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  Cooking Along the Crooked Road

  Cooking Classes

Tie Up Your Apron Strings and Join us for Our 2015 Spring Culinary Classes.

Spring cleaning is around the corner and it is time to clean out those old over used and tired recipes and begin collecting some new recipes to make your culinary life more healthy, creative and fun. Join us to learn new techniques and skills that will stimulate your interest, your intellect and your taste buds.

"Cooking Along the Crooked Road" classes offer children, teens and adults hands-on, creative experiences that can transform mere nourishment into culinary adventures. Students of all ages acquire valuable life-long skills, taught by local chefs and other accomplished, imaginative cooks. From healthy lifestyle cooking and a variety ethnic culinary classes to bread and pastry making and special youth classes, there is something for everyone in the warmth of the teaching kitchen! During spring and early summer 2015, we have added 12 new and exciting classes to choose from on Monday evenings. We will also be incorporating some special Saturday events.

We invite you like our new Facebook page: Cooking Along the Crooked Road to receive updates and class information as well as great cooking tips and recipes.

If you wish to receive more information about our classes, you can also go to our home page and click on Sign up for Email News on the bottom right hand corner. Be sure to click culinary classes as well as any other events you wish to hear about regularly.

Gift Certificates: What better way to surprise that hard-to-buy-for chef in the family or that friend who loves to cook...than with an HEC culinary class gift certificate. Our culinary classes are both fun and educational and promise to leave you hungry for learning more! Certificates can be purchased by phone and mailed directly to you or the recipient. 276 619-4300.

Did you know that our culinary kitchen is available to rent for special events? Groups up to 20 can create their own special hands-on cooking class and meal. Want to have a unique party for that upcoming shower or birthday? What about a girl or guy’s night out? A bridesmaids’ luncheon or special anniversary cooking class? We can help plan this and steer you to the perfect culinary teacher. For more information on room rental rates, contact conference services.

Asheville Food Tour

It is time for our Second Asheville Eats! tour on Monday, May 11, 2015. This unique opportunity offers the ultimate foodie day trip that is loaded with good tastes and good times. Join us to explore the unique culinary world of Asheville, North Carolina with Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center. To register click on this link.

Register Online

Informational Brochure


Juicing for Fun and Health
Nicole Dyer, White Birch Juice
Monday, March 16, 2015 6-9pm

Learn to mix and match fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices to conjure up some tasty, healthy juice. Nicole will take you through the steps of how to juice, what the benefits are of the juices you make, and how to pair/balance flavors to come up with the most healthful, tasteful nutrition in a glass! She will focus on sourcing produce locally and share how to juice seasonally. There will also be some sample juice cleanses for those interested.

Knife Skills and More!
Jennifer Raichlin, Healing Meals
Monday, March 23, 2015 6-9 pm

Jennifer Raichlin of Healing Meals and Raw Culinary Chef, will help you learn to become friends with your own kitchen knife and learn how to properly use it to prepare meals at home. Several cutting techniques will be covered during the class: knife positioning, using your guiding/guarding hands, batonnet, julienne, dice, mince and chiffonade. Discussion will also include how to properly care for and sharpen our knife. Techniques for fancy garnishes will also be covered. The class will finish with demos and discussion of some other kitchen gadgets as well as "tasting the foods of your labor". Please bring your own 8"-10" chef knife and a paring knife IF you have them, as these will be the knives you will be using at home. If not, a chef knife can be provided.

Easter Specialty Breads
March 30., 2015
Kelli Mehl

Join Kelli Mehl for another of her fantastic baking classes just in time for Easter! Take home your own bread Easter Basket which can be used for veggie display, dips, or egg collections! Kelli will share a special cream cheese and fruit dip which can be used to fill the basket. You will also learn how to take this basic dough and use for other small specialty breads as well as make a delicious frosted carrot bread. Kelli's classes fill in a hurry, so make your reservation early!

Sauces and Their Pairings
April 13, 2015
Matthew Henry

During this special class, students will prepare four delicious sauces. The sauces and their pairings will be: classic tomato paired with eggplant; cilantro mojo with chicken; aglio e olio with pasta and other pairings; hoisin sauce paired with pork. The class will also cover how to make a traditional vinaigrette and turn into many different types of dressing that pair with all the above mentioned sauces. Matthew Henry is a chef and culinary instructor and looks forward to sharing his recipes and techniques.

It's All in the Dough: Pizza, Calzones and Stromboli

April 20, 2015
Matt Shy, Mellow Mushroom

He's back! Matt Shy from Mellow Mushroom will be in the teaching kitchen for another Pizza making class. Learn to make the perfect pizza from dough to oven! Matt will share his secrets for making a quick and delicious dough that you can do at home as he gives pointers on different ways to use the dough to make your own special creations. Learn to make red and white sauces and enjoy creating something special with assorted cheeses, veggies, meats and herbs. Both vegetarians and meat-lovers alike will enjoy this energy filled evening.

