By Tiffany F. at 2016-11-07
We did cooking fools for a work outing and everyone was SO IMPRESSED! Nick and his team did such a great job. We had the space for at least 3 hours and it worked out so nicely. They had unlimited beer and wine and we did the mixology package and so we had all we could ask for in regards to alcohol...
As for food, everyone really enjoyed all the options. They're different enough where they're fun for everyone but also simple enough as well. They do a really nice job overall because they let you work how you want to... everyone's working on food the whole time, but there's no pressure.
We even got to bring some leftovers home... so it all worked out well! I would definitely go back for a group outing.
By Rachel P. at 2016-06-28
I snagged a Groupon for my fiance and I to take a cooking class here, and we attended this past Sunday's (6/26) Secondo Corso pasta-making class scheduled for 11-1:30. I have my own pasta machine already and have made basic fettuccine, so this class for learning tortellini and farfalle with a couple of sauces seemed like the perfect next step to add some flair to my cooking skills. Quick walk from Damen Blue CTA stop & bus lines with stops at Milwaukee/North if you're using public transit, or you can look for street parking. Once you check in, select a station and put on your apron, there are two large armoires along the back wall to store bags/jackets, and a fridge up front to store your beverages from home. Sodas/waters in the fridge are $1 each for purchase. The hand washing sink and any glassware you need is towards the back. Class size I would say is probably between 16-20 max based on the number of work stations and what you're doing.
Our instructor was Sam, and we got started around 11:15 once everyone had arrived and was ready. Our stations had all of our pre-measured ingredients and kitchen tools set up for us beforehand. Sam did a quick demo of the pasta dough, and then we tried our own while she walked around offering assistance or tips; I definitely learned a few improvements over what I've been doing previously. Ipod selection for the work portions was great - Florence + the Machine, Local Natives, etc., chill indie rock to help you not stress that your eggs are trying to escape from the pasta flour and you forgot to leave a reserve pile even though she said that five seconds ago and...whew. It's gonna be ok. These work times are perfect if you need to pop out for a minute and feed the meter or return a call, etc and not miss too much.
While our pasta dough rested, several volunteers (including myself) started the bolognese and lemon cream sauces, made the tortellini filling, and then we proceeded to form our pasta. After the first sad-looking few, the tortellini and farfalle really started to come together more easily and we had a lot of fun filling the trays and working up an appetite with the delicious smelling sauces simmering away too. Once everyone had finished, Sam took the pastas to the kitchen to boil them up for 2-3 minutes, and brought back huge trays of our finished pastas. We all dug in, many went back for seconds, and there was even enough for people to take home some leftovers. The recipes we used were e-mailed to us about a day after the class. We finished up probably closer to 2 or a little after, so give yourself some extra time to relax and enjoy the result of your efforts. Definitely an awesome Sunday Funday, and we would take another class here in the future. Thanks Cooking Fools!
By RJ W. at 2016-05-24
We did the Tamale making class last night. The instructors were great, very friendly. super open to questions. Learned how easy they are to make with the right ingredients and coaching. It was a lot of fun (we had done the pasta making class in the past) Great for a small group of friends or a date!
The reason I am not giving it 5 stars is simply that lack of ventilation. One of the items made was a Mexican red sauce made with dried chiles that are thrown into a pan at a very high temperature. The result was overwhelmingly acrid smoke that had the entire class coughing, with a few heading for the exits for fresh air. It was very uncomfortable for everyone. If someone had asthma, I believe it could have been dangerous. My suggestion is either add ventilation or they should change what they are making.
By Sara H. at 2016-01-23
I came here for a work event where we participated in a mixology class. The class was amazing, because not only did we learn to make 4 specialized cocktails, but there were also multiple food stations teaching us how to make appetizers. The staff was knowledgeable and kind, and let us drink as much as we wanted of any of the specialty cocktails throughout the event. There was also beer and wine if we preferred. All in all, everything we made tasted great! We made a mix of crab cakes, sliders, endive salads, bacon wrapped dates, quesadillas, and more! I would definitely suggest this class or a similar one to anyone who's looking to get hands on in the kitchen, and have some fun on the side.
By Halisa V. at 2015-05-29
I came here once with my friend for the Pasta Making Techniques class and we had a blasttttt! It was such a random thing for us to do on a random Wednesday night but the randomness made it even more fun!
The instructor was easy to follow, everything was well organized and the finished product tasted amazing! We made two kinds of pasta with two kinds of sauces.
After taking this class I felt 100% confident in my pasta making skills.
