Whether you want to get back to the basics or expand your menu at the family dinner table, there’s a cooking class—that won’t put a strain on your budget—for you. A number of community organizations, and health and educational institutions offer inexpensive courses to equip families with skills to make tasty, culturally relevant, cost-effective snacks and meals everyone will enjoy.
Aurora Cooks holds classes year-round that focus on a specific kitchen skill or center around a food theme such as “Apple a Day” or “Pho Sure.” Italian, Asian, Latin, and other global cuisines are sprinkled into the course calendar, and each class includes instruction on multiple dishes. Parent-child classes allow families to learn side-by-side ($30 parent and tot ages three to six, $50 parent and kid ages six to 12). Young chefs can also sign up for their own classes ($25 to $30) and learn with curricula designed for youth ages six to 14.
Parents who want an evening to themselves might opt for an adult-only class ($40) and then share their new knowledge with the family at home. Kids and family courses last one to two hours and tend to be scheduled for Saturday mornings and afternoons, while three-hour adult courses are held Friday evenings. Class schedules are posted on the Aurora Cooks site, and details about financial aid are available through the City of Aurora recreation centers.
The Teaching Kitchen at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus offers hands-on cooking demonstrations for all ages, included with museum admission ($15 ages two to 59, free under age 1 and members). The classes cover nutrition, cooking techniques to use with kids, gardening, and global cuisines. Sessions are typically held a few times each day (dependent on staffing) and they are first-come, first-serve, so it’s a good idea to check the sign-up list outside The Teaching Kitchen when you arrive at the museum.
Teaching Kitchen workshops are also available on occasion ($10 to $20 adult, $20 to $30 child; museum admission included). Get a taste of what your family might learn through the museum’s free list of recipes and tutorial videos online.
The Culinary Medicine Cooking Class series, by the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, takes a deeper look at food’s healing and disease-preventing powers. Registered dietitians share current nutrition research, give tips for simplifying food preparation, such as recipe hacks and uses for pantry staples, and take participants through healthy snack and meal preparations. Classes are $6 (free for members), and are typically held each Tuesday evening* (beginning February 1, 2022), from 5 to 5:30 p.m., online via Zoom.
Metro Caring’s free nutrition and cooking clubs include Cooking Class in Spanish, Healthy Traditions, and Kidz in the Kitchen. Participants are welcome to a shopping trip at Metro Caring’s market, where they can find a week’s worth of foods to match dietary needs and preferences, including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and lean protein. Clubs occur on rotation (current cohorts are at capacity); keep in touch with the center by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for updates. Volunteering opportunities are available and help families stay connected to services and community.
Colorado State University Extension programs across the Front Range, including Denver and Arapahoe counties, offer free Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) curriculum classes on nutrition, baby/child feeding, food budgeting, and food safety to families who are eligible for food assistance. The El Paso County center also periodically provides themed workshops such as The Mediterranean Diet, which teaches principles of the region’s nutrition and a hands-on hummus workshop (hosted January 27, 2022 for $5, register online).