I’m often asked how I got started teaching cooking classes, especially when my career is in a completely different field. Usually, I just tell people that I am very passionate about food and cooking, and I like sharing that passion with other people, but that is really the short answer. The real story is a bit more detailed than that.
It all started at a casual dinner where many of our closest family friends got together to share a meal. My lifelong friend had developed a bit of a reputation for her fear and distaste of the kitchen, and as was routine, was the butt of some jabbing jokes about the type of wife she would be, since she recently got married. These jabs and teasing were always done in good fun, but I sensed that they had begun to sting a little. So, I took my friend aside, and in secret, we scheduled a date for her to come over to my house for a fun cooking lesson. Soon, we were meeting monthly.
My goal for each lesson was to teach her an appetizer, soup or salad, main dish and dessert, so that if she were called to make any of those dishes for a potluck of sorts, she would have something she could fall back on. I kept all the recipes in a binder, with the hopes that at the end of the day, she would have her own “cookbook” with recipes she felt confident making on her own. As her confidence grew in the kitchen, she started sharing our secret with our other friends, and little by little, everyone wanted in. What started as one-on-one lessons quickly grew to couples’ date nights and children’s classes, as well.
A few months after we initially started meeting, my friend arrived to a family party with an appetizer in tow. She had tried her hand at the very first dish we made together: Fresh Tomato Bruschetta with Grilled Crostini. She shared with me that her husband served as her sous chef, and together, they prepared this dish. I have to say that I was absolutely beaming with pride as the party guests tasted and enjoyed every bite of her appetizer until there was none left to speak of. What’s more, now that my friend is the mother of two beautiful munchkins, her confidence in the kitchen has grown in such a way that she happily makes her own baby food for the kids.
Yes, I have a passion for food and for cooking. And yes, I really do love sharing that passion with others. But watching my friends and loved ones succeed at something they were once afraid to try is precisely what fuels me from class to class.
- 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 7-8 fresh basil leaves
- 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
- 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 three-finger pinch of kosher salt
- fresh ground pepper
- shaved parmesan cheese
- 8 diagonally sliced pieces of French baguette
- extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- In a bowl, add the diced roma tomatoes. Stack the basil leaves, roll them into a cigar, and run your knife, making thin slices. Add the sliced basil to the tomatoes. Finely mince the garlic (I use a microplane zester for this). Add olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Gently stir and combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Serve over grilled crostini and top with parmesan cheese.
- Brush olive oil over the bread pieces, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on grill over medium to high heat, and cook until grill marks appear.
- Top with bruschetta, and serve.