Frequently Asked Questions | Natural Gourmet Institute

The Natural Gourmet Institute’s health-supportive, plant-based career curriculum is now exclusively offered at the Institute of Culinary Education. Learn more about career training in Health-Supportive Culinary Arts at the new Natural Gourmet Center at ICE. Click here

Recreational classes, certificate programs, and Friday Night Dinners will continue through March 2019 at NGI’s Flatiron location. We have a lot of exciting programs scheduled, which are sure to sell out! We look forward to having the NGI community be a part of the final programs on 21st Street.

Where is Natural Gourmet Institute located?

Our Address:

48 West 21st Street

2nd Floor

New York, New York 10010

How do I get to Natural Gourmet Institute?

We are conveniently located in the Flatiron District of Manhattan on 21st Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. [Closer to 6th]

By Subway: Take the CE subway R subwayW subway 1 subway to 23rd Street

*On Monday, July 23, the 23 St F, M station will temporarily close for extensive renovation and will reopen in December 2018.

  • Go to nearby F subwayM subway stations along 6 Avenue at 14 St or 34 St-Herald Sq.
  • Or, go to the nearby 23 St 1 subway station at
    7 Avenue, 23 St C subwayE subway station at 8 Avenue, or 23 St R subwayW subway at Broadway.

For more information, visit MTA Info.

By Bus: Take buses running on 5th, 6th, 7th Avenues, Broadway, or Park Avenue to 21st Street.

By Car: Free street parking is available on 21st Street weekdays after 6 p.m. on the south side of the street, after 7 p.m. on the north side, and all day on weekends and holidays. Cars parked on 21st Street after 11:00 p.m. will be ticketed and towed.

What are Natural Gourmet Institute’s hours?

  • Monday 9:00 am – 9:30 pm
  • Tuesday 9:00 am – 9:30 pm
  • Wednesday 9:00 am – 9:30 pm
  • Thursday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Friday 9:00 am – 9:30 pm
  • Saturday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Sunday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

How do I get into the school?

After 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends, you must enter 200# on the keypad just right of the glass doors to be buzzed into the building. Please take the elevator to the 2nd floor and check in at the front desk.

Do you have any locations besides NYC?

At this time, we do not have any additional locations.

Do you offer any classes online?

At this time, we do not offer any online classes.

Do I need to have cooking experience to attend a cooking class?

No experience is needed to attend a cooking class! We accept all skill levels in every class except where specifically noted.

What types of classes and programs do you offer at Natural Gourmet Institute?

We offer a variety of programs at Natural Gourmet Institute.

Professional Training: For those wishing to pursue a professional culinary education, please check out our Chef’s Training Program which offers full- and part-time programs for a diploma in culinary arts.

Recreational Programs: For those interested in recreational classes, we offer several different formats.

  • Lectures, which include special guest visits, book signings, and demonstrations (students observe as the instructor prepares the recipes)
  • Labs are hands-on classes which combine instruction with active student participation
  • Workshops, a longer format class which combines lectures and demonstrations with the hands-on lab portion
  • Accelerators, are multi-day workshops focused on techniques and skills
  • Certificates, which are advanced or specialized workshops, typically lasting one to two weeks.

Friday Night Dinners: Every Friday night, we set the tables, light the candles and put our chefs to work creating a family dinner like no other in New York City. Each week features a unique 3-course vegetarian meal prepared by Chef’s Training Program students and instructors. We use seasonal, local, fresh, traditional and whole ingredients, often vegan and/or gluten-free. BYOB and only $49, Friday Night Dinner is one of the best values for a night out on the town to be had in this city.

Why should I take a class at Natural Gourmet Institute?

We are the experts.

For over 40 years, Natural Gourmet Institute has been the leader in health-supportive culinary education. We are a world-class culinary institute, leading the food as health movement and empowering chefs, home cooks, and communities to achieve well-being through the preparation of healthy, delicious meals. We are the first health-supportive, plant-based cooking school to be fully licensed (1992) and accredited (2000), and our nearly 2,600 alumni represent over 33 countries.

Students in our recreational classes benefit from our instructors’ 300 cumulative years of healthful cooking.

