Listen up, gourmands: Favorite restaurants no longer indicate status. Sure, you may have a special table at Michy's. You can list past James Beard winners by heart, schmooze with top chefs, and toady up to sommeliers. But, really, no one cares anymore.
Today's epicureans must exit restaurant dining rooms and step into the kitchen. They must cook with ghee, debone a chicken, and fire up a wok.
What follows is a list of Miami's top five cooking classes. Enroll in these lessons. Fillet a fish, make gnocchi, churn your own ice cream. Build your street cred as a legit bon vivant.
Kids love coloring on freshly-painted walls with Sharpies. They love macaroni necklaces and eating glue. But Maria T. Cummins, a Venezuelan-native who launched Cooking With Kids Miami, also wants kids to love sun-dried tomato hummus and freshly-made flat breads. In her cooking classes, Miami's youth learns about grilled vegetable skewers and turkey burgers. They can even attend a four-week summer camp program entitled "Etiquette for Boys and Girls" ($125) where they master full course table manners and proper party behavior. Consider it a "Preemptive Pata Sucia Intervention" program. Enough said.
Price per Summer Favorites class: $35
If you have Twitter or Instagram, then you probably already know about Eleanor Hoh's Wok Star classes. The Canton-native is serious about healthy eating. (It's all over her social media.) She also wants you to know two things: Teflon is evil and cast-iron is best. Her wok-centric, no-recipe technique workshops are conducted at Pepe Calderin Design on the last Saturday of the month, or occasionally at the Lab Miami in Wynwood.
Price per person per class: $65
3. Edge Steak and Bar's popup cooking class series with chef Aaron Brooks
Welcome cocktails? Yes. Unlimited wine and beer? Yes. A take-home gift bag? Si! These monthly interactive cooking classes with executive chef Aaron Brooks and his culinary team begin with walk-throughs of the Four Seasons' herb garden. Then there's cooking and eating. Classes are intimate affairs -- only 12 pupils per session. Lessons feature collaborations with local breweries and surprise guest chefs such as Eating House's Giorgio Rapicavoli Bubbles and Brunch on June 22. That one is sold out. (Miami's a sucker for bubbles.) But there's always July!
Price per person per class: $75
This recreational cooking school is serious. It has the word "academy" in its name. The program is spearheaded by Lourdes Castro, an instructor at New York University's food studies department. There's a Fundamental camp for basics and an Advanced Technique camp for pros. Then there's the Biltmore Culinary Boot Camp, an intensive three-day course where there are repercussions. Improperly julienned carrots = thirty push-ups and twenty jumping-jacks. Just kidding. Maybe.
Price per regular class: $110; baking two-class course $200; culinary boot camp three-class course $450.
Stop complaining that Miami has subpar Indian food. Instead, be proactive! Take one of Ayesha D'Mello's cooking classes which take place in her Kendall home. Lessons are imparted on Saturday or Sunday and culminate with a family-style meal under a tiki hut in her backyard. Face the stunning greenness of a palak paneer. Sip on chai tea. And, really, stop with the whining already.
Price per person per class: $75 for one; $140 for two; $195 for three
Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyCodik.