Cooking Class Success: Learn the Ins & Outs
Cooking classes are great venues to reach our clients through their bellies. Through cooking classes, we can provide our clients with actual skills that can be replicated at home so the client is empowered. What better way to combine our knowledge with our culinary skills? In this 2-part series, we’ll first learn the ins & outs of cooking classes.
How to set up a successful cooking class:
#1. Be Prepared. “Start with first picking the menu. From the menu, you will produce the recipes, the grocery list, and the equipment list. From the recipes, you will ‘stage’ the class, determining what you prepare in advance, what is done during the class and what the class will prepare,” informs Lynn Dugan, MS, RD, founder of Myplate2yours, Inc. and a dedicated nutrition and health advocate for active people.
#2. Practice, Practice, Practice. Make the recipe at least once before so you are familiar with it and know how it looks. Also practice your delivery and talking points, recommends Eric C. Sharer, MPH, RD, LDN, nutrition and culinary expert from Sharing Nutrition and nutrition advisor for The Vegetarian Resource Group.
#3. Know Your Audience. By having a needs assessment, you will know how to relate to your audience and be applicable, explains Jenn Randazzo, MS, RD, LD, founder of NOURISH, a St. Louis-based wellness company that encourages healthy eating by providing nutrition-based education through a culinary-focused experience. Dugan also stresses the importance of determining audience expectations and needs so that you provide what the audience wants. Do they need meals for busy professionals or meals for entire families?
#4. Set The Stage. Sharer reports keeping the area around the cutting board clear so students can see what the teacher is doing and they don’t cut themselves from having too many items in the way. Sharer also emphasizes to have all ingredients prepped and ready to go in bowls so that the flow of the presentation is smooth and all participants have their necessary products easily available.
#5. Be Interactive. Hands-on experience is important to involve the class while increasing participation and the interest of the people advises Randazzo.
Watch out for these potential downfalls:
#1. Not knowing what utensils/appliances are available. Dugan and Randazzo both told the importance of knowing what appliances are available. If you need to bake something, make sure there is an oven.
#2. Not having enough food. Everyone loves to eat and if someone doesn’t get their share, things can go sour. Make sure to bring a little extra food, notifies Randazzo.
#3. Food Safety. Sometimes people cut themselves or fires occur. Know where the first aid kit, baking soda, towels, and fire extinguishers are, informs Sharer.
So what are the main reasons to go out and start teaching cooking classes?
Inspiration! Dugan enlightens, “I am inspired by experiencing the connection attendees make when healthy eating becomes a reality with food that tastes good and is easy to prepare.”
Fulfillment! Randazzo describes her fulfillment “when people have a good experience while cooking. That’s the true reward.”
New Opportunities! Sharer expresses his reward when “people get excited and want to come back. Cooking classes open a new window for nutrition education by getting people excited while having a fun time.”
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the cooking series on food demos.