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Cooking class offered to students tonight

Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014

Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014 03:02

Tufts Dining Services and Balance Your Life (BYL) Tufts will host a healthy cooking class for students this evening in the Hodgdon kitchen. This will be the second class the duo has hosted together.

The menu consists of a three-course meal, including roasted tomato soup, a chicken piccata, a wild rice pilaf and bruschetta, according to Tufts Nutrition Marketing Specialist Julie Lampie.

“We’re trying to give them nutrition education, not just teach them to make something delicious,” Lampie’s intern Linda Yung, a graduate student at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, said. “A lot of it is making simple recipes that they can make in the dorm or off-campus, with easy-to-use ingredients and things that they would normally eat.”

Today’s cooking class is targeted toward those looking to meet dietary requirements in meals, Health Educator and Prevention Specialist Beth Farrow said.

“Students are going to the dining hall and making snacks in their rooms, but how can you make sure that you’re eating healthy, are budget-conscious [and] are making foods that are accessible with the things you have in your room?” Farrow said. “We want to help students bridge that gap in their nutrition throughout the day with simple recipes that are easily accessible, made from stuff that you can walk locally to the grocery store and get.”

Twelve students will participate in the class to enable a hands-on cooking experience, Lampie said.

“We think that the meal we’re preparing is very replicable to students and not too costly, but gourmet enough that you would be able to prepare it for family and friends,” she said. 

Tufts pantry chef Maria Goretti Cordeiro, who will be teaching the class this evening, is particularly adept at relating to college-age students, according to Patti Klos, director of Tufts Dining and Business Services.

“She’s really comfortable with students and really enjoys interacting with them to make foods that are more easily replicated at home,” Klos said.

BYL was established a few years ago to encourage students to adapt more healthy lifestyles, through more physical activity and a healthier diet, according to Farrow.

“We’re trying to support the average student to eat a little better, move a little more,” she said.

BYL cooking classes not only teach nutrition and cooking, but also focus on kitchen skills, such as food-safety, what supplies are needed in the kitchen and preventing cross-contamination, according to Yung.

“I think that BYL is doing wonderful things, particularly where it relates to encouraging students to eat healthy and be able to prepare foods themselves, either because they choose to or they feel the need to or to be able to have a deeper appreciation for food,” Klos said.

There are plans for two more cooking classes: one in late March that focuses on making one-pot meals and quick snacks, and another in April, according to Yung. Both classes will be geared toward off-campus students. 

“There [is] a whole group of students who live off-campus, some of whom haven’t even cooked before,” Yung said. “We want to teach them some of the basics about maintaining nutrition, and just about reading nutrition labels and picking healthier foods.”

Tufts Dining has, in the past, aligned with other groups to provide cooking classes, including partnering several times with the Tufts Culinary Society (TCS) since TCS’ conception about five years ago, Lampie said. 

Despite kitchen space restraints, she hopes tonight’s event will be successful.

“We’re trying to hold two cooking classes a semester, but we’re really challenged for space because we don’t have a dedicated kitchen,” Lampie said. “This is the first time we’re utilizing a space in Hodgdon, and we hope it works well.”

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