I recommend this class for all you homemade cooking foodies out there and even those of you who would like to learn a thing or two about homemade cooking.
Pasta making is definitely a random skill to have but it just makes you a little bit more awesome!
By Ben B. at 2015-03-30
Attended the pasta class via Groupon.
The first thing to know about this place is that it is NOT BYOB. You will want to drink while you cook because cooking is hard and drinking makes you not care.
You can buy wine in the attached shop, but I advise you to buy one bottle of wine per person BEFORE your class begins. Between learning, cooking and eating, you will be there upwards of three hours.
We showed up at 6:30 and didn't eat until 9:15. By that time, our one and only bottle of wine was empty. And guess what. The shop that sells wine closes at 9:00. They're total dicks about selling you another bottle past 9:00. And no, they won't let you run next door to get a bottle and bring it in because of their stupid liquor license. This will cause you to RAGE OUT.
While we had wine glasses, we had to search high and low for water glasses. There's a cabinet full of glassware that says "Display Only." It feels like this is just a dumb oversight on their part.
Here's my 3-part plan for making the hydration situation less stupid:
1. Announce when the shop is closing, so people can run and grab another bottle of wine.
2. Just be BYOB, because the alternative is annoying.
3. Provide water glasses and carafes throughout the room.
I mean, come on.
If you prepare by getting your liquid situation on lockdown before the class, you will have fun.
You watch the instructor run through the entire pasta-making process, then you're turned loose to do it yourself. PAY ATTENTION while she talks because she won't repeat herself and you're bound to forget something. The instructors do come around periodically and basically shrug and say, "Yeah, you got it."
After making our dough, we turned it into ravioli and pappardelle.
Once you're done, they haul off everyone's pasta and they cook it for you. It's kind of a bummer you're not assured of getting YOUR pasta. Everyone's pasta is jumbled together and served on a big platter.
If you want to take some home, grab a container and set some aside as you go through the line the first time. When we went to take some leftovers, the platters were empty. Bummer.
This is a really good activity for couples or groups with multiples of two. You'll have fun and learn something you'll probably never try at home.
But seriously, stock up on wine. It's a long night and they are dicks about their stupid rules.
By Kelly D. at 2016-04-28
I want to be clear that I have never been to Cooking Fools.
I'm writing this review because I wanted to have a cooking party in my home, in a far away suburb, which is not really their realm.
I was having a tough time finding the right people.
The staff at Cooking Fools were ready to make it happen for me!
I wound up going with doing it in a facility, instead of my home, but I am so appreciative of the thought they put into what it would take to do a successful hands on party in my home. Homemade pizza class was the perfect idea!!
They are smart, know their stuff, and follow through. I see I've been dealing with really good people!!
By Amilia C. at 2016-05-03
We just had my best fiends bachelorette party here and it was so much fun! I'm not sure if it was because they are doing Reno on the bottom floor, but we were upstairs and it was awesome. It was like having a party in your apartment without having to clean up the mess later. Sam was our chef and she was fun as well. Very thorough in explanations, I learned a ton! We chose the Italian menu where we made small flat breads for an appetizer and then we made handmade pasta with 2 sauces all from scratch. Topped it off with a Morton Lava cake (made beforehand by Cooking Fools) and dinner was amazing. Everything was delicious and we had so much fun. It came out to $150 a lady but we split the cost of the bride and we had the open bar package so it was definitely more expensive because of those added things but well worth it!!
By Elliot H. at 2016-02-05
Can't thank Cooking Fools, and Nick (the owner enough). We had a company party here, and it was a blast. You can't see it in the photos but they own the entire building and it is a large facility, complete with a big private upstairs suite. We had that entire upstairs area for the night of our event - complete with a bar, long beautiful dining table, living room area, fireplace, speaker system, and private kitchen and cooking area. In addition, they were extremely flexible with our start time, and let us go over two hours longer than we had planned, because everyone was having such a good time.
The team learned a lot, the food was amazing (we did the flatbread and pasta package), the drinks were overflowing, and I got nothing from compliments from everyone, saying how much fun it was - and how special it felt, and was.
Can't recommend this place enough for a corporate event, or any type of group gathering. Really great feel, and Nick is dead-set on making sure you are taken care of.
