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Middlesex County College Hosts Culinary Classes for Curious Cooks

The summer culinary program instructs attendees in a number of culinary techniques, with plenty of sampling.

Come to class hungry.

That's pretty much the only prerequisite for the "Today's Table" series currently ongoing at Middlesex County College.    

The noncredit program is open to adults willing to learn more about cooking and culinary techniques, and covers a bevy of topics, from sauces to braising to breads.

Taught by Certified Executive Chef (CEC) Richard Bottega, the classes meet from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the college's Culinary Lab, located in Crabiel Hall.

Classes include a five course tasting menu, and recipes for each dish are provided to the students in each class.

More than a taste was to be had of each dish, as Bottega and McCaffrey turned out gnocchi with sausage and spinach, tomato sauce, lasagna roll ups, chicken murphy, ratatouille and biscotti cookies drizzled with chocolate during the "Simple, Rustic Italian" class.

"Don't ever eat before you come," Bottega said to the class.

Classes are scheduled to run through the end of August, covering a number of culinary topics.

Bottega encouraged the attendees to get up out of their seats to get a closer look at the dishes, take a taste, and call out questions as they had them.

Bottega said he prefers to keep class informal and relaxed, which is also a good way to operate in the kitchen, unless in the case of baking.

"Baking is a science. Cooking is not," he said.

Student Amy Jones of Sayreville said she has attended "almost all" of Bottega's classes, and has made a few of the dishes herself at home.

She said the classes in which they made homemade ravioli, and the baking classes were some of the most fun.

"It was fun making octopuses and snails (out of fondant)" she said.

Jones said that Bottega has also taken recipe requests and prepared them in class, as in the case with popovers during a previous class. She said she suggested them, as her mother used to prepare Yorkshire Pudding, a similar recipe.

Classes are $30 each, or $99 for five, if paid for all at once.

To view a listing of all "Today's Table," classes in the summer course guide, or to register for a class, visit www.middlesexcc.edu/profcom or call (732) 906-2556.

Middlesex County College is located at 2600 Woodbridge Ave., Edison.

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