pit for live cooking demos. If you attend a class and are left craving more, check to see if it is part of a quarterly series which offers different recipes of the same topic such as Meatless Monday and Cooking for One.


The Hills Market: This locally-owned specialty grocer offers private demonstration cooking classes, as well as classes taught by some of the best local chefs in Columbus, at both their Worthington and Downtown locations. Private classes accommodate groups of 12-32 people, have flexible menu options, and include a three course meal paired with three glasses of wine. The chef instructed courses, offered January through March, are taught by chefs from an assortment of the city’s top rated dining establishments, including Barcelona, Lindey’s, and Basi Italia. These lessons typically highlight a locally sourced ingredient, which after class is available for purchase in order to recreate your favorite new dishes at home.