COOKING CLASSES IN ODESSA
New dinner ideas are always welcome, and they become even more valuable when they are accompanied by an explanation of the recipes and preparation tools needed to create sumptuous, tasty meals.
The BergHOFF Culinary Center in Odessa offers hands-on cooking classes for 10 (in five teams of two) to teach new planning, kitchen, serving and presentation techniques. Participants cook, eat and share stories. For two hours South Tampa chef Toni Haynes leads the class, which focuses on basic skills and some advanced preparation ideas. Haynes has taught cooking classes since 1978, and has owned and operated her own catering companies.
“First I read each recipe aloud and we discuss,” the chef said. “Then, whenever there is a technique to be learned or I want everyone to see that something should be this dark or this thick, we
all stop and see and learn.
“Among our most popular are the crepe classes – students go home having learned the skill of making crepes. And we have a glass of wine when the sharp knives are put away!”
The cooking classes, which run Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., are $45 per person and are held at the West Pasco location of BergHOFF International, a designer and manufacturer of kitchenware and tableware with locations in more than 50 countries around the world. Its Odessa showroom is the only location open to the public in the United States.
Menus are typically themed and can vary widely. For example, “Nicole’s Table” is based on a trip Chef Toni took to Antigua and features dishes such as plantain chips with sauce, grilled snapper with pineapple salsa, red beans and coconut rice, and coconut custard tarts, while a recent “Better with Beer” menu includes, well, lots of beer-infused recipes, from beer-braised chicken thighs to Wisconsin beer cheese meatballs and even a pretzel beer brittle for dessert.
BergHOFF Culinary Center, 2323 Merchant Ave., Odessa, 727-853-3373, icookalot.com. Store hours are weekdays 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.