There’s just something about homemade meals that shout “comfort” and “love”. Of course, if you’re not a good home cook, they can also scream “burnt edges” or “food poisoning”.
Which is why affordable cooking classes are always in demand in Singapore, land of cheap hawker food. In the long run, learning to cook not only makes your meals healthier, but also more economical, especially if you’re cooking for the family.
Just how much do cooking classes cost?
That said, cooking classes aren’t super cheap. A hands-on cooking class can cost over $100, though the fee typically includes all ingredients. But then, you’re also paying for the practice and guidance from an expert.
If you have SkillsFuture credits – $500 worth are given to every Singaporean aged 25 and above – you can use them to offset your cooking class fees at certain schools. You end up paying a highly discounted rate or nothing at all.
Otherwise, don’t worry – there are some wallet-friendly options out there too. Here are the 9 best places you can go to for affordable cooking classes in Singapore:
|Cooking school||Specialty||Price per class|
|Community Centres||Mostly local cuisines e.g. Peranakan, Indian, vegetarian||$50 to $65|
|BakinCalf||Baking/dessert school for Nonya kueh, churros, cream puffs, doughnuts, etc.||$65 to $95|
|Hungry Mummies||Asian-style home cooking based on ingredient (e.g. fish) or theme (e.g. high tea)||$80 to $120|
|Little Green Kitchen||Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free cooking. Broad range of cuisines from Asian to Arabian to Mexican||$85|
|Palate Sensations||Gourmet styles and techniques e.g. sous vide, make your own pasta, chocolate, sausages||$130 to $250 (SkillsFuture claimable)|
|Jia Lei Cooking School||Focuses on individual dishes e.g. mee siam, Chinese herbal soup, dim sum. Also has baking classes.||$135 to $165 (SkillsFuture claimable)|
|Allspice Institute||Peranakan cooking||$160 to $200 (SkillsFuture claimable)|
|Butter & Bake||Western baking classes for bread, pastry, macarons etc.||$180 (SkillsFuture claimable)|
|CulinaryOn||Edutainment-style classes for special occasions. Features Thai, Italian, Japanese, Western, French cuisines||$240 to $250 (SkillsFuture claimable)|
Community centre cooking classes
Mention “cheap cooking classes” to any passing auntie and she will most likely point you to the nearest community centre.
Affordable cooking classes are conducted at CCs islandwide, but you need to pick with care because some are just demos with food tasting. That means you won’t get to actually practise cooking the dishes.
Classes are typically priced around $50 to $65. You can find out what’s on, check class fees and book classes on the OnePA portal.
At home-based baking school Bakin Calf, you can pick up baking a whole range of items from bread to doughnuts to churros to bagels. Classes cost about $65 to $95 at Bakin Calf.
They also specialise in teaching you how to make Nonya kueh, which is arguably more labour-intensive than western-style baking.
Hungry Mummies is a home cooking school started by a mum who understands the desire to feed a family.
The small group classes are intimate and hands-on, typically either featuring an ingredient (e.g. fish) or following a theme (e.g. English high tea). Fees range from about $80 to $120 per class.
Little Green Kitchen
At cooking studio cum food consultancy Little Green Kitchen, you can learn to cook all sorts of cuisines that are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free.
Classes here cover a wide spectrum of exotic cuisines, from Sri Lankan to Arabian to Mexican. Even non-vegetarians can get inspiration for how to prepare their greens. At $85 per class, fees are also very affordable here.
Probably one of the better-known cooking schools in Singapore, Palate Sensations is where you can pick up gourmet-style cooking.
Apart from the usual Asian, Peranakan, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese fare, you can learn cooking techniques like sous vide, which is more sophisticated than it looks. There’re also classes that’ll teach you to make your own pasta, chocolate and even sausages. Impressive.
Classes range from $130 to a rather steep $250, but the good thing is you can use SkillsFuture credits to pay for some of the classes.
Jia Lei Cooking School
Instead of categorising by cuisines, Jia Lei Cooking School’s classes are based on specific dishes or types of food. So, you can learn to make noodles, congees, fish and chicken dishes. There’s a wide variety of baking classes, too.
Ranging from $135 to $165, the classes here are mid-priced. Even so, a whole slew of them are eligible for SkillsFuture credit.
Everyone loves Peranakan food, that rich, heady mash-up of Chinese, Malay and Indonesian cooking. However, it’s seldom available at hawker centres so it doesn’t come cheap.
Learn to cook your own Nonya food at Allspice Institute, though, and you’re set for life. Classes are a bit pricey at $160 to $200, but some of them are SkillsFuture claimable.
Butter & Bake
Want to use your SkillsFuture credits to learn to bake? Try Butter & Bake for western-style macarons, cakes and breads. The classes here cost $180.
Store-bought treats like macarons cost at least $2 apiece, so imagine how much you can save if you make your own.
For special occasions like anniversaries or birthdays, you might want to book a class at CulinaryOn as this edutainment cooking studio is high on the fun factor.
It focuses on Thai, Italian, Japanese, Western and French cuisine and also offers baking classes. But it’s also the priciest of the lot, with classes costing $240 to $250 each. Good thing some of them are SkillsFuture claimable.
Why learn to cook in Singapore?
Sure, you could get a pretty decent meal at a hawker centre, complete with a drink, for $5. That seems pretty cheap. And hassle-free. But that’s only if you’re feeding yourself. When you start having to feed a family, especially kids, the costs go up rather steeply.
Staples like rice, fresh veggies, eggs, tofu and cooking condiments are very affordable. The cost of ingredients only go up if you go for fish or expensive meats like beef. Otherwise, you can easily feed a family of four for less than $10 for a meal of rice and 3 dishes.
When you prepare your own food, your money goes to the ingredients rather than overheads like kitchen staff and rent. You also have control over the ingredients you buy – for example, choosing a good cut of meat rather than the cheapest mince.
Tips to save time and money when you cook at home
Of course, the main drawback of cooking at home is the effort of slaving over the stove. But you don’t really HAVE to. Consider the following tips to simplify your cooking:
One-pot rice cooker meals
If you like claypot rice, you’ll love the one-pot rice cooker meal. You put in the rice, sliced marinated meats and leafy greens. In the time its takes the rice to cook – 20 minutes or so – you have a complete meal. Dress with a drizzle of soya sauce and sesame oil for aroma.
Slow cooker meals
Put your meats and veggies in a slow cooker, leave it overnight or throughout the day while you go to work and come back to a pot of casserole goodness. The slow cooker also makes lovely Chinese soups like black chicken soup.
One dish, many meals
Make a stew during the weekend, freeze it in portions to use during the week. You can repurpose it in a different way for each meal. Serve it with bread, on pasta, over rice and baked with cheese, as a salad – it’s your choice.
Do you have other cooking classes or tips to recommend? Share them with us!
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