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Art Institute of California

WHY A career-oriented program for aspiring professional cooks. WHAT This national chain of schools that provides professional training in the glamour careers—design, media arts, fashion and food—has a culinary school in Santa Monica. It offers associate and bachelor’s degrees in culinary arts, culinary management and baking and pastry. These are full-time, expensive programs intended to [...]

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Caramelized Productions

WHY Fabulous food and personal attention for a memorable wedding—if you are lucky enough to get on these boys’ busy calendar. WHAT Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook had their first 15 minutes as stars of 2 Dudes Catering on the Food Network, and now they’re enjoying their second bout of fame as the proprietors of [...]

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Chefmakers

WHY Particularly good classes in baking, as well as a well-rounded learn-how-to-cook series and lots of programs for kids and teens. WHAT With a large crew of professional instructors, including occasional celebrity-chef visiting teachers like Neal Fraser of Grace, this is a good resource for westside food lovers. And there’s a well-stocked kitchen store, so [...]

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Junior’s

WHY Deli platters for a meeting or a full-service spread for a party or, God forbid, a memorial. WHAT A 50-year-old Westwood landmark, Junior’s is the best westside deli and a reliable source for deli catering, from pick-up orders to full-service events. WHO Westside Jewish families preparing to feed a crowd after a bris or [...]

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Sushi Chef Institute

WHY For a rigorous and rewarding approach to making sushi, run by a master chef. WHAT Chef Andy Matsuda is a highly regarded sushi master and teacher, and he and his team of chef/teachers run an excellent school. Its core is a professional program for aspiring full-time sushi chefs, but it also offers short-term intensive [...]

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Chez Cherie

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WHY Trader Joe’s cooking classes. WHAT This small school has a number of good classes, from knife skills to cooking basics, but what lively and very funny owner Cherie Twohy is best known for are her single-session classes in making the most of Trader Joe’s products. These $55 classes are fun and full of great [...]

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Epicurean School of Culinary Arts

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WHY Excellent facilities, 25 years of experience and some really fun workshops. WHAT The focus here is split between serious professional training and terrific, and terrifically fun, workshops: Cupcake Couture, Braised & Beautiful and more. The workshops reflect current trends and styles (including sustainability) but aren’t faddishly trendy. There’s a newer campus in Anaheim. WHO [...]

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California School of Culinary Arts

WHY To get a professional culinary education without having to move to Hyde Park or Paris. WHAT First taking root in a small South Pasadena space, this school has grown faster than it can keep up with—it’s sprawled over Pasadena (you see its uniformed student chefs everywhere) and now has a satellite next to the [...]

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San Antonio Winery

WHY To tour, taste and buy at L.A.’s only remaining winery, which also happens to be a pretty good one. WHAT Going back to 1917, when L.A. and the San Gabriel Valley were rich with wineries, San Antonio is run with care and skill by the Riboli family. It produces wines on site under several [...]

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European Deluxe Sausage Kitchen

WHY Cold-smoked beef that’s hung over hickory coals for 72 hours, and the house-smoked, very lean (this is Beverly Hills) salumi. WHAT This shop smokes its own meats and sausages in a brick pit in the back, and the German-trained owners stock their cases with impeccably spiced veal wieners, chubby bratwurst, smoked beef tongue and [...]

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