Central Market Cooking Classes

Classes for teens ensure no ramen in college

Young chef conquers angst to create citrus sensation
Young chef conquers angst to create citrus sensation (Photo by Barbara Chisholm)

One cannot live by ramen alone. As appealing as that package of dried noodles is in times of fatigue or laziness, it simply doesn't do when you want some "oomph" in your meal. And I hear it's best to learn that before college.

Fortunately, Central Market's Cooking School is there to help. Until recently, an unfortunate gap existed between the school's classes for adults (minimum age: 18) and those geared to the littlest chefs (maximum age: 12), leaving adolescents out of the loop. But now, once a month, teenagers 13-18 can take an interactive half-day class whose subject matter ranges from meal planning (July's Spectacular Feast) to particular cuisines (September's Italian).

Being an angst-ridden sophomore myself, I attended the August class, which focused on dishes that involve five ingredients or less. That doesn't mean we copped out and made peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, however. On the menu: pasta with asparagus-lemon sauce, pork ribs with honey-teriyaki glaze, roasted-garlic mashed potatoes, pizza, and, best of all, lemon icebox pie.

Know that this is not just a live cooking show but a hands-on class all the way. The 16 of us were split into groups, and each team took its turn in the kitchen preparing a dish while those not involved looked on and scribbled notes. Chef and teacher Cindy Haenel not only walked us through the recipe but also offered basic advice on everything from seasoning to stir-frying.

In the end, it couldn't be more of a win-win situation. By the time I leave home, I won't be relying on packets of noodles for sustenance, and in the meantime, I can make my family some pretty delicious meals.

I'll only munch on ramen because I want to, not because I need to.

The next class for teens has an Italian theme and takes place on Sunday, Sept. 7, at 10am. Teens can tackle French cuisine on Sunday, Oct. 5, at 10am. Classes take place at the central store at 4001 N. Lamar, and tuition is $50 per class. For reservations, call 206-1014.

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