Learn to be a chef, right here in Northeast Kansas City! Chef Christine Williams is the assistant administrator at Agape Grow Education Center, located in Beaumont Baptist Church at 8319 Independence Ave., and teaches all ages.
Williams formerly worked for the University of Missouri in the Eating from the Garden program. Now, she continues educating others at Precious Petals & Pepper Berries Urban Farm, at Beaumont Baptist Church.
“We teach gardening, cooking, canning, fermenting and art classes, and we teach children, teens and adults,” Williams said.
Cooking classes begin in September and run weekly through the end of March, and all ages are welcome. Keep an eye out on Facebook and Eventbrite on the Farm’s page for details and possible pricing.
Not only do cooking classes at the farm take place in an industrial kitchen with professional equipment, but Williams described that the classes are fully interactive, saying, “It’s all hands-on here.”
Some dishes Williams has taught youth how to make include hash brown ala mode, mozzarella cheese, and pesto. Williams remarked that she incorporates nutrition education, “while we’re sharing and we’re cooking.”
“We bring in a lot of the nutrition value with it when we’re teaching,” Williams emphasized.
Beyond her cooking classes at the farm, Williams travels to schools to teach gardening and cooking. She works with elementary students up to eighth grade and makes recipes using “what you can grow in Missouri and unusual things.”
In the schools, kids aren’t able to make the food themselves, but they watch Williams make and explain her technique. Students get to try the food and “they always get to take something home every day,” she said. This includes the recipe, so they can recreate it at home.
Williams progresses through instruction strategically.
“I like to start with knife safety and just the safety in the kitchen first… and then we start working on their taste buds and helping them recognize different spices,” Williams said.
She wants students to be able to identify spices used in different cuisines, and be able to adapt a dish to sport flavors common in certain cultures, like Mexican or German spices.
“We can change the next generation by teaching these kids how to… [eat] healthy,” Williams said.
With a variety of classes offered, kids (and adults) can learn how to grow food, make it, and even learn art, another of Williams’ passions. Williams sees the fruit of her teaching, remarking, “We’ve got a lot of kids excited about nutrition and growing their own stuff.”