Sharpen Your Cooking Skills in Newport!

February 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

Jake Rojas, Mary Weaver, and Dave

Jake Rojas, Mary Weaver, and Dave

Looking for a fun night out surrounded by like-minded foodies?  Check out Newport Cooks!

I’ve personally attended four Newport Cooks classes and not only have I had a blast at each one, but I’ve definitely left with a few great take-aways for my kitchen.  A few weeks ago, I interviewed Mary Weaver, owner of Newport Cooks. Here is my interview (paraphrased) with her along with some of my own commentary.

Mary’s career background is both impressive and diverse, and her role as founder of Newport Cooks has brought her back full circle.  With a degree in Hospitality Management, her first job out of college was working as a special events coordinator at Virginia Tech.  She also started an education-based Wine Club at Va Tech and a 3-day Virginia Wine Symposium attended by Virginia’s most prominent winemakers.  She describes herself as an organizer and visionary who brings people together.  And, by the way, Mary also holds a Certificate in Interior Designer from RISD, and she works on special projects for local businesses such as Castle Hill Inn.  Oh yeah, and she also owned and operated a B&B in Bristol, RI at one time too.

As mentioned, I’ve participated in four NC! classes: twice with my favorite chef, Jake Rojas of Tallulah on Thames; one sous-vide class with chef Richard Allaire; and a very cool summer class where we shopped the Aquidneck Island Farmer’s Market, then prepared our meal with local produce.  Penny Whiting taught the farmer’s market class, which became all the more exciting to me when I learned that she had a role in the original Endless Summer, and has been knighted!

Lynn: What was the vision you had when creating Newport Cooks?

Mary: The vision has evolved over the past few years.  My intention has always been to offer up the talents of our amazing local and regional chefs to the general public, giving chefs the opportunity to share their skills with people who wish to further their culinary knowledge.  I think of it as providing sustenance for a community of like-minded foodies, in addition to supporting local small businesses.

L: What types of teachers can participants expect to learn from at Newport Cooks?

M: We feature professional chefs and instructors from the finest local and regional restaurants.  Also, Newport’s rich yachting industry provides excellent private & personal chefs qualified at a highly sophisticated level.  Yacht chefs bring resourcefulness and creativity to their classes partly as a result of dealing with the challenges that working aboard yachts presents.

L: What kind of experience can students expect?

M: Whether they are a seasoned home chef or a brand new cook, they’ll leave inspired and take home that nugget of gold that will enhance their cooking. I love the feedback I get from inspired students: emails that detail a recent dinner party that they threw for friends, Facebook photos of new foods they’ve prepared, and comments that they are experimenting with new and different foods.  Even my cooking skills have expanded tremendously over the past few years learning from local chefs.

L: What are some quick details about the classes?

M: There are typically 10-15 students per class and never more than 20 so you really get that one-on-one time with the chef in addition to learning from each other.  Participants get hands-on experience and have the opportunity to taste all of their creations. All levels are welcome; I even have other chefs attend classes if they are interested in learning about a particular style of cooking that they don’t specialize in.  We offer a variety of classes; our most popular ones are the well-known local chefs such as Jake Rojas from Tallulah on Thames.  People want to get inside the chefs’ head and really understand their thought processes in creating meals.  The chefs really get the opportunity to showcase their creativity and knowledge.  Classes are casual, comfortable, educational, and fun. NC! also offers private parties where the chef will come right to your home, or host in the NC! kitchen.   We offer about 4-8 classes per month in addition to the private classes, which are great for milestone events like bachelorette parties and birthdays.

Newport Cooks! offers themed class such as Thai, Sushi, Italian, bread-making, pressure cooking, sous-vide, cooking the perfect egg, and the list goes on.

Treat yourself to one of NC!’s classes for the love of food, sharing, and learning!

Note: To learn more about Newport Cooks! go to their Facebook Page and/or email to get added to their monthly EnewsCalendar listing of upcoming classes.




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