Cooking classes aren't just for those seeking a culinary arts degree.
Many adults in the tri-county area are discovering that learning how to
prepare a gourmet meal under the tutelage of a world-class chef can be
entertaining, educational and appetizing.
Vickie Grow, program coordinator for the personal enrichment classes at
the College of Southern Maryland (CSM), is launching a series of adult
cooking classes this fall in St. Mary's and Charles counties, and come
spring, Calvert County should be added to the schedule.
"It is our hope that the cooking classes are popular. The general public
has been asking for them for some time now," said Grow.
Waldorf's Ted Stolk has been a chef for 22 years. He's apprenticed
and/or worked in Holland, New Orleans, Ohio and New York. He has taught
cooking for many years and even did live cooking segments for a morning
television show in Buffalo, New York. He is currently the chef at Walter
Reed Army Medical Center and cooks Wednesday night dinners at First
Baptist Church of Waldorf.
"Students range in age from 22 to 60…from the student living in a dorm
room to the empty nester trying to learn some new skills to impress
friends. All students have shown a genuine interest and asked a lot of
questions," said Stolk. "This is what makes it challenging, but also a
lot of fun."
This fall Stolk is teaching "Oktoberfest" (a German menu including
Sauerbraten, Weiner Schnitzel and Black Forest Cake) and "Great
30-Minute Meals" (prepare seven dishes in three hours!) for CSM. He is
developing a New Orleans/Cajun class for the spring.
Chef Loic Jaffres of Café des Artistes, a French restaurant in
Leonardtown, has taught cooking classes since 1993. "I've taught in
various capacities and workshops for first-year cooking students,
couples, diplomat's wives, housekeepers and rent-a-chefs! My philosophy
has always been that cooking and learning to cook should be fun," he
"It is amazing how many people are interested in the art of cooking, and
eating, and I love to share my passion," said Jaffres.
Jaffres's students agree. Retired Federal Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson
of Compton won a cooking lesson in an auction to benefit the Historic
St. Mary's City Foundation.
"We spent a delightful evening watching and learning how a master chef
prepares an elegant meal in a small home kitchen," said Jackson. "From
his incomparable shrimp bisque - one of my favorites and the best bisque
ever - to the apple tarte that followed his Beef Wellington entrée, Loic
showed us by work and deed how it should be done."
Last year Robin Richards and her husband Matthew received "A Day with
Chef Loic" as a wedding gift from her sister. Robin remembers it well, "Karleen
[Chef Loic's wife who runs the dining room at the restaurant] and Loic
are wonderful people. He made everything fun and easy."
This fall Jaffres is teaching "Picking and Pairing Wines/Gourmet Dishes"
and "Gourmet French Cuisine" at CSM. The French cuisine course will
offer four different dinner menus in four 3-hour sessions on Monday
evenings at North Point High School.
Chef Asiminia Greesis from Ouzo's Greek restaurant is teaching "A Taste
of Greece" at the La Plata restaurant this fall. The menu includes wine,
salad, Tzatziki sauce, Greek roasted chicken, oven-baked potatoes and
With so many choices of cuisine, you're guaranteed to find something
that tempts your pallet. Cooking classes offer not only invaluable
lessons, but also a wonderful meal. Robin Richards agrees: "I would
encourage anyone considering a cooking class to go for it. It was our
favorite wedding gift."
Classes are offered at the restaurants themselves, at North Point High
School's state-of-the-art kitchen, or can even be arranged to be done in
your home. Classes include all utensils and food. Fees range from
$32-$225, depending on the length of lesson and the complexity of the
To find out about local cooking classes visit CSM at
www.csmd.edu; Café des Artistes at
phone 301-997-0500; and Ouzo's at
www.ouzos.com or phone 301-392-9500.