For someone who has a high hurdle to pay for subscriptions, I was quite skeptical of the value in instructional videos by “experts”. The Internet is awash with content, and how-to videos are no exception.
And let's face it, I watch more Youtube than cable at this point.
Nevertheless, after perusing a few previews of the celebrity contributors on Masterclass and getting hit with tons of promotional ads, I decided to give it a try. A few months into the broader, crazy new environment, I can definitely say Masterclass has grown on me!
Here's my review of the Masterclass annual subscription and the classes I've taken and recommend!
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How Much Does MasterClass Cost?
Originally, Masterclass offered two pricing options.
You could purchase one instructor's class for $90 and have forever access. Or, you could pay $180 for an annual subscription, which would allow unlimited access to watch all the Masterclass courses for a one year period, after which access would end.
As of early May 2020, it looks like they've removed the $90 purchase class option and have switched to an entirely subscription based model. For me personally, I went with the annual subscription and I think it's been the better buy.
Since I purchased Masterclass a couple months ago, the company has released a TON of new courses, all of which have been right up my alley.
For example, Kelly Wearstler's interior design class, the mixology class, Ron Finley's gardening class and next on my list to watch, Robbin Roberts' communication class were all new releases from the last two months.
So I think an annual subscription model is actually a good thing!
Is MasterClass worth the Money?
For me – definitely yes!
While I like Netflix as much as the next person, it's easy to feel like you've wasted a weekend just binging tv. Watching Masterclass is an elevated way to relax, but also learn.
The sheer amount of courses that are on the platform (I only covered a fraction of what's offered) is great value for the price. And the video production and quality on Masterclass is unparalleled.
I especially like how easy it is to digest. There's a Masterclass app for mobile phones and ipads, as well as desktop access.
You can watch the courses over and over within the annual membership, and I love how even on the phone you can play the classes on in the background (like you would listen to a podcast) and even watch double speed.
Check out Masterclass and even if you learn just 1 thing from each instructor, the subscription is well worth it!
While I was concerned by the limited initial batch of contributors, Masterclass has continuously added more original, interesting content across verticals that keep me going back to the platform!
Below are a few of my reviews on the courses I’ve taken:
Click the link to jump to each individual review, or keep reading below!
Thomas Keller Teaches Cooking Techniques
Watch Time: About 2-3 days
Thomas Keller Masterclass Review
Having been sorely disappointed by our dinner at The French Laundry, I went into this group of lessons certain I would be similarly underwhelmed. A lot of culinary-minded friends had recommended Thomas Keller's masterclass series, so I finally caved.
I will begrudgingly admit that while many of the recipes do require an above-average degree of meticulousness, I came away with more respect for the chef than when I started.
Detail-oriented and patient, Keller effectively conveys step-by-step directions to recreate some of his most famous dishes.
The course is also one of Masterclass’ most comprehensive offerings, with three volumes covering a wide range of techniques and ingredients!
Check out Thomas Keller's Masterclass here.
Gabriela Cámara Teaches Mexican Cooking
Watch time: About ½ day
Gabriela Camara Masterclass Review
Having had one of the best seafood dinners in the world at Contramar, I was excited to watch chef Gabriela Cámara walk me through some of her most flavorful recipes.
Chef Cámara uses fresh and unique ingredients, with careful instructions on technique, to teach the viewer how to create some of the most refreshing and delicious salsas, homemade tortillas, and yes, her famous red and green grilled snapper.
I came away from the lessons armed with lots of new ideas and inspiration for Mexican cooking, particularly how smoked chiles and limes can elevate any dish.
Check out Gabriela Camara's Masterclass here.
Massimo Bottura Teaches Modern Italian Cooking
Watch time: 1 day
Massimo Bottura Masterclass Review
If you are wondering where the passion in world-renowned chefs lives, look no further than Massimo Bottura.
This class was fun to watch and rewarding to put into practice.
Engaging and intense, Chef Bottura, with his sous chef Taka, takes you step by step through some of his legendary dishes at Osteria. Techniques from roasting stock vegetables to game-changing pesto will convince you your next trip should be to Modena, Italy!
The first thing I did after finishing his master course was put my pasta maker to good use.
Check out Massimo Bottura's Masterclass here.
Lynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana Teach Mixology
Watch time: 2 days
I don't know about you, but I've been making tons of drinks during quarantine.
And I'm happy to say that thanks to Lynnette Marrero and Ryan Chetiyawardana, I'd be more than comfortable to invite my friends over once this all ends for happy hour!
Mixology Masterclass Review
I really enjoyed this course, partly because the instructors are two award winning bartenders behind NYC bars that I've been to and loved.
Lynnette Marrero is the bar director at the Llama Inn in Brooklyn and previously worked at The Flatiron Lounge. Ryan Chetiyawardana has opened bars around the world, like Milk & Honey.
The masterclass covers discovering your drink palette, the essential liquors for any at home bar and recipes for making a whole host of drinks.
Highly recommend if you like cocktails and want to find out how to make them at home – they're surprisingly easy and fun to experiment with!
Check out the Mixology Masterclass here.
