By Mary Ellen Psaltis
Learning new skills stimulates the immune system. Eating great food stimulates the senses. Get the best of both worlds rolled into one experience by attending a class at the Bayview School of Cooking located within Bayview Thriftway. The theme for spring quarter is “teaching people new things.” Find activities designed for almost everyone. That includes beginning chefs and children as well as talented cooks. Director Leanne Willard has scheduled the next three months for your cooking pleasures.
Maybe your desire is to make memorable cinnamon rolls or fresh ricotta cheese. You’re in luck! Another how-to class shows you the way to enliven your life with kimchi, a spicy Korean fermented cabbage dish. You can learn the secrets of preparing expert egg rolls or become proficient with your knife skills. Writer and grill master, Barry Martin will be teaching a series of three cooking classes, Guys in Aprons, for those who don’t know their way around the kitchen.
Invest a few minutes reading the new brochure, which can be found at either Ralph’s Thriftway or Bayview Thriftway, as well as online. Willard loves finding new chefs and bringing world-wide tastes to the school. It’s food with plenty of fun sprinkled into it. The last night in January was called Olympia’s Next Top Chef. Three talented South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) culinary students were given the same basic ingredients – fresh true cod, barley, kale, dried currents, and smoked paprika. In the atmosphere of a game show, each chef was judged on teaching style, taste, visual presentation and creativity. The winner, Keri Bird, will be teaching a class this summer.
If you haven’t been paying attention, the cooking school organizes a popular brewery dinner once per quarter. A brewery anchors the evening bringing five beers to sample. A five-course meal is planned around the beers – all you need to do is show up, watch the courses being put together and eat. Handily, the beers are then available for sale at special prices right after the event.
For example, a local favorite, Dick’s Brewing Company, is setting up shop on Saturday, February 8. Willard, with the help of Barb Agee, is doing the cooking. Here’s the menu:
- Cuban Bread with Chocolate and Garlic with Lava Rock Porter
- Tomato-Artichoke Soup with Dick’s Danger Ale
- Grapefruit, Pomegranate and Arugula Salad with Dick’s Hefeweizen
- Roasted Port Tenderloin with Spicy Roasted Bell Pepper Pesto and Green Olive-Lemon Rice with Working Man’s Brown Ale
- Cream Stout Chocolate Cake with Dick’s Cream Stout
You get the idea. Each tasty course is matched with the right beer. There is no shopping, chopping, cooking or cleaning required of you. Sit back and relax. The spring brewery dinner will be in late May with the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.
There are those who are Bayview Cooking School regulars, enjoying the evening out and learning handy tips along the way. Others are just now discovering the school has been offering instructional and educational classes for over ten years. The kid’s programs have been revamped – what an excellent way to involve children in their own well-being. Willard, who has been teaching at the school since its beginning and the director for the past three years, delights in booking local and area chefs and cookbook authors. “It’s gratifying to make all this happen,” she says.
She remembers her first class featuring appetizers. Willard used her entertaining skills to offer chive-spiked smoked salmon chips, pancetta wrapped scallops with rosemary and lemon, cheddar sesame olive poppers, nut and dried fruit jeweled baked brie and more! Who couldn’t have fun with that?!
As we come through winter and head to promising spring, consider taking an easy trip to downtown Olympia. Find yourself sampling casual wine overlooking beautiful Budd Bay a Friday afternoon or taking the culinary path from Greece to Persia. Travel is an outstanding way to learn about culture and food. Save yourself the cost of an airline ticket and explore the world locally. Learning never tasted so good!
Eat Well – Be Well