Photo courtesy of the OWU Residential Life Instagram.
Residential life coordinators and AVI chefs at Ohio Wesleyan University are working to build kitchen knowledge and confidence in students through cooking classes.
The classes, called Casually Cooking, allow residents to cook and gain hands-on experience in the kitchen.
The program started in the spring of 2022, and the sessions occur about once a month. It was originally designed for students in the senior apartments, however, this year they decided to include underclassmen as well.
The sessions are taught by AVI chefs. Students gather at the communal kitchen in Smith Hall to learn how to make various recipes. Dishes students have made include sugar cookies, rice bowls, and southern-inspired foods.
Meredith Bryant, an OWU freshman, went to the sugar cookie session in December.
“I had a lot of fun,” Bryant said. “I love baking, so this session was right up my alley.”
Freshman Gabby Gonzalez-Duarte went to the rice bowl session in January. The students made Japanese rice bowls, chana masala, and chicken tikka masala.
“They showed us how to measure and the best way to do it,” Gonzalez-Duarte said. “They taught us how to make the dishes and gave us the recipe to take home after.”
Residential life coordinators, like Angel Tyler, help set up the sessions and plan what the students are going to make.
“Students can learn different recipes and techniques depending on the session,” said Tyler. “Each session focuses on a different recipe so [they] usually learn something new while building on things [they’ve] learned.”
AVI chefs handle the logistics for the day, such as prepping the food if necessary, preparing materials to be used in the demonstration including plates, silverware, and serving utensils.
“What I really appreciate is that the chefs that have led the sessions are always willing to answer any questions and add personal preferences on how to prepare certain foods or dishes,” Tyler said.