Whether you‘re capable of burning a boiled egg or are a culinary force to be reckoned with, there’s always room for improvement. Happily Cape Town’s foodie reputation expands to more than just good restaurants and wine farms: there happen to be some excellent cookery schools here too. So whether you’re looking for a special date idea, an exciting way to spend your birthday, or just hoping to improve your skills in the kitchen, we’ve got you covered with a guide to some of the best cooking classes in the Cape.
But first, a few pointers.
- We strongly recommend highlighting any food allergies when making your booking. In some cases meals can be adapted to accommodate your preferences, or the chef can propose a different workshop.
- All the cooking schools on our list are geared for individuals as well as corporate, team-building, or private booking opportunities. Please enquire in advance for groups with more than four people.
- While most schools will provide you with recipes for dishes covered in the class, it’s best to take a notepad along to scribble down those rare chef secrets throughout the session.
Lastly, an enthusiastic mood and a sense of adventure are the best ingredients for tackling our lineup of exciting culinary courses.
Ginger & Lime moves away from the traditional cooking class structure, offering a more relaxed and interactive culinary experience as they share their passion for simple yet delectable cuisine. A vast selection of dining packages is on offer, from ‘Masterchef-style’ events to memorable children’s parties, and even a classy take on the good old South African braai. Guests are welcome to take part or simply sit back and watch as chef Denise Cowburn-Levy and her team prepare 6 to 8 delicious dishes in their uber-chic Fresnaye kitchen. Regular morning slots see Saba Saxena give a hands-on introduction to hearty Indian curries – perfect for the winter ahead. Clara Bubenzer’s simplified menu aims to master essential culinary crafts and create restaurant-level dishes with relatively basic ingredients. The coming weeks see an impressive line-up of guest chefs including industry giants such as Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen’s Liam Tomlinson, Thali’s Johan Van Zyl and international private chefs Neill Anthony and Matt Manning. Former restaurateur Jason Whitehead will present his specialised haute cuisine take on healthy dining, while sustainable enthusiast Arabella Parkinson shines a spotlight on a custom plant-based vegetarian menu.
The nitty-gritty: The price includes food and ingredients, basic wines, water and recipes. Guests are welcome to bring their own wine or refreshments along – no corkage is charged.
Venue: 2B Ave Disandt, Fresnaye
Time: All courses run for +/- 3 hours. Weekly daytime sessions starts at 9.30 or 10am, and evening sessions at 6.30pm. Saturday morning slots normally start at 9.30 or 10.30am.
Cost: Prices range from R575 to +/- R950
With a swoon-worthy career spanning more than two decades, including participation in the IKA Global Culinary Olympics, Top Nosh’s Nadin Pospech-Demmler is surprisingly somewhat of a dark horse on the Cape Town culinary scene. But don’t let her vast experience intimidate you. Pospech-Demmler strips away all kitchen angst with a fun and relaxing evening as she guides her students through the culinary basics, from mastering knife skills to balancing fresh herbs and spices. The school caters for all types of foodies, from keen teens and domestics right through to busy parents wanting to go beyond the staple spaghetti bolognese. Top Nosh’s innovative evening classes keep it cosy and intimate with a group of eight students, and the sheer variety of workshops on offer means you are bound to find something that caters to your particular skill set (or lack thereof). And you’re sure to walk out with more than just a few dinner party tricks. Former Food & Home editor Anna Montali taps into her Balkan roots to sway students with the beauty of Greek cuisine. Or how about an exotic Cape Malay or Indian course, both halaal, headlined by guest chef Hoosna Dhansay? If it’s good enough for Gordon Ramsay, it’s good enough for us.
The nitty-gritty: The price includes food and ingredients, homemade iced tea, water from the Newlands spring, and recipes. No alcoholic drinks are served, but guests are welcome to bring their own wine or refreshments along – no corkage is charged.
