An ambitious lesson plan featuring a variety of grains, pastas, legumes, stocks, and sauces was presented to Empower L.A. students during Week 3 of the program.
And while any other class of students may have faltered with the intimidation of such a vast agenda, Empower L.A. Class Four students rose admirably to the challenge, continuing to impress everyone here at L.A. Kitchen with their enthusiasm and excitement.
On Wednesday, we welcomed into our kitchen Executive Chef Kajsa Alger from Susan Feniger’s restaurant Mudhen Tavern. Chef Kajsa delivered a riveting guest chef lesson, during which she taught students how to assemble a beautiful and creative dish featuring walnut chorizo tostadas, refried beans, avocado salsa, and fresh cheese.
Legendary L.A. Times food columnist Russ Parsons toured the kitchen, attended Guest Chef Kajsa’s engaging lesson, and spoke with several of the most integral members of the L.A. Kitchen team in order to share with readers the inside scoop on L.A. Kitchen’s work in the community. (Read Mr. Parson’s article here: “How L.A. Kitchen does it all, from fighting food waste to training workers and feeding seniors”)
Week 4 transported students to the far-off tastes of Ethiopia, the Middle East, and Mexico. Students were pushed outside their comfort zones as they learned how to cook and prepare exotic dishes that many of them had never even heard of, let alone tasted.
We kicked off our module on ethnic and vegetarian cuisine with an Ethiopian lunch lesson led by Lead Chef Instructor Carrie Hildebrand. With Chef Carrie’s assistance, chef advocate trainees created a series of vibrant and colorful dishes, including Ethiopian lentils and collard greens (misrwat and gomenwat), braised cabbage, potatoes, and carrots (atakilt wat), and vegetable sambusas with cilantro chutney.
An assortment of Middle Eastern delicacies sent our taste buds humming mid-week, and our world travels concluded with a dip into Mexican cuisine on Friday.
We invited Heirloom L.A. founders Matt Poley and Tara Maxey into the kitchen for our Week 4 Guest Chef presentation. During an interesting and informative lesson, Executive Chef Matt taught students how to create a beautiful tartine dish using fresh garlic bread, saffron bechamel sauce, sweet and sour onions, and melted cheese. (Check out Heirloom L.A.’s blog post on their L.A. Kitchen experience!)