I love learning, and whats better than learning in the kitchen? Northern Michigan College holds a variety of Extended Education courses “in the kitchen” throughout the year. NMC’s culinary classes have been rated the region’s Red Hot BEST Award for several years in a row. I attended NMC’s Festival of Foods last year as an introduction to the types of classes and instruction I might receive by signing up for one of NMC’s Culinary Classes. I was so impressed that I signed up and attended two cooking classes in the last few months since my introduction!
The first was a Thai Food Course with Chef Kate Smith. The instruction was great and Kate’s inside information when it came to traditional thai ingredients was invaluable. The hands-on learning is my favorite part about NMC’s culinary classes, perhaps its because I learn best that way. We watched as Kate demonstrated, then we prepped and made each dish on the menu. There were shrimp spring rolls with a spicy dipping sauce, and of course, one of Thailand’s most well-known noodle dishes, Pad Thai. Plus,Tom Kha Gai, a chicken coconut soup I had never tried before, and loved.
Pad Thai has always been a favorite of mine, but I never had the guts to try and make it myself, before this class. The complex and delicious flavor that I love so much just seemed too complicated to try on my own.
The second NMC culinary class I took recently was called “Stuffed Pastas” and was led by Chef Mickey Cannon. I’m a sucker for pasta and real Italian pasta sauces make me go weak in the knees. But once again, the idea of making pasta from scratch seemed way beyond my reach. This is perhaps the most valuable lesson I learned from these courses. A simple introduction by experienced chefs (even friends or italian grandmothers for that matter) can make a complicated dish uncomplicated. When you’re unfamiliar with the preparation or the ingredients in a dish, lets be honest, it can be pretty intimidating. But by following my passions (and my gut!) towards selecting a culinary class, I inherently made the dish less complicated, less intimidating. I’ve made dishes from both of these courses since my instruction and look forward to doing more.
Embrace the flavors you love and make something like ‘homemade pasta’ a household specialty rather than a dream that seems too complex to master. The truth is that with a little instruction, like one of NMC’s Extended Education Culinary Classes, you’ll be a master of your favorite foods in no time.
Keep learning in the Kitchen.