What’s the most surefire way to get out more, meet people, have fun and learn something new? Take a class. And in our vibrant city, there’s no shortage of options.
Baltimore Chef Shop
Whatever your skill level in the kitchen, Baltimore Chef Shop has a class for you — solo or with a partner. With couples classes, parent-child classes and classes that focus on a specific cuisine or technique, “we provide a nonpretentious environment that is inviting and warm, with equipment and tools you’d have in your own home,” said owner Gwynne Ryan. “We try to introduce our clients to flavors and techniques they might not be that familiar with.” Dim Sum and Thai street food are two of their most popular classes as is homemade pasta making. Their summer kids and teen camps begin in June and “sell out quickly,” according to Ryan.
Baltimore Yoga Village
Baltimore Yoga Village can help you take a breather from your hectic week with drop-in classes or specialized six- to 10-week sessions. Classes can take a broad and general focus (such as beginner, intermediate, hatha and kundalini yoga classes) or appeal to very specific areas or clientele (such as prenatal yoga, yoga for arthritis, “teen girl yoga squad,” yoga for anxiety and depression and even a “sublime attitude meditation” course.) While you’re there, sign up for a retreat or workshop. One upcoming workshop (May 19) is Soulful Communication, featuring Taber Shadburne, who will teach participants meaningful interaction, or “yoga of telling the truth.”
Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC)
For sheer volume — and variety — it’s hard to top Community College of Baltimore County’s offerings. This summer’s 90-page catalog offers instruction in everything you can imagine: boating, scuba diving, jewelry making, self-defense and a water fitness class with the intriguing title: “Swimnastics.” Mary Pless, CCBC’s continuing education marketing coordinator, is especially excited about CCBC’s Fab Lab, a high-tech 3D-printing lab, where you can design and print “anything. A statue. A kidney! Anything.” While Pless has not seen anyone print a kidney in this class — yet — she said: “I’ve seen some of the things they’ve turned out, and they are really cool.” But classes don’t have to keep you indoors this summer: In addition to boating opportunities, CCBC offers biking and hiking classes, where you can head out into Maryland’s wild places with an experienced guide. In addition to learning more than you would on a solo excursion, there is the added social benefit. “You can join and meet a group of like-minded people,” said Pless.
Paint and Sip Studio
You can learn to paint in a party atmosphere and bring your masterpiece home at Paint and Sip Studio in Owings Mills. Even those who believe they lack artistic aptitude can succeed, said owner Debbie Hoffman. Hoffman explains that using Paint and Sip Studio’s “paint by instruction” method, “everybody can do it.” With the option of painting canvas, wine glasses or wine bottles, Paint and Sip Studio hosts private parties (on-or off-site) and open painting sessions. According to Hoffman, recent private sessions have included “a team-building exercise, a bridal shower, an adult birthday and a kid’s birthday. We’ve done these in people’s homes, synagogues and churches. It’s a fun time. And it gets the creative juices flowing. People love it.”
For the Love of Food
Why would you fuse a catering company with a cooking school? For the love of food, of course. With its mouthful of a name, For the Love of Food offers interactive cooking classes, cooking parties and even corporate team-building exercises. Owner Thomas Casey said companies can make team-building a functional outing for employees because employees can use these skills at home. For private engagements of any sort, Casey offers three formats: camaraderie (where students cook a meal as a team and eat together); and competitive (where students compete in a recipe war, along the lines of various Food Network shows. The third format is “feed the community,” said Casey. “Each person makes a meal for a community organization and for themselves.” Classes are offered by cuisine and serve those between the ages of 8 and 80. Scouts can even earn their cooking badges here. “Sushi is popular,” said Casey, as are “date night, baking and pastry. Everyone with different skill levels learn together. It’s a great social and educational [opportunity].”fortheloveoffood.com
Erica Rimlinger is a local freelance writer.