Even if you don’t like to cook, pay attention. For some, “learning to cook” may be a now forgotten New Year’s resolution. Others assume it is a hopeless cause and would prefer to never know the meaning of mire-poix, mise-en-place or chiffonade.

But whatever your stance, having some skill in the kitchen can't hurt. And since every great meal begins with some chopping, dicing, slicing or mincing, there's no better way to start your culinary education than with the essentials: knife skills. Thankfully, Los Angeles is brimming with cooking schools eager to teach you how to prep meals faster and safer. Here’s where to go to learn to shop like a chef:

Westlake Culinary Institute
Chef Mary Bergin’s Introduction to Knife Skills class at The Westlake Culinary Institute is so popular that her February class is already sold out. But if you sign up for her next one in March, you’ll learn how to use knives safely, sharpen them well and graduate to her Advanced Knife Skills class. The two-and-a-half hour, hands-on class costs $45 and is open to students 18 and older. 4643 Lakeview Canyon Road, Westlake Village; (818) 991-3940, westlakeculinaryinstitute.com.

The New School of Cooking
Culver City’s New School of Cooking offers both professional and recreational-level classes, allowing for beginners to become inspired to transition into a full-time culinary career path. A drawing of a wine glass in the brochure indicates that wine will be served during their Essential Knife Skills class, which certainly sounds fun, if not a little bit dangerous. The next class starts at 9 a.m. (but it’s 5 o’clock somewhere) on Saturday, February 7. The class costs $80 and during the three hours the chef instructor promises to demonstrate how to cut up a chicken and serve lunch using all of the ingredients you’ve just chopped. 8690 West Washington Boulevard, Culver City; (310) 842-9702, newschoolofcooking.com.

Knife skills at The New School of Cooking; Credit: Heather Platt

Knife skills at The New School of Cooking; Credit: Heather Platt

Gourmandise School Santa Monica
After becoming comfortable with sharp objects, head to Kitchen Basics 2: Beyond the Basics at the Gourmandise School in Santa Monica. The hands-on class meets for three hours every Monday for four weeks from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m and costs $550.00. The class will allow you to use your newly acquired skills to prepare a four course meal. 395 Santa Monica Place #329, Santa Monica; (310) 656-8800, thegourmandiseschool.com.

Cook LA Cooking School
For some quality family time, Cook LA Cooking School in Studio City welcomes teens accompanied by their parents to Knife Skills 101. The hands-on class is $75 and is led by a certified chef instructor. It meets Tuesday, February 3 from 6:45 p.m. to 9:15 p.m and all skill levels are welcomed. 10938 Ventura Blvd., Studio City; 818-760-5157, cooklaonline.com.

Sur La Table
In addition to learning the fundamentals of how to mince, dice, brunoise, bâtonnet and julienne the “Learn to Cut Like a Pro” class at Sur La Table at the Grove will show you how to keep your knives sharp and maintained. $59.00 will get you two hours of hands-on chef-instruction and a taste of every dish prepared during class. Students must be 18 and older. February 13, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. 6333 W. Third Street, Suite P-10; 323-954-0121, surlatable.com.

Heather Platt is a freelance writer and blogger. Follow her blog Three More Big Bites. Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

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