Cooking classes give chances to learn from top chefs

A few other places to find cooking classes

Publix at Alpharetta Commons cooking school, 4305 State Bridge Road, Alpharetta. 770-751-8560.

The Cook's Warehouse-Midtown, 1544 Piedmont Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-815-4993.

The Viking Store, 1745 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-745-9064.

Sur la Table, Phipps Plaza, 3500 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. 404-973-3375, on the website click on "cooking classes."

The Cooking School at Irwin Street, 660 Irwin St., Atlanta. 678-705-7945.

Cooking classes and chef demos have become a big part of Atlanta’s food and dining scene, allowing first-timers or dedicated foodies to try new cuisines while rubbing elbows with some of the region’s top chefs.

This time of year, several annual series get going, again, celebrating the bounty of spring and summer, with classes at places such as the Atlanta Botanical Garden's Edible Garden and Outdoor Kitchen and free demos at many farmers markets all over the metro area.

Joining what she describes as “a culinary conversation,” chef Asha Gomez is set to open the Third Space this month. The homey new facility will offer cooking classes featuring some of Atlanta’s top chefs, and it’s designed to be a place for those chefs to test recipes, do food production and filming, and host a variety of events.

The Third Space is located in Studioplex, adjacent to Serpas Restaurant, in the Inman Park/Old Fourth Ward area. While Gomez envisioned the open kitchen, 10-seat counter and 12-seat dining area with home cooks in mind, the build-out features top-of-the-line appliances from Miele, cabinetry from Artcraft, and furnishings and table settings from Atlanta’s Redefined Home Boutique.

“We really want this to feel like a home kitchen,” Gomez says. “I grew up in my mother’s kitchen. What I do comes from her kitchen. I watched my mother create magic in that kitchen every day.”

Gomez is a native of Kerala, a lush tropical land along the southwestern tip of India. Her Kerala-inspired Berkeley Hills spot, Cardamom Hill, recently received a 2013 James Beard Awards semifinalist nod for Best New Restaurant.

“I’m not a classically trained chef,” Gomez says. “Where I come from, learning how to cook is a part of life.”

The idea for the Third Space came from Gomez’s 2012 travels teaching cooking classes at various facilities around the U.S.

“It opened my eyes to a real need for a spot like this,” she says.

Much as she learned to cook from her mother, who was a high school teacher, Gomez was inspired by her to share their particular culture and cuisine, too.

“I’ve discovered that I enjoy teaching, tremendously,” Gomez says. “I love sharing my recipes. To be able to highlight what my mother taught me in her kitchen, and take it to another country, continents and oceans away, is the greatest gift she’s given me.

“And how people have accepted and embraced this cuisine is the greatest gift I’ve given her, I think.”

Here's a taste of the first round of cooking classes at the Third Space, at a cost of $85 each:

May 8 — A Roux to Kill, featuring Watershed executive chef Joe Truex discussing gumbo and demonstrating the various stages of roux-making, followed by a gumbo tasting.

May 9 — A Room Full of Mangoes, featuring Third Space owner and Cardamom Hill executive chef Asha Gomez with a guide to picking perfect mangoes and using them in summer meals.

May 11 — The Anatomy of a Salad, featuring Jenny Levison (aka Souper Jenny) composing delicious, healthy and unique salads with the best ingredients local farmers markets can offer.

May 13 — Mineral Rich Kale, featuring chef David Sweeney of Cakes & Ale Bakery using locally and globally sourced ingredients to demonstrate mostly vegetarian-based meals and recipes.

Info for the Third Space and classes: 404-793-7963.

More cooking classes and chef demos

Atlanta Botanical Garden sampler:

May 14 — Chef Chris Hall of Local Three, Well-Seasoned Chef cooking class

May 15 — Chef David Bradley of Lure, Fresh Plates Series cooking class

June 25 — Chef Chip Ulbrich of South City Kitchen, Fresh Plates Series class

July 16 — Chef Duane Nutter of One Flew South, Well-Seasoned Chef class

Aug. 13 — Chef Todd Richards of the Shed, Well-Seasoned Chef class

Aug. 21 — Chef Dan Latham of Farm Burger, Fresh Plates Series class

Sept. 17 — Chef Kevin Gillespie of Gunshow, Well-Seasoned Chef class

For times and prices, go to the Atlanta Botanical Garden's website.

Farmers market sampler:

May 11 — Chef Kevin Gillespie of Gunshow, demo and book signing at Morningside Farmers Market

May 12 — Sous chef Andrew Isabella of No. 246, demo at Grant Park Farmers Market

May 18 — Chef Drew Belline of No. 246, demo at Decatur Farmers Market

June 22 — Chef E.J. Hodgkinson of JCT Kitchen & Bar, demo at Peachtree Road Farmers Market

Restaurant sampler:

Throughout May, Dunwoody's Vino Venue will host a variety of cooking classes ($79 per class), including a Pies and Pints pizza-making class on May 10, and a pasta-making class on May 28.

Throughout May and June, Max's Coal Oven Pizzeria offers two-hour pizza-making classes ($30 per class), with samples and drinks, May 6, May 13, May 20, June 3, June 10, June 17 and June 24.