Story & Photos by Joshua Cantu/COMM 2311
South Plains College has something cooking over in its Lubbock Career and Technical Center.
That something is the list of new summer Culinary Community classes. It’s schedule is to be released in the beginning of May. Program officials suggest that people sign up quickly because the classes have become so popular.
On March 4 about 20 amateur chefs gathered in the SPC culinary arts kitchen for one of this semester’s classes, Students were there to learn how to make “Mediterranean Market Cuisine”.
SPC chef Natalie Osuna says the aim of the class was to show how to make Mediterranean street food.
“We will be making a scratch made pita bread,” she says. “We’ll be making a Mediterranean marinate with our vegetables and chicken. We’re going to put on kebabs and grill those off also pairing that with a Tazeekee sauce, which is from Greece. That’s a yogurt-based sauce with nice fresh herbs and cucumber. We’re going to be making puff pastry with a spinach base and cheese filling.”
Osuna says the class is designed to give students a fun experience in a loose environment.
“Really, it’s three hands on recipes that we will go overstep by step with our guests,” she says. “It’s really a fun experience for everyone.”
Osuna, herself a former SPC student, is now the program coordinator for Culinary Arts at SPC. She says there are six Culinary Community Classes being offered this semester. All spring classes, she says, are full.
“So, we started these community classes the second year we opened this culinary facility,” Osuna says. “The first year was just getting things in place, writing the curriculum, and designing the facility. Once things were up and running with students, we found that it would be great to publicize the program by hosting community classes. So, the thought was if we brought people in it would showcase our facilities and our program and our enrollment would increase and that was the goal.”
This Mediterranean Market Cuisine class began at 10 on Saturday morning. Once the students don their aprons, they’re ready to go. “Typically,” Osuna says, “with the community classes they’re on a Saturday and they’re two hours long.”
Osuna says preparation for a Saturday morning class begins on Friday morning. She says the typical class size is 16 students so 16 prep stations need to be ready to go.
“It’s a lot of prep behind the scenes in the culinary world,” Osuna says. “There’s a lot of work there. But we’re fortunate that we’re a team of chefs and then our students that need extra credit, they come in and they help us as well.”
Two culinary arts students, Kaitlin Coile and Cassandra Gonzales, volunteered to help with this class.
“I like learning new things step by step and I think that they are good at explaining things like even the science behind it,” Gonzales says.
Would either student recommend taking a Culinary Community Class? Both say “Yes!”.
“I think there is just a good variety of things they teach so there’s a class for everyone if they’re interested,” Coile says.
The next two classes in the spring lineup are aimed for younger chefs. “Junior Chef-Sweets” will happen on Saturday, April 15 and again on Saturday, April 22.
Sadly, both classes are already full. But not to worry. Osuna says the plan is to offer 11 Culinary Community Classes this summer.
The trick about registering, Osuna says, is to do it as soon as the class listings are posted. That’s because these classes have become so
“It’s our goal to post them probably before graduation, which is May 12 so probably earlier in that week, we’ll have those posted on the SPC website,” Osuna says.
She explains you can find the summer class listings by going to SPC’s main website and then clicking on “continuing education”. Search there for culinary arts. She also says the SPC Culinary Arts Facebook page has a posting of classes with a link that you can follow to purchase a seat.
According to Chef Osuna, the average cost of attending one of the classes is 45 dollars which includes all the supplies plus a meal.