Virtual Wine Dinner Cooking Class
By Maya Serna
During the pandemic, a lot of students have found it more difficult to stay connected to college life and other students. Tri-C has been continuing different outreach programs this fall such as student success week, workshops, and different speaker events. One of the most dynamic events offered to students was the Virtual Wine Dinner Cooking Class. Students could register for free online, and then would be sent a list of ingredients and kitchen utensils to have on hand for the class. The event was hosted by the Tri-C Hospitality Management Center on November 12th from 6-7:30pm. The timing was right before the holidays, giving people the nice opportunity to learn how to cook a new meal for their families and friends.
The culinary and hospitality students taught the class with Chef Ky-wai Wong overlooking everything. The hosts spoke a little bit about the culinary program and answered some questions from attendees. They started out with making a cute DIY candle centerpiece that can be used in all different seasons. There were a few technical difficulties, but people seemed to be having fun. There were about 45 participants in the class, but many participants had some friends and family cooking along with them. Stephanie Howse, the State Representative of District 11 even attended.
Participants followed along using recipes that were sent out in advance in a helpful packet. I had a good time putting my own spin on the crisp apple dessert, making it vegan and sugar free for my mom, who has lots of dietary restrictions. Throughout the class, the students shared a few different pieces of culinary advice that they learned at school with the participants. The people who had their cameras on seemed to be doing pretty well with the recipes. The students teaching the class were cooking at the Tri-C Hospitality Management Center downtown, but they practiced social distancing and wore masks the entire time to protect each other.
Participants were all muted, but several people used the messaging feature in WebEx to chat a little. A couple participants said it was “So great to see so many people here!” and “You guys are doing great, [the cooking class] is so much fun!” Another person commented that they enjoyed learning a new way to cook meat and vegetables. Someone else said “Looks better than any restaurant!” and “Wonderfully done, what a great event!” A few other participants even began to share some of their own cooking advice with others.
It was the perfect pandemic activity, keeping people entertained and learning new things. I think it brightened everyone’s day a little and all of the feedback seemed to be positive. Events and activities like this cooking class are so important in helping students stay motivated and engaged especially during these stressful times. Food is not only something that sustains us, it is something that brings people together and creates community, which is something that we could all use a little of right now.