What classes are available?

You can find our classes, certificate programs, and Friday Night Dinners on our website. You can apply to our professional Chef’s Training Program here.

There was a class running last month that I wanted to attend. Will you be offering it again?

Depending on demand, we may run specific classes several times a year. Classes such as Knife Skills and Vegan Umami are run monthly, while others may run quarterly or semi-annually. To stay informed on new and upcoming classes, please join our mailing list to receive our weekly newsletter.

Who are the instructors for the classes?

The instructors for each class are indicated in the class description. They include Natural Gourmet Institute Chef Instructors as well as guest instructors including Dr. Will Cole, a functional medicine practitioner; Dustin Harder, NGI alum, host of The Vegan Roadie and author of The Simply Vegan Cookbook; Miro Uskokovic, pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern; and Laura Rosenberg, MS, RD, CDN, NGI alum and nutrition instructor at Suffolk Community College.

How much does a cooking class typically cost?

Our cooking classes vary in price, but for single cooking class, the average is $150. These classes run approximately 3 hours and include a meal at the end of the class.

What is included in the price?

Our cooking classes vary in price, but for single cooking class, the average is $150. These classes run approximately three hours and include a meal at the end of the class.

As part of the class, you have access to high quality ingredients, professional grade tools and equipment, a recipe handout, personal instruction, a team of assistants, and a tasting buffet at the end of the class.

What are the ingredients used in your classes?

As part of our continuing commitment to Dr. Colbin’s Seven Principles of Food Selection, we source the highest quality, freshest ingredients from local producers, shopping at the Union Square Green Market four days a week. From spring through fall, 60-80% of our produce is locally sourced. Our eggs, chicken, and meat come from a family owned business in Westport, CT, which uses custom feed that is non-GMO, non-medicated, and contains no animal byproducts or growth hormones. Our primary four flours are unbleached, whole wheat, spelt, and whole wheat pastry flours sourced from a family owned organic certified mill in the Champlain Valley, New York.

How can I sign up for a class?

You can sign up for classes online at

Our class roster is listed under the email from which you registered. If you register another student for a class, please advise them that they will be listed under your name and of the cancellation policy.

How far ahead do you recommend that I register for a class?

Class sizes are limited. We suggest you register at least two weeks in advance to ensure your spot. Except for Certificate Programs, payment in full is required to secure a spot in any class.

Our cancellation policy applies to all registrations. Click here to view our Cancellation Policy.

Do you have waiting lists for classes that are full?

Classes fill up quickly and we recommend you register at least two weeks in advance. However when a class is full and online enrollment is closed, students can email a request to be placed on a waiting list. Please specify the class title, date and time, as this is not automatically indicated. When an opening becomes available, all students on the waiting list are notified via email and a spot in the class will be released for registration on our website on a first come, first served basis.

What should I bring to class?

The only thing you need to bring is your enthusiasm! If you like to take notes, please bring a pen and notebook. However, we will typically provide you with printed class materials, including the recipes. All kitchen materials, including aprons, side towels, knives, and all equipment, are provided by Natural Gourmet Institute.

How should I dress for class?

For any hands-on cooking classes, we ask that you dress for safety. Please wear comfortable clothing, with sleeves, and close-toed shoes. Jewelry is not recommended. Hair must be tied back. Open-toed shoes or sandals and sleeveless tops or tank tops are not allowed. These rules do not apply for lectures.

Do we get recipes to take home?

In all our cooking classes we provide recipes for you to take home. For all our lectures, we provide the instructors’ handouts.

Do we get to eat any of the food that’s prepared?

YES! In every cooking class you are provided with tastings of each recipe that is prepared, typically enough of each to make a full meal.

Do I get to take home leftovers?

If you bring your own container, and if there are leftovers, you may take some food home.

Are snacks provided?

Unless otherwise noted, we do not provide snacks. Tea and water are available.

Is wine served in cooking classes? If not, can I bring wine to class?

Unless otherwise specified, no alcohol will be served in cooking classes. Attendees of legal New York State drinking age may bring wine to be consumed after the cooking portion of the class is completed and while enjoying the foods prepared. Pregnant women, people who will be driving, and people on certain medications should not consume alcohol. No alcohol is to be consumed while working with knives or open flame and requires the permission of the instructor.

