An International Culinary Experience at Southwest Tech Community Class
By Rachelle Hughes
Iron County Today
CEDAR CITY–My hands were smudged black after roasting, peeling and julienning red and green peppers at Southwest Tech’s community culinary class, A Taste of Spain, Tapas, this month. But it was a good, delicious hands-on lesson.
I have never roasted a pepper before. It always seemed too labor intensive, too messy, too scary to roast a pepper right over the flame of a gas stove. Turns out it is easy, even if it is a little messy to peel, and it just requires some tips from a good chef and teacher. Chef Instructor Tory Robinson, mixed demonstration, with hands on learning and instruction during the two-hour cooking and tasting class with Southwest Tech.
Southwest Tech offers a variety of community classes, including culinary classes. The technical college does offer a 10-month culinary program as part of its certificate programs. However, they open their kitchens for these two-hour community classes that cover basics like pastry, grilling, pasta making, and Tapas. The courses are offered by the school’s chefs and allow students to follow a recipe and get a hands-on experience with the techniques taught by the instructor.
The Taste of Spain, Tapas class was shown and asked to make a simple Piperade recipe, but Le Cordon Bleu trained chef Robinson, was not stingy with teaching techniques that improve your efficiency and cooking in the kitchen. For example, I now know to tell when paprika “blooms” in the pot and the best and fastest way to mince or julienne an onion. I will never haphazardly chop my onions again.
In addition to actually cooking in a wonderful kitchen with all your ingredients and tools on hand, the class offered a wealth of knowledge on the hot food trend tapas. This food trend that originated in Spain refers to a small dish of something edible. It may be a smaller version of a large entree or just an a la carte style dish.
As our Piperade sauces full of roasted peppers, onions, tomatoes and “blooming paprika” simmered on the stoves, the Southwest Tech cooks laid out a tapas feast of around 10 different tapas dishes for the students to try. The spread included a finished Piperade tapas for each of us along with delicious bites of olive oil cakes with raspberry compote, arancini, Southwest Tech’s own cured bacon and prosciutto, marinated olives and so much more. We did not leave hungry and our taste buds also received an education. We may have only made one dish but many of us left with a desire to learn how to make more Spain inspired Tapas dishes.
Community cooking classes at Southwest Tech cost $25 and are held on Thursdays at 5 p.m. Upcoming classes include Grilling 101, Homemade Pasta and The Perfect Steak. Visit Stech.edu to register for classes.