Venue: 51 Heerengracht Rd, Bergvliet
Time: All courses run for +/- 3.5 hours. Evening sessions start at 6.30pm, and daytime sessions starts at 8.30am on Wednesdays.
Cost: Single themed classes are priced at R490 per session. For courses of 4-6 lessons the cost ranges from R1400 to +/- R2820.
African Relish, the culinary brainchild of Philip and Lisa Key, ventures into some serious foodie territory, merging sumptuous fare with the scenic splendor of the Karoo. Its hands-on classes are run by chef Jaco Fourie, who draws inspiration from his surrounds by presenting traditional Karoo classics infused with haute cuisine touches. The spacious, modern and well-equipped Culinary Hall serves as an ideal retreat in which to master cheffing skills away from the hubbub of the city, with much of the produce handpicked from the adjacent olive grove and vegetable garden. Anytime Courses – available at short notice – include Karoo-Style Tapas, Sugar and Gluten-free Cooking, Bread Making and Mastering the Art of Pastry. There are also scheduled courses, often over a weekend, which boast some of the Cape’s top professionals, including Reuben Riffel, Bertus Basson, Nina Timm and charcuterie king, Neil Jewell, as well as visiting international chefs. African Relish also offers courses that combine with cycling, or yoga, or painting, and has even been known to host weddings. With a range of fun cultural excursions and charming Karoo accommodation, African Relish is a true foodie getaway.
The Nitty-gritty: The price includes food and ingredients and recipes. All drinks are excluded in the cost, but available as an optional extra.
Venue: 34 Church St, Prince Albert
Time: Half day sessions run for a duration of 3 hours and start at 9am or 2pm, while full day sessions at 9am for approximately 8 hours
Cost: Half day classes range from R850 to R900 per session. Full day courses are priced at R1500. Three day weekend courses start at +/- R3000 (excl. accommodation)
In-depth Cape Malay cookery demonstrations are somewhat shrouded in secrecy for a city teeming with so much cultural oomph. Is it due to the intricate and challenging balance of eastern spices, merged with traces of traditional Dutch and San cuisine? Perhaps. Luckily for us, Cape Fusion Tours is on hand to provide an earnest and thought-provoking insight, with the help of Cass Abrahams, the de-facto queen of traditional Cape Malay cuisine. Guests are welcomed into the heart of Abrahams’ own home, where they are given the rare opportunity to explore her immeasurable wealth of knowledge with an educational half-day cooking demonstration, during which Abrahams shares conversational tidbits regarding the background and local impact of this cooking form. The effortless and interactive ambience allows students to volunteer if they are confident enough, and to savour every detail. The menu itself is kept under wraps until the last minute, which adds a sense of mystery and also keeps Cape Fusion Tours ahead of the pack. Cape Malay Cooking with Cass is a cultural foodie experience unique to Cape Town, and is perfect for anyone – local or tourist – who is curious to learn more about the art of South African cooking.
The Nitty-gritty: The price includes a three course lunch and recipes. Refreshments are available as an optional extra. No alcoholic drinks are served in accordance with Muslim tradition.
Venue: Retreat, Southern Suburbs
Time: All courses are half-day, concluding with lunch
Cost: Pricing structured is based on date availability, transport, and the number of participants. Please contact Pam McOnie directly for a customised quotation.
It’s baffling how Nina Timm can so effortlessly juggle an up-to-the-minute social media feed of food porn, appear at guest gigs, pen cookery books, AND run a cookery school. But it therefore makes sense that Timm’s accessible cooking style aims to achieve the best result with most efficient use of time and money. Her tuition, which includes a wealth of entertaining anecdotes, is both informal and informative. The classes at My Easy Cooking are structured both for complete kitchen newbies and competent cooks. The four session ‘Survival’ course comes highly recommended, teaching general good cooking skills paired with valuable do’s and dont’s. The ‘Curry in a Hurry’ single session is a fun feast in which Timm incorporates the delicate craft of mixing spices with the various cooking techniques for Indian, Malay, Moroccan and Thai curries. ‘Luscious Desserts’ follows a practical hands-on approach to elevate the humble pud to dizzying and elaborate heights. My Easy Cooking works brilliantly for the individual, but is also perfect if you are looking for a fun way to spend a day with friends, as Timm also offers structured classes aimed at bigger groups. And perhaps best of all, the memorable ‘Secret Sundays’ hosted at Klein Roosboom Boutique Winery, presents an abundant, harvest-style lunch concept. This exclusive dining experience takes mysterious dining to a new level, and comes just time for Mother’s Day.
