By Grace Kleman
On Monday our group of 11 drove to Plate 108 in Greer, SC. Plate 108 is a cooking and entertainment establishment that offers cooking classes to all ages as well as private parties and special events. Chef Courtney, who led the group in our cooking class, prepared the menu for the three days that we would be there, making sure to include food from different cultures and made using different techniques. On the first day, the group prepared broccoli and cheddar soup, oven roasted chicken, Spanish rice, sautéed broccolini, and a delicious apple crisp! We learned about the difference between certain knives and the uses of the knives in a chef’s kitchen. We learned the proper way to hold a knife and special culinary terminology such as “sweating the vegetables” and “sautéing the vegetables.” After we prepared the food, we all sat around a big table and enjoyed the food, and we got to take the leftovers home!
On Tuesday, our group returned to Plate 108, where we cooked popular food in Asian culture. We made mandarin spinach salad with a toasted sesame vinaigrette, pork lo mein, spring rolls, and coconut jasmine rice with mango. We learned how to properly mince and dice vegetables and we learned how to make and fry a spring roll! Everyone had a lot of fun preparing the spring rolls, and we were all hoping that ours wouldn’t explode in the fryer! Everything was so delicious that everybody was fighting over who got to take the leftovers home!
On Wednesday, our last day at Plate 108, we prepared food that were popular in our culture, such as chicken and wild rice soup, hamburger sliders with a fantastic remoulade sauce, onion rings, and chewy brownies, which many students were looking forward to all week! That day, we learned the interesting fact that brownies were created by an accident. We also learned that one should not press down on a grilling hamburger as that releases the grease that the hamburger soaks up as it is cooking, which will lead to a slower cooking time. Many of the students had a blast plating their dishes, and claimed that there was an art to a perfect plate, which led to bragging about their plating skills!
On Thursday and Friday, everyone met in the teacher’s lounge at school to continue our cooking education. For both days, the students were given the choice of what we wanted to make. On Thursday, we chose to make chicken gnocchi soup, pizza, and strawberry shortcake! We made our own pizza dough, and everybody really enjoyed making their own personal pizza and decorating it with the toppings of their choice! Everything was so delicious that we even shared our creations with Mr. Baitsell, Mrs. Aiken and Mrs. Strange. Everybody really enjoyed it! While waiting for everything to cook, we all started a Netflix show together and almost everyone went home to continue the series! We all shared our favorite Netflix shows and enjoyed the amazingly delicious food.
On Friday, everyone decided on making brined chicken with vegetables, French onion soup, and poundcake! We put the chickens in a salt solution the day before (called brining) so ithey would be very tender and juicy the next day when we roasted them. All of us gathered around the table and started chopping all the vegetables and onions that we would need for the day, and almost everybody started crying because the onion smell was so overwhelming! Throughout the day, we learned many cooking tips and tricks from Dr. Duckett about the process of making a chicken and the French onion soup. The pound cake was a hit between everybody in the group, and almost all of us took some home with us! Throughout the entire week, everybody learned so much about cooking and we all had so much fun making new and exciting things with each other!