Cooking has become a national pastime. Books, shows, podcasts, livestreams, even in-person events hosted by our favorite celebrity chefs are everywhere you turn. But as with any new hobby, it takes practice and – ideally – a good mentor to show us tips and tricks. At Bayview School of Cooking, they can teach you how to turn recipes into amazing meals thanks to their skilled team of experienced restaurateurs, chefs and foodies.

Bayview School of Cooking
At the Bayview School of Cooking foodies ages 5+ can learn to make amazingly tasty dishes all springtime long. Photo courtesy: Bayview School of Cooking

Olympia Cooking Classes for Ages 5+

Kids are notoriously picky and reticent to try new things. But at Bayview School of Cooking in Olympia they can learn delicious new ways to turn the humdrum into something extra special. This year, staffers are bringing back classes for kids, which start by getting A Little Saucy on March 5. For three Sunday split sessions, in March, April and May, instructor Krissie Lee works with kiddos ages 5 to 13.

Lee, a private chef and culinary academy graduate, emphasizes clean eating and healthy whole foods. “She’s a wonderful instructor,” says Bayview School of Cooking’s Director Leanne Willard, “and a terrific inspiration for the kids.”

On April 16, breakfast-themed classes will be broken into two age-related sessions. The morning, for ages 5 to 8, runs from 9 to 11 a.m. and the afternoon, for ages 9 to 13, is from 1 to 3:30 p.m. May 7th’s Fun Fiesta Food echoes those hours and age guidelines. Morning classes are $40 and afternoon classes are $45.

Unfortunately, unlike previous years, there will not be a 2023 kid’s cooking summer camp at Bayview School of Cooking. Willard and the team are working hard to bring it back for 2024 so stay tuned.

Culinary Experiences, Tastings, Banquets and Field Trips with Bayview School of Cooking

elegant dining table set up with menus, linen and silverware
Not a chef? Consider attending one of their themed dinners this summer with five courses, beverages and instruction from the brewers. Photo courtesy: Bayview School of Cooking

For adults, Bayview School of Cooking offers delicious options year-round. Returning after a three-year break, are the immersive fieldtrips. The first, to Port Townsend on May 11, includes food, transportation, Finnriver Farm and Cidery tasting and shopping breaks for culinary goodness like spices, salts and olive oil. Willard even acts as the day’s chauffer from start to finish.

Then there are the many globally-inspired, expertly taught cooking classes. One frequently asked question is whether classes are hands-on or observation only. The answer is both! Some, labelled “Hands-On” on their calendar, allow students to get into the mix. The rest are more relaxed – and a little less sticky – with teachers demonstrating the steps and allowing students to taste items throughout.

But whatever your preference, you can learn about cake decorating, global flavors, pasta or sushi making, charcuterie boards, grilling and so much more. Detailed class descriptions, brochures and registration can be found online or by calling 360.754.1448. Classes typically run between $75 and $99 and are held in the evening from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Getting Involved at Bayview School of Cooking Has Never Been Easier

view of the puget sound from Bayview Thriftway in Olympia
With the best view in town, Bayview School of Cooking classes are taught from the upstairs kitchen at downtown Olympia’s Bayview Thriftway. Photo courtesy: Bayview School of Cooking

Cutting-edge culinary programming doesn’t just fall from the sky. Bayview School of Cooking’s team welcome suggestions from the community and are always looking for ways to share the experience with new audiences. Willard explains that after each class, evaluation forms are provided with the most important section focusing on requests. Attendees can suggest new ideas from a particular instructor or in general. One such request was for Willard herself to bring back a fan-favorite fondue class and she’s working to re-introduce it with this fall’s offerings. Because nothing truly says autumn like ooey, gooey melted cheese.

Want to try before you buy? Also returning after a hiatus are free, first Thursday classes called “In The Kitchen.” Taught by Cortney Kelley, these sessions run from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and are repeated from 1 to 2:30 p.m. No preregistration is required. You can experience a St. Patrick’s Celebration, Cinco de Mayo Inspiration, or a taste of spring. Students will take away recipe sheets and coupons to pick up ingredients for a tasty new meal. These are a win/win, says Willard, because Kelley has such a fun personality and downstairs is one giant pantry!

Olympia Cooking School Celebrates 20 Years

Also, this fall is Bayview School of Cooking’s big 20th anniversary celebration. There will be drawings for gifts and plenty of special activities and reasons to party. Keep checking, says Willard, for details to be advertised as they’re finalized.

Learning From Skilled Chefs, Brewers, Distillers and Authors at BSC

The Bayview School of Cooking team standing behind a stove with pots and pans on it
The Bayview School of Cooking team showcases local cooks, cookbook authors, restaurateurs and foodie celebs. Photo courtesy: Bayview School of Cooking

You probably thought Bayview School of Cooking always made you do some or all of the cooking yourself. Well, this summer staffers take over and host three amazing dinners. “These are so fun,” says Willard, “our dinners sell themselves.”

Evenings are paired around a local cider, wine or beer whose maker is on-hand to answer questions about varietals and brewing practices. The night includes five courses, five beverages and learning from the masters. This summer, joining Finnriver Farm and Cidery so far will be Olympia’s own Headless Mumby Brewing Co.

And all of Bayview School of Cookings’s culinary instructors are top of their game. Xinh Dwelley, author and local celeb, offers The Extraordinary Xinh class on March 13. “Xinh is a local treasure,” says Willard. “And our teachers who come from Seattle and surrounding areas love coming to Olympia. We always try to feature local chefs and cookbook authors.”

Follow Bayview School of Cooking on Facebook for updates and additions or pick up a printed brochure at Ralph’s or Bayview Thriftway. Then sign up for your favorites soon, before they sell out, and get ready to chop, puree, steam, shuck, and sizzle in the kitchen.


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