Last February, my friend Sonya called me looking to twist my arm into donating a cooking class to the Guilford Green Foundation Gala and Auction. I laughed at her request because I had never actually taught a cooking class before – but gave in after some serious convincing (if you know Sonya, you know that she doesn’t take a ‘no’). I attended the Gala that night in March and was shocked to hear that my class was purchased — and even more shocked that it hadn’t been purchased in pity by one of my friends!
When Mary, the winner of the class, emailed me last month I was immediately nervous about living up to her expectations. After discussing her thoughts on a menu (and any dietary restrictions), we agreed on an Italian Menu for the evening full of easy, yet elegant recipes, that they could take home and create again and again. I commissioned my charming and generous friend Andrew to help with the bar and social lubrication and I curated the lesson and dinner with my fingers crossed. My goal was to make sure they either learned SOMETHING or just had a lot of fun.
We couldn’t have been luckier to have such a fun crowd for the cooking class. Mary, Sam, Lynn and John exceeded all my expectations – they were spirited learners without any objection to jumping into the kitchen to explore. And perhaps more importantly, there is no doubt that they value the ability to have fun just as much as I do. We all had a blast cooking and dining together. I split up the meal into three cooking stations and I assisted everyone creating a dish. In Mod Meals style, we used no measuring equipment. We tasted along the way, improvised and adjusted the dishes to our own personal tastes. We concluded the evening at the table together – decorated in culinary themed butcher paper, hydrangeas and bay leaves.
Guilford Green Foundation’s mission statement is “uniting community” and, indeed, that is what they accomplished (yet again) on Friday night. We made new friends and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the evening and the personal learning experience. I’ll post the recipes and photos from the cooking class this week.
Summer Cooking Class on Mendenhall Menu:
Campari Gin & Tonics
Bread with Lemon, Chili and Garlic Oil
Homemade Beet Ravioli
Herbed Pork Tenderloin with Pancetta and Fried Capers
Zucchini Carpacio with Pine Nuts and Feta Cheese