How do I know if a class is vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, or other?

Often, the title and description of the class will indicate if a class is vegan or vegetarian. If it is unclear, please email for confirmation.

Are your classes gluten free?

We do occasionally run classes which are gluten-free, and these are indicated in the title of the class. For other classes, we do indicate on the menu if an item is gluten-free.

Will recipes be modified to accommodate my food allergy?

We do not modify recipes to accommodate individual dietary restrictions. Instructors may provide recommendations for substitutions or modifications to a recipe that you could implement in the future.

Are your kitchens gluten-free certified?

No, our kitchens are not gluten-free certified, so are not suitable for those with Celiac Disease or severe gluten allergies.

How old do I have to be to attend a class?

Our classes are intended for adults 18 years and older. Teenagers 15 years and older may attend a class if accompanied by an adult who is also enrolled and who signs a waiver. We occasionally do have classes for younger age groups.

Can my child join me in class?

No. Unless otherwise specified, each registration is intended for a single adult, 18 years and older. Teens 15 years and older may be allowed to attend if accompanied by an adult who is also enrolled and who signs a waiver for the child. Each attendee requires their own purchased spot. We do not have facilities for child care while you are taking a class.

Do you offer cooking classes for children?

We do not offer cooking classes for children only. We do occasionally offer cooking classes for parents and children to enjoy together, and this is indicated in the class description.

Do you offer discounts/promotions?

We occasionally offer limited discounts and promotions through our newsletter and social media outlets. Join our mailing list or follow us on social media to gain access to these discounts.

I missed a discount – is it too late to redeem it?

Yes, if a discount or coupon has expired, we cannot apply it to your past or future purchase.

Can I combine discounts?

No, discounts may not be combined.

How do I know if a class running?

We take every effort to notify you via email of a class cancellation. Please make sure that you whitelist to ensure you receive our communications.

In the event of an emergency or extreme weather, we may cancel classes and will notify you via email. Generally, if mass transit is running, we are open.

You can also check our status online.

Are classes ever cancelled?

Natural Gourmet Institute reserves the right to cancel an event or class due to low enrollment, extreme weather, or other circumstances that would make the event or class non-viable. Students traveling to NGI from outside the New York metropolitan area should confirm their class registration(s) before finalizing travel arrangements.

What happens if Natural Gourmet Institute cancels a class?

Participants will be notified via email and will receive a full refund.

For multi-day or full-day events or classes, Natural Gourmet Institute may cancel the event or class up to five days in advance of the start date.

For single-session events or classes, Natural Gourmet Institute may cancel the event or class up to three days in advance.

Students traveling to NGI from outside the New York metropolitan area should confirm their class registration(s) before finalizing travel arrangements.

Why has my scheduled class been cancelled due to low enrollment?

We endeavor to give each student the best cooking experience. Class menus are designed to run with 8-16 students. Classes with low enrollment may be cancelled as it will not be feasible to create all recipes within the time allotted.

What if I can’t attend a class for which I’ve already registered?

Similar to a concert or sporting event, a​ll NGI programs are date-specific​. Therefore, all single-session classes, multi-day programs, and dinners are non-refundable and cannot be rescheduled to a later date. If you are unable to attend a class or dinner, you are welcome to send someone in your place.

Please email if you are cancelling your registration or transferring your spot to another person. Students who cannot attend a class are eligible to receive the recipes and materials covered in class.

For private events, refer to your contract.

I received a credit voucher for a class I cancelled. For how long is the credit voucher valid?

Credit vouchers are valid for one year from the date of the voucher. The voucher is used as cash so please keep in a safe place.

Do you offer gift certificates?

Not at this time. We are revamping our gift certificate program and until the new program is launched, will not be selling gift certificates.

Previously purchased gift certificates are not affected and can be redeemed online.

How do I redeem a credit voucher or gift certificate?

Add the class to your basket by clicking attend, then follow the steps below.

