Five Great Cooking Classes to Take this Summer

No matter if you're a professional chef or have just ventured into the kitchen for the first time, there's always something to learn about cooking. While it can be fun to learn from a cookbook or food website, it's rewarding and inspiring to learn from a pro. For beginners there are basic classes, and for intrepid meat-lovers there are butchery-intensive specials. Summer's a great time to expand your culinary knowledge, whether it's taking Dad along for Father's day or just improving your cakes for the heck of it. Check out these five great cooking classes to take this summer.

1. Barbecue Cooking Class - To many cooks, summer means one thing more than anything else: barbecue. No matter how much thought you put into the perfect hamburger on your frying pan, it's hard to beat the smoky richness you get from slow-cooked meat and a delicious sauce. If you're looking for some serious BBQ learning, consider checking out the BBQ Institute with locations in Texas and Washington. Besides a slew of single classes, the BBQ Institute also offers intensified classes and "Fantasy Camps."2. Butchery Class - It's not for the faint of heart but a butchering class will give you a better sense of what cuts of meat come from where and will help you to visualize what you're going to be eating when you are shopping or eating. Fleisher's Grass-Fed & Organic Meats offers classes in Kingston, NY, which is about a two hour drive north of NYC, so it could be a nice getaway from the big city. Read more about DIY Butchery here.

3. Vegetarian Cooking Class- On the other end of the eating of spectrum, you could consider a vegetarian cooking class. Many people avoid vegetarian food because they think its boring or plain. But learning to making vegetables properly might make you forget meat ever existed. Whether you want to learn how to completely replace meat in your diet or just add some excitement to your side dishes, making vegetables more enjoyable will make it easier for you to get your daily-recommended intake. The Natural Gourmet Institute for Food & Health in New York City offers a number of different vegetarian based classes that will help you eat healthier, have more energy, and add exciting new dishes to your cooking repertoire.

4. Fish Cookery Class- A great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals that benefit your general health, fish is recommended to be eaten at least twice a week help prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. With so many little bones and the fear of overcooking a filet, a lot of people simply avoid the nautical creatures. But such a tasty, lean option shouldn't just be disregarded so quickly. Also, being able to cook fish properly will add a whole new element to your outdoor grilling options, which would be a great option for a healthier summer. If you're looking for a great three-day trip up to Canada, you might check out the Nova Scotia Seafood Cooking School.

5. Baking Class - Everybody loves baked goods. Cakes, pies, breads, you name it. Baking is a great way to relax and get rid of stress. A baked good makes a great end to a meal or a wonderful gift. But as such an exact science in many ways, baking does require a bit of know-how and thought. Therefore a baking class might be a great option for those who are looking to expand their cooking beyond the savory and into the sweet. Give Me Some Sugar in Chicago offers a number of classes in a variety of cake techniques that will make your cake look like it came from one of those Food Network cake-offs. And with "party" classes, you could go with a group of friends to make the experience even more fun.

Have you taken any great cooking classes?