When a sleek glass-walled culinary center opened in the middle of our “neighborhood” Whole Foods (in Dedham, Mass.) the concept seemed new, but also so natural. We are used to celebrating food in any number of places, so why not at our neighborhood grocer as we do our weekly shopping runs?
Whole Foods’ culinary center in Dedham offers a variety of hands-on and demonstration style classes for adults and kids (monthly schedule is available on line (see the link below) and on leaflets in the store. Typical demonstration style adult classes cost $10 per person (hands-on classes $20), all supplies and sampling included.
My husband Vit and I have recently tried the Mushroom themed demo style class (how about this for a “date night” idea?). On the menu: Roasted Mushroom & Farro Salad, Mushroom & Onion Tart, and Miso Soup with… (but of course!) the Mushrooms. As she cooked, demo specialist Alex Tillotson “gently” introduced us to the products she used from the store (Miso soup base), and described the store options for farro and puff pastry. I personally did not feel any push and only welcomed the descriptions of mushroom selections and “what’s in season” commentary. After all, by making it a part of your grocery shopping experience, they are able to keep the class prices nominal. When all the dishes were cooked (in about an hour), Alex plated them nicely for our tasting.
Last month I have signed my almost 5 year old Vi for a “Sticky Fingers” cooking class targeted for 5-8 year olds. This hands-on class delivered all it promised: “stirring, whisking, pouring, spreading and measuring, along with simple cooking techniques and making healthy choices.” The kids made the veggie rolls, fruit sticks and yogurt deserts, while the presenters prepared almond milk-and-fruit smoothie for all. Kid classes are offered on the weekend and are very convenient: your kid has fun (and eats!) while you grocery shop.
In the next two weeks, there is fish, lamb and Passover macaroons on the menu (not all in one class, of course). And I personally can’t wait for a return of teen classes to the schedule. They currently pulled them off because of the low turn up, but I requested the teen pasta cooking class I saw on the “menu” a couple of months ago. How convenient would that be!!!
Class schedule and sign up: