Recent surveys suggest that 78% of adults cook at home with over half of adults doing so to save money. With a tight economy and rising food prices, it is important to know how to cook healthfully on a budget.
The reason most people settle on cooking less healthful meals is that they often lack the knowledge of how to prepare healthy cuisine in a fast, tasty, economical manner. By offering cooking classes, you are helping people to eat better, save money, and get creative.
It’s important to begin by teaching the basic cooking skills first. Never assume that your class knows the functions of an oven, stove, or other piece of equipment as many may not have used them. By making sure that everyone understands concepts like how to cut vegetables, boiling water, measuring ingredients, and setting kitchen components at the correct temperatures, you can ensure that everyone is working from the same base line to prevent safety hazards.
Kitchens can be a hazardous place because they contain sharp pointed objects, an open heat source, a variety of electrical outlets, and the constant presence of water. Your goal should always be to equip your participants on how to cook not only quickly but safely to prevent burns, fires, or unnecessary cuts.
Each lesson can be themed a variety of different ways depending on the needs of your community. Typically, it’s best to start by to teach classes basic cooking skills, such as baking, broiling, chopping, and mixing. Once these skills are in place you might want to focus on teaching a particular type of cuisine such as Italian, Asian, Mexican, and French.
Don’t forget that vegetarian, low-calorie, and vegan cooking are often popular skills that are less known and can therefore attract a larger audience. If you teach a new dish each class, by then end of the course students will know how to cook an entire meal (salad, entre, sides, and dessert) and present it in a pleasing fashion.
Where you hold your cooking classes, location will determine the types of cooking techniques you can demonstrate. See if you know anyone with access to a large kitchen with clear visible access to areas where the demonstrations will take place. If you cannot find an area suitable for cooking, you might be able to adapt by using a classroom with a large table to hold the demonstrations. Be sure that you have pictures for anything that cannot be performed in the class space.
It also helps to bring in props and examples from your own kitchen so participants can see the final product. At the close of the lesson provide the proper recipes so students can try cooking the dish for homework and bring it to the next lesson for everyone to try. Each participant will learn at different paces and practical experience will help you make sure people are retaining the lessons.
Some helpful links include:
Busy Cooks– A listing of cooking class articles and ideas.
Cooking Resources for Kids – USDA information helpful for kids’ nutrition and learning.
All Recipes.com – Great resource for recipes based on cuisine types with helpful hints.