Chef Thu Ha Dinh and her eclectic team at fuAsian merge flavors from a variety of Asian cuisines. Whether they're helming a cooking class or whipping up well-crafted meals for diners or catered events, the chefs use handpicked natural ingredients, creating dishes that ooze earth-culled goodness and each write polite thank-you notes to the ozone layer.
From the outside, the nonprofit, 100% volunteer-run Kids Cooking Corner has the whimsical appearance of a fairy-tale cottage, its white siding accented by baby-blue paint and surrounded by fresh flowers and topiaries. The interior of the century-old house is equally exciting to youngsters, though not because of a prince or fairy godmother willing to do all of the heavy lifting. Children work hard at The Kids Cooking Corner, but the work is disguised in fun and rewarded with tasty snacks. Instructors warmly welcome foster children and children with special needs into their classrooms.
Helmed by chef, health enthusiast, and mother of three Heidi O'Connor, the volunteers at The Kids Cooking Corner strive to educate whippersnappers on nutrition, food safety, and food prep, often helping picky eaters try new foods along the way. Instructors incorporate math, science, and reading into curricula, teaching real-world applications for kids' school-sourced skills. Children definitely get their hands dirty, however: in spring and summer, they spend time in The Kids Cooking Corner garden, getting firsthand experience working with ingredients from seed to plate. Brightly painted walls, a playful party room, and a fully stocked kitchen provide a safe, exciting environment for kids to get crafty with edibles during each class, as well as during summer camps, parties, and peaceful games of food baseball.
Quail Run Creamery's co-owner, Scott "Dominic" Catino, draws on experience crafting soft cheeses and pampering the sustainable farm's bleating denizens to teach interactive classes to groups of up to 20 people. Sessions kick off with a tour of the dairy, which lets students learn how artisans prepare creamy delights and dispels conspiracy theories about Superman's role in the process. After a presentation on the history of cheeses, which is peppered with intriguing facts and trivia, tongues quiver in anticipation of a cheese plate. Coupled with tastings of Oregon wines, the platter parades seven different classifications of cheese that run the gamut from soft and mild to hard, complex, and brooding.
Ghanaian cuisine leans heavily on a sauce combining peppers, onions, ginger, oil, tomatoes, and shrimp. The pepper and ginger slice through the gentle acidity of tomatoes and the sweetness of shrimp, complementing both meat and vegetable dishes. The cooks behind Delight of Africa started out making batches as a favor to friends and family. Today, they still follow a recipe for the sauce handed down from their grandparents, using only fresh ingredients and never adding preservatives or food coloring. They also hold cooking lessons, teaching groups to re-create traditional West African recipes and broaden their horizons without the dangers of touching a spinning globe.
When party planners enlist the services of Chef Ron, they begin a working dialogue to reach a collaborative and personalized game plan for their occasion. If the host is short on ideas, an elegant list of menu options can quickly be whipped up. With a plan in place, Chef Ron will execute it with the precision of a diamond-tip paring knife, slicing down the aisles of the finest grocer in pursuit of the freshest ingredients.
Spice of Africa enriches patrons with a one-of-a-kind cultural experience, coupling African food-prep techniques with rich culinary customs. The three-hour courses, taught by an Ethiopian and a Kenyan instructor, turn fresh ingredients into savory meals as mouths are transported to East Africa and hands are transmogrified into adroit chefing appendages. Each class is supplemented with information about the mealtime customs as well as the cultural context of the cuisine. The Kenyan class utilizes different flavors and spices prevalent in Kenyan food such as curry powders and flatbreads to shake drowsy taste buds awake, while the Ethiopian course and its spicy fare pry open palates to the gastronomic wonderland of East Africa. Craft traditional staples such as Kenyan chapati, Ethiopian injera bread, and thick meaty stews.