By Selena A. at 2015-08-06
I've worked across the street from cooking fools for a little over 3 years and they are my go to spot when I am hungry! their food is always fresh and delicious and I love the people who work there. I would definitely recommend the tomato basil soup with a grilled cheese in the fall/winter. they also have a really good mango mint smoothie for those hot summer days. I pick and choose from the food in the glass fridge. some stuff I like and some stuff I could pass on. the desserts are really good too. especially the cheesecake with chocolate and the carrot cake. I'm not a huge beer or wine drinker, but if you are they do have a wide arrange of beverages to choose from!
By Swetal P. at 2015-10-19
We tooks a pasta cooking class. This class is a lot of fun! We took this class Saturday afternoon and it was perfect! We learned how to make couple pasta dishes. The ravioli was our favorite and the pesto sauce was to die for.. I highly recommend taking this class! The bonus is you get to eat what you make for lunch and have leftovers to take home. I highly recommend this as a date or with a group of friends!
By Angelica C. at 2015-01-22
We discovered this place via Groupon, we attended the pasta making class. Do yourself a favor and buy it! I highly recommend purchasing a bottle of wine to enjoy during your class!
We made two kinds of pasta and two sauces: ravioli with ricotta cheese & roasted red tomato filling covered with a basil pesto sauce and parpardelle with a vodka sauce (my favorite)! The teachers went through their demos first, then we'd execute at our own tables while they walked around to make sure we were on the right track. They are there to help should you make a mistake, don't be shy to call them over. I learned quickly that making pasta is a time sensitive matter! The event space was well spaced and lit, it really should be only two to a table, otherwise it's too tight with little wiggle room. The teacher selects 2 volunteers, one to help make each sauce, so get your hand up in the air FAST! It smells so fragrant in the classroom too! At the end, you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor while mingling with your fellow classmates. The taste of fresh pasta is so much lighter and airier. They even teach you a faster method than hand kneading it, but you'll have to attend to learn the secret! ;) You can grab a to-go box, which I suggest eating same night or the next day to fully appreciate the freshness of the pasta. We also met a couple who also happened to be engaged, so we hit it off right away! Since I enjoyed myself so much, I am now looking into doing my bachelorette party here!
NOTE: Parking can be a bit difficult with all the zoned areas surrounding North Ave, so just give yourself ample time to park before your class. I don't recommend the metered parking as it's maxed out at 2 hours and these classes are 3 hours+ long.
By Lily Z. at 2014-07-03
Boy surprised me with a pasta making class on Sunday. He bought the tickets on Groupon, which I highly recommend! The instructors were very nice, polite and patient. The atmosphere was relaxed with music in the background while we rolled out the dough. You can buy drinks from the store and sip on them while you work. There were plenty of leftovers to take home after lunch!
It was a great experience and now I know how to make ravioli! I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to try something new. But just remember to get the groupon! It's quite expensive without it.
By Dave M. at 2015-09-07
We took a pasta class here for my birthday after getting a deal on Groupon. The instructors were very good both in showing how things need to be done in front of the class and in coming by while we were making the pasta to make sure we were on track. All of the dishes ended up being very good, and there were lots of leftovers for people to take home. It was a fun night. The only negative comment I have is that I probably would not pay full price for the class. But if you can get a deal on it, definitely do it!
By Cinthya Q. at 2015-03-01
Such a fun way to learn how to cook an entire pasta dinner.
The class itself is about 90 minutes long and you make the pasta and sauce in that time.
Each couple has a table and tools for their own use throughout the afternoon. The instructor shows you what you will be doing and then allows you to go back to your table to attempt to do what he did.
First you make the dough, then the sauce, and lastly you make the pasta (ravioli and pappardelle noodles).
Along with the pasta we made an almond pesto sauce for the ricotta and red bell papper ravioli and a vodka sauce for the pappardelle noodles.
When you're done making the pasta the instructor and his assistant cook the pasta for you. You get to hang out and drink wine; total win!
When dinner is ready the instructor brings it out; a salad and the two huge platters of ravioli and pappardelle pastas.
What's best? You eat a delicious meal you made and you have no dishes to clean.
By Helen G. at 2015-04-14
Let me start off with saying that the chef-teachers are really nice and know their stuff.
The meh review is because of two things:(1) the BYO situation and (2) the hygiene concerns.
You can buy wine and beer there, the prices and selection aren't that great. Just wish they were a little clearer on that.
But more concerning is the lack of any information that this is a "family style meal." During the class I saw one girl repeatedly playing with her hair and not washing her hands. I also saw a number of people not removing their jewelry for kneading the pasta dough. I removed my rings. I wear my rings every day -- even with hand washing there is stuff left on my rings that would love to get mixed into sticky pasta dough. I would love to not eat that. So I took them off. Plus I don't want dough stuck in my rings. Lots of other people seemed good with gross hygiene. So there was no way my date and I were sticking around to eat someone else's gross food.
