You love food—that is, when someone else prepares it for you. But you’re intrigued. You’re curious about why certain flavors work together and why some just fall flat. You want to have your own dinner party with skillful wine pairings, but the thought of putting yourself out there in front of your friends or your significant other makes your blood pressure start to rise. Don’t worry. There are plenty of places in Chicago—like Eataly, Chopping Block, and City Winery—that can help you prepare. Want a couples’ cooking class? You can sign up for those too.
When Eataly announced it was coming to Chicago, foodies everywhere rejoiced. And when it opened, it caused a frenzy. In addition to getting all sorts of tasty Italian pizza, pasta, cheese, olive oils, wine, and more here, you can also take great cooking classes. Eataly offers a vast range of classes for you and your friends, as well as couples’ cooking classes, in various locations around the shop, with many held in La Scuola on the second floor. There are hands-on classes at Eataly where you can learn how to make pasta, gnocchi, and pizza, as well as how to form cheese. Yes, you can make your own mozzarella, ricotta, and mascarpone! Eataly also offers many classes about wine, how to eat or shop like an Italian, Italian cities and history, and much more.
If you’re looking for a fun day or night out and you want to hear great music, eat delicious food, and drink fabulous wine, you can’t go wrong with City Winery. In addition to producing their own wine on site and hosting concerts by major artists, the 30,000 square-foot modern yet rustic West Loop dining, drinking, and music venue also offers wine classes. Each month, you can learn about wine from various regions around the world, including California, France, and Italy. While in class, you’ll taste a range of varietals and learn about terroir, food pairings, and more. And it all takes place in the City Winery barrel room.
The Chopping Block
For nearly 20 years The Chopping Block, one of Chicago’s preeminent cooking schools, has offered an array of classes for singles, friends, and groups. They have a location in Lincoln Square, but their main cooking school is at the Merchandise Mart in River North. With a massive professional kitchen set just off a wine shop and retail space, the Chopping Block offers sushi workshops, and classes to learn how to prepare Chinese food, Italian, tapas, Polynesian, and pretty much everything else. It’s also a fun setting in which to meet new people—who knows, maybe next time you’ll be taking a couples’ cooking class.
The Wooden Spoon
Every kitchen should have a wooden spoon, and fortunately, the super-cute storefront at The Wooden Spoon in the Far North Side Andersonville neighborhood has plenty for sale alongside everything else your kitchen might need—including cookware by Le Creuset, All-Clad, and Wusthof. But you’re here to cook, and they want to teach you! Cooking classes happen almost daily, with names like Whiskey Whimsy, Gifts from Havana, Mediterranean Dream, and Couples Cooking with Comedy, a couples’ cooking class taught alongside the pH Comedy Theater crew. In warmer months, the Wooden Spoon opens up its beautiful back patio, fires up its 40-inch grill and wood-burning pizza oven and lets you linger with your classmates.
ENOversity at Eno
Want to learn about wine in an intimate setting while also enjoying various cheeses and charcuterie? Then sign up for a monthly class at Eno, the wine bar at the InterContinental Hotel. Through its ENOversity series, Eno offers themed classes to cover specific regions like Australia, Burgundy, or Chile, or topics like sparkling wine. And because they limit classes to 10 people, you can interact with the instructors and each other without feeling like you’re missing something.