Students spice up their schedules with cooking classes


While football players have their Letterman jackets and jerseys to distinguish them, chefs are harder to spot walking in the hallways. Nevertheless, cooking is a very popular hobby in Westport and a variety of local options gives prospective chefs the opportunity to pursue their interests.

Students taking culinary are often looking for a chance to explore with cooking.

“I’ve made so many things that I probably wouldn’t try making at home, like butternut squash risotto, sole meuniere with a beurre blanc and orange ricotta tart,” Mehar Kirmani ’15 said about Staples’ advanced culinary class.

“I really have a chance to express my creativity [in] cooking,” she added.

Culinary attracts both novice and more seasoned student chefs. Jesse Lapping ’17 is a teaching assistant for culinary classes.

“I’ve always loved to cook, and Chef Gans saw that, so [she] invited [me] to be a camp counselor during the summer and a teaching assistant during the year,” she said.

“My favorite part about it is just being able to cook, and […] in the summer being around the little kids and teaching them,” Lapping added.

And if students are looking for even more cooking instruction beyond culinary, classes are offered outside of school and can serve as the next step for ambitious young chefs.

In fact, a number of Westport establishments provide classes for kids and adults. Williams Sonoma, located in downtown Westport, offers free junior chef classes focused on whimsical recipes for “Easter baking” or “Egg-cellent eggs,” according to its website.

Aux Delices, a French restaurant located in Westport, has also offered separate classes geared towards adults and kids for over 10 years.

“My classes are all based on what I think kids like to eat and/or might be willing to try,” Linda Manheim, the cooking school director, said. “[I am] interested in motivating them to learn more about cooking and staying excited about it.”