Class makes dinner for families in need

Amongst the noodles, crepes and other food, Julia Yost hesitantly put a spoon of the still hot marinara sauce to her mouth after being reminded of instructor Alison Kaminski’s rule: “If they make it, they have to taste it.”

This is just one of way Kaminksi teaches 15 students, members of a homeschool cooperative, that have been learning cooking techniques since January.

But on Saturday there was little time, other than for an approving smile from Yost, to celebrate any accomplishments as the class was busily trying to make a difference in about 45 individuals’ lives at the Ronald McDonald House in Danville by making them dinner.

“This is an effort to give back to the community,” Kaminski said.

While Kaminski has been teaching groups of students cooking techniques for about six years, this is the first time the class has lent its skills to the charity’s families.

The idea for the project came to Kaminski, who owns Simply Mediterranean with her husband, after personally seeing the work the charity does.

Her granddaughter, Eliana, was born almost two years ago without a right ventricle, Kaminski explained.

“That was the first time we were exposed to the Ronald McDonald House,” she said. “They treat you like gold there. We were just so impressed.”

“It was really great that (the charity) was available,” said Julie Kelchner, Kaminski’s daughter.

And so the class decided to make a meal, which included a Caesar salad, homemade bread, pasta and a crepes bar, for families spending time at the Ronald McDonald House. The menu and food was all made from by the students.

“Everything is done from scratch,” Kaminski said on the food.

Students said they felt great to be a part of the meal and help in any way they could.

“I think it’s great to give back to the Ronald McDonald House,” Yost said. “That’s a huge blessing to so many families.”

The class is an elective that students can choose to take and many said the skills were important for them to learn.

“We get to work with so many different things we’ve never used before,” said Mel Kane, a member of the class.

Students have learned proper ways to cut with knives and make different types of food.

“They’re good techniques to learn for later in life,” said Clara Howey, of the class.

The class has toured Le Jeune Chef and New York City to see how cooking is done in different settings. Kaminski added that students are learning team work, along with cooking, as they help each other.

Students were busy showing others how to perform tasks around the kitchen and lending a hang where they could.

Students prepared all they could Saturday and then traveled to Danville Sunday to serve dinner. They also worked at the crepe bar, helping individuals place toppings, such as blueberries and Nutella, on their crepe.