Community cooking class offers tasty, educational experiences

April 13, 2018

Cooking can be fun, and many at-home cooks are hungry to learn tips and recipes from professional chefs. The Food Bank of Delaware has made that happen: we now offer monthly community cooking classes from both our Milford and Newark sites.

The first class, held April 12 in Milford, drew 12 enthusiastic students, ranging in age from 13 to active senior citizens.

Chef Instructor Tim Hunter offered a two- recipe class, Soups and Sauces, in an interactive demonstration format. Students gathered in the Food Bank’s Bistro and snacked on freshly house-made salsa and chips, vegetables and dips, and fruit before the class began.

“Everything goes quick,” he warned, telling students to be prepared – mis en place is the culinary term – before they start the cooking process.

Hunter demonstrated how to create a versatile béchamel sauce, taught some basic culinary terms, and fielded questions while making the sauce that is often used for a hearty macaroni and cheese.

A béchamel must contain both flour and a fat. Hunter talked about flavoring the sauce – he uses kosher salt and white pepper – as well as proper cooking temperature.

Just as he does with students who attend the Food Bank’s Culinary School, he advised these students to taste the sauce as it was simmering.

The next recipe was a Seafood Chowder. “Make it from the bottom up,” advised Hunter, who started with Applewood smoked bacon and the mirepox, the culinary term for the chopped celery, carrots, and onions, added when the bacon stops cooking.

Students watched attentively, asking questions, about the shrimp stock for this chowder.

“Make your soup a couple of days ahead of time,” he suggested.

He also urged the students to be creative in their kitchens. “Don’t be scared to try new things, but not on the holidays,” he said.

As the class drew to a close, Hunter took the class on a tour of the Food Bank’s $1.3 million kitchen that is used by the culinary students. Each student went with a container of béchamel sauce and a container of seafood chowder.

“It was very informative. I will be back,” said Susan, a Camden resident. Her friend, Dianne, a Camden resident, agreed. “It was a lot of fun. It is good to have an evening out to learn. It was also very relaxing,” she said.

The next community cooking class is April 19 in Newark (already sold out!). Milford has classes scheduled on Thursday, May 17, Healthy Cooking, and on Thursday, June 14, Grilling. The classes will be repeated in Newark on May 24 and June 28. Registration is $35; register by clicking here.

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