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Pansaari, G and Bourbon Steak offer cooking classes to shake up mealtime

Rano Singh, owner of Pansaari, leads a recent cooking class on traditional Indian food and cooking techniques. (Jason Hornick/For Express)
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You could prep a tried-and-true meal and eat it at the dinner table over idle chitchat. Or, you could get out of the house and partake in one of D.C.’s many cooking classes. The professional-led courses provide a more interactive and enlightening dining experience than flipping through the well-worn pages of your favorite cookbook. “Cooking is more fun when you’re in front of a chef,” says chef Mike Isabella, who this month launched a series of culinary classes led by chefs in his Mike Isabella Concepts empire. (Think Greek Easter classics from George Pagonis of Kapnos Grill and ramen from Jonah Kim.) “You learn different options about technique and alternative ingredients, and you open your mind.” We’ve rounded up three of D.C.’s newest offerings to encourage you to shake things up at mealtime. Each of them welcomes novice chefs and will send you away with a full stomach.

Indian cooking at Pansaari

One of the city’s best-kept secrets, Pansaari is an Indian restaurant serving light but nutrient-dense dishes. Formerly Club Chaos, the expansive space now contains a spice bazaar, a chai bar, a textiles marketplace and a giant open kitchen where cooking classes are taught to up to 20 guests. Led by owner Rano Singh, the three-hour, BYOB sessions touch on classic Indian dishes, which are enjoyed together at the end of class. “We all work in our little circles, our work circles, our significant other circles, our family circles,” Singh says. “I’m hoping to mix it up a little bit.”

1603 17th St. NW; see website for details on upcoming classes, $95.

Puerto Rican cooking at G

Led by Jose Adorno, Graffiato’s chef de cuisine, the first in a series of culinary classes at G will focus on Puerto Rican dishes. Drawing on skills he learned from his mom while growing up, Adorno will teach guests how to master staples like arroz con pollo, habichuelas and quesitos while up to 20 guests look on and enjoy complimentary wine. Though guests won’t have much interaction with the food while it’s being cooked, they will rotate through stations and help with the prep process. And Isabella promises there will be enough to go around once it’s prepared.

2201 14th St. NW; next classes on Mon. and Tue., 6:30-9:30 p.m., $75 each;

Love Potions at Bourbon Steak

Pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac of Buttercream Bakeshop leads the baking portion of this Valentine’s Day-themed class with demonstrations on ham, cheddar and scallion scones; sour cream biscuits; marshmallows and macaroons. Bourbon Steak’s lead bartender, Duane Sylvestre, takes the reins on the booze portion of class. He’ll be walking guests through libations that complement MacIsaac’s sweets, including hot tea pitchers, hot bourbon chocolate, peanut rum punch and brandy milk punch.

2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW at the Four Seasons; Feb. 14, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., $60;

More stories about the local food scene:

These two teenagers can cook you under the dinner table
Six new places to eat on H Street
D.C.’s top dining stories of 2014: the board game