The “BenGusto™ Buddy Cooking Class” Begins

Last Thursday the first ever BenGusto™ Buddy Cooking Class, a cooking class designed for buddies from the South Lakes High School (SLHS) Best Buddies Club, took place in dashing fashion. The first class was on making homemade pasta by hand, and it proved to be a hit; everyone really enjoyed trying out different pasta shapes. In fact, we were so good at making pasta that the BenGusto™ Buddy Cooking Class will be demonstrating how to make homemade pasta at the IB Iron Chef competition, a student run cooking competition at South Lakes High School, on March 7 from 5:00 – 7:00 in the afternoon (hint hint… that was a plug–it’s open to the public and costs a nominal fee to attend).

Making pasta with Halle.

Making pasta with Halle.

(from left to right) CJ, Elizabeth, and Patrick at the first BenGusto™ cooking class.

(from left to right) CJ, Elizabeth, and Patrick at the first BenGusto™ cooking class.

Penny and Marcus

Marcus and Penny

 

Anyway, enough about the future. Let’s talk about the class! All of the buddies, including our beloved Best Buddies director, Mrs. Crawford, who took the fabulous photos in this article, arrived to the BenGusto™ American testing kitchen (aka my house) around 5:15. Once all eleven of us suited up in our snazzy aprons, we commenced the lesson with the making of the pasta nest. We each took turns cracking eggs into the four nest, and I have to add that CJ, a buddy, was a pro at cracking the eggs. Next, we went over forming the pasta dough into a ball, and the technique to kneading the dough.

Halle forms the nest of flour to make the pasta dough.

Halle forms the nest of flour to make the pasta dough.

Once the dough was set and ready, we prepared the pasta sauce. Elizabeth did a great job of washing and preparing the basil, and peer buddies Andrew and Penny tackled the laborious task of slicing each cherry tomato in half.

Elizabeth prepares the basil.

Elizabeth prepares the basil.

Angie (peer buddy), Marcus, and Halle pick the basil leaves.

Marcus, Halle, and Anje pick the basil leaves.

With the help of Chef Marcus and Chef Patrick, we went over how to saute garlic in oil. After adding the tomatoes and basil, we simmered down our mixture into a fine sauce, and, after multiple taste tests all around, added the perfect amount of salt.

Marcus stirs the garlic in oil.

Marcus stirs the garlic in oil.

We finished the sauce!

We finished the sauce!

Once the sauce was done, we arrived to the fun part: making pasta shapes by hand. We tackled how to make fusilli bucati, ziti, rotini, trofie, orecchiette (everyone really loved “the pasta that looks like ears”), and farfalle (“bow ties” were another favorite).

Andrew (peer buddy) bows down to the beautiful pasta shapes he helped make.

Andrew bows down to the beautiful pasta shapes he helped make.

Once our pasta was cooked, we plated our pasta. With a sprinkle of parmigiano reggiano and a dash of green basil oil, everyone had a pasta dish of a restaurant level. The pasta was well worth the effort as soon as the first bite was taken. A terrific ending to a splendid first class!

Elizabeth enjoys her pasta.

Elizabeth enjoys her pasta.

BenGusto™ Buddy Cooking Classes will take place once a month in the kitchen, and I am looking to get the group together to go out and get some experience in the outside gastronomical world as well (for example, cooking with a real restaurant chef or visiting a farm). In the future, these posts on the lessons and buddy outings will include video, so everyone can share what we learned in class.

Patrick, Halle, and Kelly.

Patrick, Kelly, and Halle

The “Best Buddies” program is a fantastic way to bring together disabled and abled students alike (buddies and peer buddies) to work together and experience fun adventures. The BenGusto™ Buddy Cooking Class was developed for the purpose of engaging the members of SLHS Best Buddies Club in the world of gastronomy and presenting cooking as an art. The nonprofit 501(c)(3) “Best Buddies International” is not, however, affiliated with BenGusto™, LLC.

 

13 responses on “The “BenGusto™ Buddy Cooking Class” Begins

  1. Once again Ben, you have stretched your talent another notch. And what a great gift to the young “Buddies”. Their joy and satisfaction was easy to see. Wish we could be there to see your/their Demonstration in March. Hope the place is packed!!

  2. Brilliant stuff Ben. It’s always a joy to see someone share a gift they have worked hard to cultivate. The big grins on your Buddies faces shows how much it means to them! You should be very proud :)

    • Thank you very much! The big grins are indeed what I work for. I love your blog, by the way! Your pieces on George Orwell (a popular subject in my english class) provide me with inspiration.

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