  1. Enter the code where it asks for coupon
  2. Click “Apply Coupon”
  3. Check that your coupon amount reflects your gift certificate amount
  4. Check that the total reflects the class cost less the gift certificate amount
  5. Click “Proceed to Checkout”

To be notified of new and upcoming classes, please join our mailing list to receive our weekly newsletter.

Do you offer Certificate Programs online?

At this time, we do not offer Certificate Programs online. This may change in the future, so join our mailing list to keep updated on future events.

What is the difference between Culinary Nutrition and Food Therapy Certificate Programs?

Great question!

Culinary Nutrition helps you translate the science of nutrition – what macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) we need to be healthy – into food and menus. It then explores various dietary profiles including veganism and vegetarianism, food allergens and sensitivities, and lifecycle and sports nutrition to understand how to ensure optimum health.

Food Therapy takes a functional and integrative approach to nutrition, tackling the role of food as a therapeutic tool in managing illness and disease. Students will explore cooking concerns and plan menus for people with cancer, immune disorders, diabetes, inflammation, and other illnesses.

You can read more in our article or on the Certificate Program page.

What are Friday Night Dinners?

Friday Night Dinners, are our 3-course vegetarian (often vegan) BYOB dinners. We use seasonal, local, fresh, traditional, and whole ingredients. These dinners open for reservations four weeks in advance and often sell out.

These dinners are often the final project for students in our professional Chef’s Training Program. Students develop the concept, menus, and recipes and prepare and serve the food. Other times, these dinners are an opportunity for our Chef Instructors or a guest chef to celebrate an event or a theme.

How far in advance can I sign up for a Friday Night Dinner?

Friday Night Dinners are extremely popular, and reservations open four weeks in advance of the dinner.

Is there a waitlist for Friday Night Dinners?

Yes, we do keep a waitlist for Friday Night Dinners. However, due to the popularity of these dinners, spots rarely become available. To join the waitlist for our Friday Night Dinners, email with the date of the Friday Night Dinner you’d like to attend and the number of people in your party.

How much are Friday Night Dinners?

Friday Night Dinners are $49 per person, before tax.

What can I expect at a Friday Night Dinner?

Friday Night Dinners are lively dinners with communal seating. Each week features a unique 3-course vegetarian meal prepared by Chef’s Training Program students and instructors. We use seasonal, local, fresh, traditional and whole ingredients, often vegan and/or gluten-free. Guest will receive an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. The evening finishes with an informal questions and answers session with the chef and chef students.

What are the meals like?

The meals are always vegetarian and may occasionally include high-quality dairy. These will be noted on the menus published online and at time of service. Accommodations may be made for those preferring a vegan meal.

Can you accommodate my dietary preferences at Friday Night Dinners?

There are set menus for the Friday Night Dinners, which are published four weeks in advance of the dinner. We cannot accommodate specific dietary preferences. However, if there are non-vegan items on a menu, we have vegan options available.

Are your Friday Night Dinners gluten-free?

We occasionally serve gluten-free dinners, and this will be indicated on the menu which is published four weeks in advance of the dinner.

Is there a children’s menu for Friday Night Dinner?

No. A single menu is served to all guests.

Is there a discount for children at the Friday Night Dinner?


Can I bring wine to Friday Night Dinner?

Yes! Friday Night Dinners are BYOB, so feel free to bring your favorite pairing. When you check in for your reservation, our host will help you with your bottle.

Do you host private cooking classes at NGI?

Yes, we host private cooking classes for groups of 8-16 guests for birthday parties, wedding parties, team building events, client appreciation events and more. For more information about private events, please visit our private events page and fill out this form.

Do you host private cocktail parties or seated dinners at NGI?

We host private cocktail parties and seated dinners on a case-by-case basis. For more information, visit our Private Events page.

Is your kitchen space available for rent?

Yes, we rent our kitchen and lecture spaces for various types of events including photo shoots, video segments, catering production, product launches, cooking classes, and more. Please contact us at for more information.

Can I reserve space for a large group at Friday Night Dinner?

We do allow large party reservations and private room rentals for Friday Night Dinner. For more information, visit our Private Events page.

What if I have a question that is not covered here?

Please email your question to