Chris Voss Teaches the Art of Negotiation
Watch Time: 1 day
Never Split the Difference was one of the most influential books I’ve read over the last decade.
It's a book about negotiation techniques written by an ex-FBI hostage negotiator. While I certainly have no plans to be in a crisis situation quite like that, Chris Voss' techniques are incredibly useful in all sorts of tense situations – whether it be a boardroom at work or leveraging concessions from your parents.
So when I saw that Chris Voss had his very own Masterclass, it was a no-brainer to watch!
Chris Voss Masterclass Review
I'd say the class is ultimately a video version covering many similar topics that were written in the book. But, the Masterclass offers a different medium of consuming the content and the simulated mock negotiations were very effective.
This Masterclass is definitely one to watch!
Not only does it reinforce a lot of the takeaways from Voss’ book (come on, how much do you remember from the last book you've read)? The best reasons to watch the masterclass are to learn about tactical empathy and how to effectively employ it in our everyday lives.
Don't skip this one.
Check out Chris Voss's Masterclass here.
Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing
Watch Time: 1-2 Days
Malcolm Gladwell Masterclass Review
Having read most of Malcolm Gladwell’s published books, I still found this class enlightening in how it addressed the process and purpose to consider while writing.
By highlighting instances of his own work and those of others, Gladwell reinforced the strengths of great writers, while suggesting techniques to improve one’s own personal writing.
To his credit, I found myself following up his classes by reading his New Yorker magazine articles from the late 90s, early 00s on Ron Popeil (“Set it and forget it” fame) and Herta Herzog.
I guess that’s the power of a great writer!
Check out Malcolm Gladwell's Masterclass here.
Daniel Negreanu Teaches Poker
Watch Time: About 1 day
Daniel Negreanu Masterclass Review
With films like Cincinnati Kid, Rounders and Casino Royale, I’ve always imagined one day I would pick up and re-locate to the Las Vegas poker floor.
With the explosion in online gambling settling into the mainstream, poker offers its players a game of strategy, patience and untold fortune. Naturally, learning the sport from one of the game’s best to ever play made sense to jump start my career.
The course is comprehensive.
As long as you can recognize a 52-deck of cards, this course walks you through the rest. Overlaying strategy with instruction, Daniel Negreanu engagingly reinforces his lessons with actual footage from tournaments.
Check out Daniel Negreanu's Masterclass here.
Phil Ivey Teaches Poker Strategy
Watch Time: About ½ day
Phil Ivey Masterclass Review
Following Daniel Negreanu’s lessons naturally led me to another poker great Phil Ivey’s course.
Having seen both the public and private success at the table Ivey has garnered, I was looking forward to all the strategy and mental cues the course promised to offer.
While definitely a few levels above Negreanu’s course, I found Ivey way more restrained with revealing the keys to his success.
Ultimately, he revealed far less than would expose what his edge at the table was, which I guess makes sense. Strategies were overlaid with actual poker tournament footage, but the class definitely left more to be desired.
Check out Phil Ivey's Masterclass here.
Kelly Wearstler Teaches Interior Design
Watch Time: 1-2 days
Kelly Wearstler Masterclass Review
I was really excited for this class. Kelly Wearstler is a world renowned interior designer known for bold spaces with lots of color, texture and modern furnishings.
In terms of the masterclass, it's more of a personal look at her approach to design. The series doesn't teach the principles of Interior Decorating per se.. but I still walked away with lots of ideas.
The video series in particular is so beautifully shot and edited – I'd love to see a masterclass from whoever produces this one!
And in the end, Wearstler's masterclass gave me lots of inspiration. If you are a creative person who thrives on visual inspiration, her class will definitely get you excited.
Check out Kelly Wearstler's Masterclass here.
Bobbi Brown Teaches Makeup
Watch time: 2 days
Bobbi Brown Masterclass Review
Bobbi Brown is one of the most famous makeup artists out there, with her own eponymous makeup line.
I liked how comprehensive her Masterclass is – not only does she cover the basics in detail (foundaton, blush, eyes, brows, bronzer, etc) she also talks about correcting makeup mistakes and her career as a makeup artist.
The videos are really well done. Each technique is applied to women of different skin tones and ages, so you can really understand the technique and look.
Check out Bobbi Brown's Masterclass here.
Ron Finley Teaches Gardening
Watch time: 1/2 day
Lately gardening is the hobby I've taken up that I haven't actually practiced.
Well, I've nurtured my baby Aerogarden but I'm still waiting for the day that I have some outdoor space to plant a proper veggie garden.
In the meantime, I've been reading and watching tons of gardening content so when Ron Finley's masterclass came out, I was super excited.
Ron Finley Masterclass Review
I watched the entire video series in an afternoon – it's easy to watch and beautifully shot.
Ron Finley calls himself the Gangster Gardener and is known for creating a public garden in the food desert of South Central LA.
I definitely took away some great nuggets about re-purposing everyday household items into gardening beds, but ultimately this one is a beginner introduction to gardening.
Finley covers gardening instructions for a variety of herbs, fruits and veggies to get you started on a gardening journey.
Check out Ron Finley's Masterclass here.
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