The Nashua Senior Activity Center is going Italian with a special cooking class on Monday, Jan. 9, that’s open to the general public. A chef from Courville Communities assisted living facilities will give participants an interactive tutorial on how to make Italian bread salad and tiramisu.
The class is part of “Cooking with the Courville Chefs,” an educational series put on by the Nashua Senior Activity Center in partnership with Courville Communities. The series has been running monthly on and off for the past few years but has only recently become available to nonmembers.
“We’re trying to get back on track with [the series] and make sure people know that we’ve opened it up to the community,” said Courville Communities Marketing Director Wendy Sage-Matsis. “One of our best selling points is our food and dining experience, so this is a great opportunity for people who aren’t [members] to interact with our amazing chefs and learn something that they can take away with them.”
The instructor for January’s Italian-themed class will be Rejean Sheehy, an award-winning chef who has been on staff at Courville Communities for nearly 30 years, starting on the kitchen utility line as a teenager and working his way up to his current position as the nutritional services director.
The class will run around an hour and a half long and is designed to be simple enough to engage home cooks of all experience levels. It will take place in the common room, where Sheehy will do the cooking demonstration at a wide table using portable tabletop burners and other such equipment that doesn’t require the use of a full kitchen.
Participants will have the freedom to walk up to the table to more closely observe the demonstration, and to carry on an open dialogue with Sheehy throughout the class. There may even be some opportunities for hands-on activity.
“People can ask any questions they have, like, ‘What can we substitute for this ingredient?’ or ‘Can you show me how you’re cutting that?’ and depending on what [dish] is being prepared [the instructor] might pass around vegetables that need to be peeled or things like that,” Sage-Matsis said. “It’s one of those things that you don’t realize how much fun it can be until once you’re there.”
Participants will also have the chance to try samples of the featured dishes and will be given recipes to take home so they can try making the dishes on their own.
Each class in the “Cooking with the Courville Chefs” series is centered around a different topic. Sage-Matsis said that next month’s class, happening Monday, Feb. 13, will feature recipes with chocolate in the spirit of Valentine’s Day.
“We’re firm believers in the fact that life revolves around the kitchen table. … Food is a big part of the experience,” she said. “Knowing how interested [the senior community] is about the whole world of cooking, we’re happy to be able to offer a program that isn’t just about insurance or how to avoid falls, but is about something fun that people are interested in.”