Had they just gotten hot plates and let us cook and eat our own pasta I would to there again. Yes they have a fancy convection hot plate or something neat that they used for the demo, but I don't think fresh pasta and sauce needs too much fancy equipment.
By Jennifer L. at 2013-04-13
Now, I will preface this review by saying that I'm a terrible cook. I can't even prepare food correctly and I've been known to use the microwave incorrectly. For example, I once forgot to add water to microwavable oatmeal and made Easy Mac wrong. I am the type of person that can burn water.
My boyfriend, on the other hand, enjoys cooking. So, I saw a Groupon for the pasta making class and bought it as a Christmas gift. Deep down I was terrified since my cooking skills are beyond subpar.
First of all, for the sake of your other class members, please try to get there on time! Our class started at 11:30, but we waited for some latecomers to show up. You can park on North or Milwaukee Avenue, but I'd recommend coming early and trying to snag some free parking on the side streets.
They sell booze, non-alcoholic drinks and snacks in the deli. You can't BYOB. I highly recommend coming in with an empty stomach since a lot of pasta is made!
You start by picking out your station. There's an upper level too so you can have an aerial view of what's going on. Then you wash your hands and weigh your ingredients. You can choose to pick up a prepared tray of ingredients if you aren't confident in your abilities to measure them out. (Spoiler alert: I took a prepared one.)
Then the chef demonstrates how to make the pasta dough. After that, it's all hands on deck! Don't fret if your dough doesn't look like everyone else's! The chef and another chef will come around to assist you if you need it. (Spoiler alert: I didn't since the boyfriend was there to bail me out!) Eventually, your dough will be shaped into a ball that you put on a pan to rest.
Three volunteers helped the chef make the vodka sauce for the pappardelle, basil sauce for the ravioli and red pepper ricotta filing for the ravioli. After that, you roll out your dough using the machines at your station. The pappardelle is more of a free form noodle, which is what the chef recommends that you make if your dough is less than perfect.
The chefs then take the pasta into the back to cook it. You don't get to eat what you made, which may or may not be a good thing. The pasta is served with a salad. You also get to take home what you made.
In terms of taste, the pasta was good, but you could tell the inconsistencies since multiple people made it. I really liked the basil sauce and the almonds were a nice touch. The vodka sauce was just OK and needed some more flavor.
Overall, great class and I definitely recommend it for a date night or good time with friends. We got a deal for 40% off another class as well so we may do that.
By Jason P. at 2015-10-27
I can't recommend this place enough. I put together a last minute party/class together for my wife and not only was Nick (the main contact) extremely accommodating but was on top of every aspect leading into the night. We did the past cooking class, which by the looks of other reviews, seems to be the most popular...and for good reason. Making pasta from scratch is something most folks have probably never done. The 2 chefs that ran our class couldn't have been any nicer or helpful. The class is well worth your time!
By Michael N. at 2013-06-22
Mama didn't raise no fool, but she did raise a fool when it came to cooking. Because of this, my beautiful fiance reserved two spots for us for the pasta cooking class. We got an awesome parking spot on Wood St (the free parking street in Wicket Park that I love oh so much), and were the first to arrive for our 10:30am class.
When you walk in, it looks like a little wine and cheese shop. But it opens up into a larger room with about 12 cooking stations. We thought 10:30am was a little too early for a bottle of wine, but then we remembered that no time is too early for wine when you're cooking pasta.
We threw back a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc like it was a banana peel out of the car window, and started the class. Cooking pasta from scratch is long, tedious work! But our head chef made it really easy to follow along and even cracked a few jokes here and there to keep our minds off of our growling stomachs.
We made ravioli with roasted red pepper ricotta, and some other broad, flat pasta that I can't remember the name of. It was delicious. There was so much food. I ate two huge plates, and even brought some home. Yes, I am that guy who takes way too much when other people haven't had their second helping yet. People in Chicago are too worried about appearance to take seconds anyways, not me. This suburban boy has a suburban appetite.
Cooking Fools offers other classes too. So if pasta isn't your thing, then you're an idiot and I feel sorry for you.
By Jenny K. at 2014-07-20
My husband and I bought the groupon for the pasta making class and it was a blast! The instructors were friendly, atmosphere was fun and you're able to chat with the other participants. And then! You get to eat what you made:) fun for a date or with friend