Inspiring people to connect through food

Maria Kopsidas is the founder and owner of Cookology Recreational Culinary School, Metropolitan Culinary Arts Institute (MCAI), Cookology Kitchen. 

Prior to opening her flagship store in 2009, Maria spent fifteen years leading marketing and communications campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, trade associations, restaurants, and charities including Discovery Channel International as publicist for India and Australia, Grocery Manufacturers Association, the largest and oldest food manufacturer association in the country, as manager of online communications, and director of communications for an Electronic Data Discovery firm. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Journalism from University of Maryland, College Park; a handful of certificates in Finance and Plant-based Nutrition from Cornell University, and is pursuing her Master’s degree when her daughter goes off to college in 2022. (Linkedin Profile)

With an SBA loan, Maria opened Cookology at Dulles Town Center during the Great Recession in February 2009. This award winning cooking school, loved by every Fortune 100 company in Northern Virginia from Google to Capital One, caught the eye of developers, Forest City in 2017. Forest City rebuilt Ballston Commons into an experiential mall called Ballston Quarter and added Cookology as a tenant. In 2019, a six thousand square foot culinary center housing both Cookology and Metropolitan Culinary Arts Institute opened in Ballston Quarter. Metropolitan Culinary Arts Institute is a post-secondary, professional culinary arts school certified to operate in Virginia by the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia. 

During the pandemic, Maria launched Cookology Kitchen, a delivery only concept whose meals live at the intersection of restaurant delivery and make your own ingredient boxes.

In 2021, the pandemic still not over, Maria, took elements of the professional culinary training program, MCAI, and created MCAI 501(c)3, a non-profit that trains students to become prep cooks in six short weeks, and raises money for other students to take the 14 and 24 week programs. After training, MCAI 501(c)3 finds students positions, and acts as an advocate during their job placement.

Growing up in a Mediterranean family with philanthropists, cooks, cookbook authors, health experts and professional chefs, including a former pastry chef in the White House, the idea of a super accessible, affordable cooking school was her goal but many years later, the idea of a creating a culinary workforce where education is financially accessible has become her latest passion. 

Tell us how you feel

Your feedback is needed to help us improve our classes, the way we teach, customer service and how we run operations.

If you enjoyed your experience at Cookology and think the community should know more about us, please feel free to share your experience online on Facebook, GoogleTrip Advisor, or Yelp  If you’d prefer to share your experience with us personally, please feel free to email the owner, Maria.

Our Terms

• Class cancellations must be received via phone or e-mail at least 48 hours in advance in order to be issued a class credit. No credit or refund will be given for cancellations within 48 hours of class for any reason.
• All class credits must be used within 30 days of issuance.
• Closed toed shoes required for all classes!

Please Read Our Privacy and Security Policies from our Merchant Services Company, Heartland

Privacy Policy: 
“We respect and are committed to protecting your privacy. We may collect personally identifiable information when you visit our site. We also automatically receive and record information on our server logs from your browser including your IP address, cookie information and the page(s) you visited. We will not sell your personally identifiable information to anyone.”

Security Policy:
“Your payment and personal information is always safe. Our Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) software is the industry standard and among the best software available today for secure commerce transactions. It encrypts all of your personal information, including credit card number, name, and address, so that it cannot be read over the internet.”

Continue reading for full details

Terms & Conditions

Meet Our Founder

Maria Kopsidas

Maria Kopsidas

Maria Kopsidas is the founder and owner of Cookology Recreational Culinary School, Metropolitan Culinary Arts Institute (MCAI), Cookology Kitchen and Helbroth Consulting. 

Prior to opening her flagship store in 2009, Maria spent fifteen years leading marketing and communications campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, trade associations, restaurants, and charities including Discovery Channel International as publicist for India and Australia, Grocery Manufacturers Association, the largest and oldest food manufacturer association in the country, as manager of online communications, and director of communications for an Electronic Data Discovery firm. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Journalism from University of Maryland, College Park; a handful of certificates in Finance and Plant-based Nutrition from Cornell University, and is pursuing her Master’s degree when her daughter goes off to college in 2022. (Linkedin Profile)

With an SBA loan, Maria opened Cookology at Dulles Town Center during the Great Recession in February 2009. This award winning cooking school loved by every Fortune 100 company in Northern Virginia from Google to Capital One, caught the eye of developers, Forest City. In 2017 they began a $354M rebuild of Ballston Commons, with the intention of creating an experiential mall, so ten years later, Maria opened a 6000 sq.ft. culinary center housing both Cookology and Metropolitan Culinary Arts Institute in Arlington, VA. 

Metropolitan Culinary Arts Institute is a post-secondary culinary arts program certified to operate in Virginia by SCHEV. 

During the pandemic, Maria launched Cookology Kitchen, a delivery only concept whose meals live at the intersection of restaurant delivery and make your own ingredient boxes – Official Launch is 2022.

In 2021, the pandemic still not over, Maria, took elements of the professional culinary training program, MCAI, and created MCAI 501(c)3. This non-profit trains students into prep cooks in six short weeks, finds them positions, and acts as an advocate for their well-being and future throughout their career. Restaurants make donations to MCAI 501(c)3 to cover the costs of the students’ training.  

Growing up in a Mediterranean family with philanthropists, cooks, cookbook authors, health experts and professional chefs, including a former pastry chef in the White House, the idea of a super accessible, affordable cooking school was her goal but many years later, the idea of a creating a culinary workforce where education is financially accessible has become her latest passion. 

Feel free to email Maria!

Our Team

What our students have to say

Cookology in the Community


Cookology is a proud participant of the Northern Virginia community at large. We provide donations, meals, and event support to a multitude of causes. Below is a list of just a handful of the schools and organizations Cookology has supported in the previous months.

  • Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic
  • Arlington Traditional School
  • Fauquier Alternative School
  • PRS
  • Loudoun Free Clinic
  • Rolling Ridge Elementary
  • Tauxemont Cooperative Preschool
  • Ronald Wilson Reagan Middle School
  • The Primary Day School
  • March of Dimes
  • Dominion Trail Elementary
  • Algonkian Elementary School
  • Sunset Hills Montessori
  • St. Theresa School
  • Evergreen Mill Elementary
  • Sully Elementary
  • United Way (on behalf for Unysis)
  • Frances Hazel Reid Elementary School
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, Fairfax Region
  • The 25th Project
  • Claude Moore Preschool
  • Capitol Area Food Bank
  • Gravely Elementary
  • Union Mill Elementary
  • Laurel Hill Elementary
  • Reston Children’s Center
  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  • St. David’s Episcopal Preschool
  • Greenbriar West Elementary
  • Forest Edge Elementary
  • IFDA-DC
  • Mautner Project (National Lesbian Health)
  • Greek Orthodox Parish of Loudoun County
  • YMCA of Loudoun County
  • Long Branch Elementary
  • Algonkian Elementary
  • The 25th Project
  • Food on the Stove