The Nitty-gritty: The price includes food and ingredients and recipes. While no refreshments are served, guests are welcome to bring their own drinks along. Please confirm with Nina.
Venue: Bien Donne Rd, Pinelands
Time: Classes run on Saturday mornings from 9am for +/- 3.5 hours
Cost: Single themed classes range from R500 to R650. Minimum 4 students per class.
What better way to prepare for the cold winter months ahead than by acquiring some bona fide cooking expertise with which to entertain friends or impress a date? KitchenAngel’s stress-free course teaches how to construct a three-course meal with minimum fuss and maximum effect. For something more intimate and romantic, the ‘For Men Only’ course is a workshop specially formulated for men hoping to woo their partners through seductive cuisine, with an array of dishes ranging from sensual starters to delectable desserts, while an upcoming ‘Mediterranean Food’ course is designed to take the more adventurous cookery student on a heady culinary journey. Lynn Angel – a professional chef with many years catering experience – is famed for her remarkable willingness to share the secrets of her masterful kitchen skills. Tutored by the renowned Raymond Blanc, Angel has adopted the motto ‘inspire, educate, and entertain’ with one of her foundation courses being the perfectly named ‘Kitchen Confidence’ class. And for those intrigued by KitchenAngel’s magnificent modernist kitchen, Angel also offers custom kitchen design consultation services. Her tailor-made concepts focus on creating a stylish yet fully functional ergonomic space to support the owner.
The Nitty-gritty: The price includes food and ingredients, notes, and recipes. Guests are encouraged to bring an apron and their own wine or refreshments along – no corkage is charged.
Venue: 3 Fig St, Fernwood, Newlands
Time: Evening courses start at 7pm for a duration of 4 hours
Cost: Single themed classes are priced at R1200 per session. Minimum of 4 students per class.
To be the best, you have to learn from the best. The Silwood School of Cookery is South Africa’s oldest cookery school, boasting student achievement unmatched by any other cookery school in South Africa. Silwood graduates can be found in kitchens worldwide, working for chefs including Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal and Raymond Blanc. Situated in a beautiful Victorian house in the heart of the tranquil Southern Suburbs, this cookery studio not only offers three year diploma courses, but plays host to a variety of specialised short workshops tailored to children, millennials seeking to up their game, or anyone who just love to cook. ‘Digs Survival’ is a must-do for first-time home leavers. Skip the takeout and allow chefs Kelly Berzack and Julia Chemaly to help you perfect your own fragrant Thai Curry, Chicken Lasagne, and pasta sauces ideal for chilly comfort evenings. Inspired By Sugar sees chef Gaie Gaag sharing her passion for sweet treats in a truly participatory experience which covers relatively simple confections such as lemon curd and honeycomb, to more detailed delights such as marshmallows and Turkish sweets. Chef Toni Voigt’s baking course gives Mary Berry a run for her money with delicacies such as lemon tart, pecan & caramel cheesecake and a chiffon cake. Despite its intimidating credentials, Silwood’s informative hands-on classes allow for creativity and fun. So you can rest assured: you will be in safe hands.
The Nitty-gritty: The price includes food and ingredients and recipes. Guests are encouraged to bring their own apron and refreshments.
Venue: 40 Riverton Rd, Rondebosch
Time: Various morning time slots, please enquire
Cost: Courses are normally made up of 3 sessions, priced from R1320 to R1500
Benn Van Der Westhuizen