Cardinals Cook: Recipes for independence

Cooking in college doesn’t have to mean just ramen noodles or macaroni and cheese.

Cardinals Cook, a set of classes offered by Dining Services and Campus Recreation, teaches participants fundamental culinary skills they can use in their own kitchens.

 “Being in this class has been so interesting and helpful, especially because I’m going to be cooking on my own next year,” business freshman Kayla Richmond said. “My favorite part is learning simple recipes that I can use at home.”

So far, the students have learned basic knife skills, kitchen safety procedures, canning techniques and recipes for dishes like pico de gallo. Future classes will focus on marinades and grilling.

Assistant Director of Fitness Programs Andrea Hamlin said knowing how to cook is important

“Once you get out of college, do you know how to cook on your own? That’s a huge thing, whether you have a family or if you’re on your own,” she said. “(Our hope) is that these students possibly leave the university once they graduate with some sort of tools to have to cook on their own.”

Hamlin said the class operates in a “lecture and lab” style. Before heading into the kitchen, students first learn about sanitation and safety in the classroom.

“We cover all the safety areas before they can touch anything,” she said. “This gives them a little bit of education before throwing them into the pot.”

The classes are taught by two of SVSU’s chefs, executive chef of catering Kelly VanConett and executive chef of the Marketplace at Doan Daniel Najera. Campus Recreation fitness coordinator Valerie Adams also played a large role in the planning process.

“This whole thing wouldn’t be possible without what VanConett and Najera are bringing to this,” Jason Wolverton, food services director, said. “They’re so excited to get an opportunity to teach something they’re so passionate about, which is food and cooking.”

Wolverton and Hamlin said they had been looking for an opportunity to start a class about cooking and nutrition for a while now, and this semester the timing was right. Offered to a small number of students, they were able to pilot the class and allow adequate space for safety in the kitchen.

Richmond said she appreciated learning ways to make healthier food.

“Nutrition is important to learn for college students because we don’t always know how to eat now that we are on our own,” she said.

“The life of a college student is so hectic,” Wolverton said. “If you have an afternoon where you can make up a bunch of meals, put them in the freezer and then cook them as you need it, that’s (helpful).”

Hamlin said the class lets students see Dining Services in a different light.

“This class shows these students that we have some really, really great chefs on our campus that can do amazing things,” she said. “They’re not just here selling us food – they want to educate and teach us how to do these things.”

Both Hamlin and Wolverton said they plan to continue the class next year, with possible room for growth in the future.

“I know for sure this is something we’ll continue to offer, at least in its current form, and hopefully we can grow it and do some different things going forward,” Wolverton said. “There’s no doubt that there’s an audience here for this.”

This entry was posted on Monday, March 16th, 2015 and is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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