Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Cooking classes to be offered in Algonquin Dining Hall

Plattsburgh State’s Algonquin dining hall will open its kitchen once a month each semester to hold a free, hands on cooking class for students taught by Chartwells chef Craig Bourne.

Behind the carwash-like tentacles of the dishwashing conveyor belt in Algonquin dining hall is the kitchen where the classes, which focus on practical and basic kitchen knowledge, will take place. Students can enter through Little Al’s. The first class is Sept. 27.

“We try to keep it really basic, so we cook food that you can make in a dorm kitchen or in your apartment,” Chartwell’s Marketing Manager, Amy Rascoe, said. Chartwell’s, which these classes are run by, is a food service company that operates through the College Auxiliary Services and provides all of campus with meals and catering.

“We teach [them] handy things like how to make bechamel, which is a base white sauce used for things like alfredo sauce,” Rascoe said. She also states every class will begin with a knife safety refresher, to ensure everyone keeps their fingertips.

In the past, recipes for cobblers, lasagna, dim sum and even pizza have been taught at these monthly classes.

As classes extend into the chilly fall season, rascoe states the dishes may become “seasonal” and focus on creating foods such as pies, pastries and soups.

“I know grown people who don’t know how to make a soup,” Rascoe said.

Briana Noto, a junior nursing student from Long Island, lives off campus.

“As a college student right now off campus, I don’t really know how to cook much,” Noto said, “I think a cooking class would really help teach me at least one or two things I can make while I’m here.”

Attendees will be supplied with an apron.

To attend the fall cooking courses, students must R.S.V.P. to Rascoe via email. Reminders are sent through the student digest.

The classes will be taught by PSUC’s newly hired chef, Craig Bourne. Bourne helps to create the menu for campus dining areas and oversees and manages food service employees.

“He’s like the conductor of an entire band,” Rascoe said.

Bourne made an appearance this Tuesday at noon in the ACC with a kitchen pop-up demonstration. Bourne instructed, from a miniature mock kitchen, on how to make mango kiwi salsa. Rascoe states these kitchen pop-ups will return monthly. The next one is Oct. 15.

Rascoe and chef Bourne have made a tentative menu for the class, with a few items such as a vegetable alfredo lasagna and salmon papillote, a dish that involves salmon surrounded by vegetables baked in a bag.

“It cooks in its own steam and the flavors meld together,” Rascoe said.

Rascoe states the goal of this class is to leave students with beginner skills in creating different foods from scratch.

Noto said she wouldn’t mind having a few dinner and dessert recipes under her belt.

“I’ve already run out of options!” she laughed.

Other class dates after Sept. 27 are Oct. 25, Nov. 29 and Dec. 13.

Rascoe emphasizes the relaxed and fun nature of the classes.

“It’s a good experience to learn cooking skills,” Rascoe said. “It’s a great time too. We’ve had groups of four or five friends come in and do it together.”

Email Sage Lewandowski at

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