7 top Singapore cooking schools

7 top Singapore cooking schools

When the urge to slip on an apron strikes, foodies in Asia's culinary capital hit these kitchen classes

A recent Gallup survey says Singaporeans are the world's most unemotional bunch.

Sure, we might be a bit reserved. But that doesn't extend to matters of the stomach.

Whether facing down a steaming plate of chili crabs or engaged in hot debate over where to find the best laksa in town, food is no trivial matter.

That's why Singapore's cooking schools are so popular.

Highlighting our city's multicultural makeup, here are seven top venues that show us how to whip up everything from Singaporean classics to Western gourmet.

Hooked

Hooked chef Julius Tan.Classes at Hooked cover both Asian and international cuisine, but pay special attention to Peranakan, fusion and grilled dishes.

The popular Singapore cooking school can host up to 20 people for a hands-on group session (30 maximum for a demonstration-style class). If it's company team building you're after, chefs Nicole Loh and Julius Tan can organize corporate cooking classes off-site.

The "Peranakan Ultimate Buah Keluak" class is particularly popular. Students learn how to cook the Singapore staple in different ways, i.e., inside banana leaves or tapenade style.

Classes start from S$80(US$65); +65 9239 2384; www.hooked.com.sg

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Cookery Magic

Cookery Magic sessions cover Malay Straits favorites, including Indochinese, Thai, Indian, Singaporean and, of course, Malay.Participants in Cookery Magic's "Signature Cooking Class" learn what life tasted like during Singapore's kampong times.

Instructor Ruqxana Vasanwala specializes in local classics, from Hainanese chicken rice to roti pratha and fish curry.

She takes things to the next level of authenticity by bringing students to the nearby island of Pulau Ubin, where they spend the day using local jungle herbs to make traditional Singaporean dishes in an old school kampong house.

If island hopping isn't your thing there are also classes at the Singapore cooking school's east coast venue. 

An invisible chef program is also available, in which Vasanwala will come to your home and help make your dinner party a meal to remember (or just cater the whole thing for you).

Classes start from SG$100; 117 Fidelio St.; +65 6348 9667; www.cookerymagic.com 

Palate Sensations Cooking School

Palate Sensations: so swanky you won't want to return to your own kitchen. Whether you're a chronic toast burner or a wannabe gourmand, Palate Sensations offers a cooking course to match your ability.

Classes start from three-hour introductory sessions for culinary newbies to an eight-week intensive "Chef In Training" course for aspiring pros.

The Palate Sensations kitchen uses the latest European appliances and cookware, while the menu covers a range of cuisines from Asian to European/Western.

Executive chef Charlotte D'Isidoro joins a range of guest chefs to host the hands-on group sessions -- students are guaranteed close interaction with an expert.

Palate Sensations also organizes regular themed evenings, such as "Host a Murder" or pizza and trivia parties. 

Classes start from SG$90; #01-03 Chromos, 10 Biopolis Road; +65 6478 9746; www.palatesensations.com 

More on CNN: How Singapore became Asia's culinary capital 

Coriander Leaf

Coriander Leaf students observe, then eat. Even if they can't replicate the meals, they got to eat something good. Since 2001, chef Samia Ahad has been teaching Singapore foodies how to cook everything from local street food favorites to Pakistani, Sichuan, Persian, Turkish and Lebanese.

She's famous for her dedication to her students, ensuring they get as much as possible out of the time they have with her.

Classes are conducted at a fast pace. Typically Ahad demonstrates how to whip up at least eight recipes before serving them to the students. 

Fifteen cuisine types are taught onsite at Coriander Leaf’s working restaurant. Class sizes usually allow for eight to 12 students.

For a more personal experience, private classes are available.

From SG$150; #02-03 Clarke Quay, 3A River Valley Road; +65 6732 3354; www.corianderleaf.com 

Shermay’s Cooking School

With the right guide, you too can whip up a bowl of buah keluak ayam. If you want to learn to create the comfort foods grandma used to make, Shermay’s Cooking School is the place.

Shermay Lee is the granddaughter of the late Lee Chin Koon, the famous Singaporean cookbook author who penned "Mrs Lee’s Cookbook," which makes her a verifiable Nonya culture and cuisine expert.

In the charming neighborhood of Chip Bee Gardens, Lee passes along the old school methods used to prepare kaya (coconut jam), pandan chiffon cake and charsiew (roasted pork), all of it just like her grandmother used to make.

As well as Peranakan dishes, the school offers French, Chinese and seasonal menus. Funky favorites include the Japanese-Italian dessert class, beer brewing and chocolate sessions.

Students can chose between demonstration-style and hands-on interactive classes.

Classes start from SG$50; #01-76 Chip Bee Gardens, Blk 43 Jalan Merah Saga; +65 6479 8442; www.shermay.com

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So EZ Cooking Playground

The next time your kids say "I'm hungry," sign them up for cooking lessons. Iif you think it's time your kids learned to earn their keep in the kitchen, So EZ is your best bet.

Geared toward kids aged three and above, the place is fitted out with pint-sized equipment and cookery stations, so kids feel comfortable and eager to participate. The recipes are designed to be easy to follow and embrace basic cooking and baking techniques.

It's a nice venue for family time or to host a children’s party with a group of friends.

So EZ's classes are hosted by chefs from Food Junction, including group executive chef Martin Woo and chef William Wong.

From SG$52 per child; #B1-02 United Square, 101 Thomson Road; +65 6259 0606; www.soez-cooking.com

More on CNN: 25 ways to exhaust your kids in Singapore

Basilico

No demos here. Students at Basilico slip on an apron, take charge of the knife and whip up a gourmet meal. Basilico offers authentic Italian cooking classes hosted by chef Angelo Ciccone and sous chef Luca Carrino.

Basilico is actually the Italian restaurant inside the Regent Singapore hotel, so the teachers are among the best in the business. Carrino has cooked in the Greek Islands, Spain and Italy, while Ciccone has worked in the Four Seasons in England and Saudi Arabia.

Each class teaches students how to cook a three-course Italian meal, including dishes like pizza, fish, meat, pasta and soup. Afterwards students learn the art of espresso-making from the restaurant’s baristas. 

Classes from SG$110; Level 2, 1 Cuscaden Road, Regent Singapore; +65 6725 3232; www.regenthotels.com

Aimee Chan is an Australian editor and writer based in Singapore. She enjoys travel, food, books and good company, not necessarily in that order.

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