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Adult Programming: How to Have Cooking Demos Without Cooking

by on March 26, 2018

How can you have a cooking class without cooking in the library? Easy. There are many options that you can do that involves food prep without heat. For example, appetizers, salads, wraps, popsicles, and smoothies can be a lot of fun. Leftovers is also an easy class that provides smart ways to transform your already made ingredients into a whole new dinner.

Make sure your “kitchen” has the necessary tools for a successful class: measuring cups and spoons, bowls-small and large, sharp knife, cutting board, spoons, forks, plates, napkins, cups, wax paper, baggies, and towels. Any small appliances you may need like a blender, food processor, grill press or slow cooker you can find at almost any thrift store for a fraction of what a new one would cost. Remember, you aren’t going to be using them daily like at home.

Somethings will need to be prepared for class. Make sure everything is chopped, peeled and ready to use so you don’t have to waste time during class. Have everything, as the chefs on the FoodNetwork say, mis en place (in it’s place).

A lot of items I usually just bring from my home kitchen because buying even a small jar of mayo can be wasteful if you only need a few tablespoons for a recipe. Buying non perishable items, however, can be worth it, especially when you have classes on a regular basis. These items include olive oil, salt and pepper, vinegar and other spices. You’ll be able to plan other classes around items you already have on hand.

Sometimes buying packaged food can be costly, check with the deli if they have any sales going on that you can take advantage of and plan your class around. You don’t need to advertise precisely what you plan to make, but rather list your theme and create your menu around the ingredients you can get. And you don’t have to make three course meals. A smaller scale version of your menu is fine, because people aren’t going to be eating plates of food, but they will want a taste. Talk to your local grocer and ask if they would be willing to donate a small amount from the deli to your class in exchange for a free advertisement with your patrons.

Always have some recipe books on hand, too, for your patrons to checkout.

And always encourage tasting. My tag line is: Come Hungry. Tasting is Mandatory.


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2 comments

  1. Sara says:

    Mar 27, 2018

    Is there an example of a class that you have done? I’ve been thinking about doing a cooking class, but have no heat. So would like examples if you have any!

  2. Sarah G. says:

    Mar 28, 2018

    This is a great idea if your Health Department or other governmental overseeing body does not require you to have a license in order to provide food. Our County is not allow to mix anything (ex: lettuce and carrots mixed to make a salad outside a restaurant or caterer’s kitchen) and offer it to customers. Make sure you check city/ county/ state ordinances before offering food prep demos or allowing tastings – penalties can be tough!

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