Infusing Vinegars and Oils

April 27, 2015
Kristi Slaughter

Infusing your own vinegars and oils at home is both healthy and economical. Not only will infusing flavor your products with with herbs, fruit and vegetables, but infusing can create wonderful new tastes and combinations to use in salads, soups, vegetable dishes or to give as a special gift! Join Kristi Slaughter to learn how to give your vinegars and oil some pizazz! Please bring 3-4 ball jars to class. This class does entail finishing the final steps at home.

The Flavors of India
May 4, 2015
Vivek Vatrana, Sahib Restaurant

The flavors of India have always been romantic and mysterious as well as very satisfying to the palate. A great part of that flavor is because of the aromatic spices used. Food plays an important part in Indian culture and all celebrations and special events are centered around preparing and enjoying a feast of foods. Join Chef Vik as he takes the class on a culinary tour of the world of Indian cuisine. The class will prepare and enjoy sampling some of his favorite dishes from his well-known restaurant.

Simply Raw: Asian and Thai Foods
May 11, 2015
Jennifer Raichlin

Take your taste buds on a journey to Asia where the art of flavor is as vivid as the colorful clothing and breathtaking countryside! This hands-on class, instructed by Raw Culinary Associate Chef, Jennifer Raichlin will demonstrate how simple, healthy and delicious ingredients can be easily transformed into some of your favorite dishes of the Orient. Sushi, (prepared without raw fish) can be a quick, nutritious and fun finger food suitable for parties, movie night or family night in the kitchen. Other dishes such as Thai Coconut Soup and Thai Teriyaki Vegetables will open your polate to a bright new experience of flavors. Come with us on a journey around the globe and bring back treasures to savor everyday.

Street Food: The New Rage
May 18, 2015
6-9 pm
Melissa Gleason, Me & K's

Food stands and Food trucks are becoming increasingly popular all over the United States. Good healthy ethnic and locally derived edibles are being served up to the public on the spot. Join Melissa Gleason owner of one of Johnson City’s first food trucks, as she teaches you how to produce some outrageously creative sandwiches and fresh street foods using spices, marinades, fine meat cuts and the freshest available produce. The class will work together, both on the grill and off, to make several recipes that are ethnically based as well as from Melissa’s own signature collection.

Heart Healthy Cooking with Garden Vegetables
June 1, 2015
Deni Peterson and Kim Evans

Join Deni Peterson and Kim Evans to learn all about how to keep your heart healthy with fresh vegetables from the garden or farmer's market. The class will cook some new delicious recipes together just in time for fresh produce! Learn to make delicious sauces and dressings as well as techniques and tips on how to your freeze produce correctly.

This class is in cooperation with ASD's Grow Your Own program.

Summer Appetizers and Specialty Drinks on the Patio More
June 8, 2015

More information to come soon.

Summer Sizzlin' in the Kitchen Teen Camp
June 22-25, 2015

Teens, aged 12-17, will enjoy four days of chillin’ and cookin’ in the HEC teaching kitchen with a line -up of well-known area chefs and culinary experts. Students will be preparing healthy daily recipes and learning basic kitchen skills as well as shopping and nutritional guidelines. Let the creative juices flow as students learn all about healthy and teen friendly breakfasts with Jassen Campbell of Heartwood; getting their green on with veggies with ASD's Deni Peterson;the sweet side of life with Kelli Mehl and It's Italian with Matt Shy of Mellow Mushroom. See brochure for more information and details.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

The Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center reserves the right to cancel any class or make any other changes it deems necessary. Course fees will be refunded in full when the Higher Education Center cancels a course.

We also recognize that you may occasionally need to cancel your registration. You will receive a full refund for a Monday Class if you cancel your class by noon on Wednesday prior to the day of the class and a full refund for a Saturday Class if you cancel your class by noon on Monday prior to the day of class. It must be at least five days prior to the class. The chefs and cooks need to order their food and supplies several days ahead. If you fail to show up for a class, no refund will be made. You may allow someone to come in your place if you notify us by noon on the day of the class.

If you do need to cancel prior to the cancellation deadline, you may apply your payment to a future class. If you request a refund, you will be required to register as a vendor with the University of Virginia. This is a simple process that takes only a few minutes and may be done online by going to and choosing the Vendor Registration Form link.

See the schedule of classes (Adobe Reader required)

Comments about recent classes:

Summertime Grill and Chill: Both instructors and staff were great and very professional! Elizabeth

Cooking Along the Mediterranean Class: Wonderful class, great food and nice facilities! Thanks Laura

Cooking Along the Mediterranean Class: Amine was awesome and so enthusiastic. He answered any questions we had. I can’t wait to come back! Barbara

Low Country Boil class with Shawn Crookshank/Tim Arnold: This was a wonderful class. Please offer more opportunities like this. I enjoyed relaxing on the patio for a meal! Jeoff

The Julia Child Class was fabulous. Sheridan was so calm, prepared, efficient and made it all look so easy and taste so good! Judi

I cannot suggest one thing to make the Julia Child class more perfect. Hannah

Recipe of the Month:

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November's Recipe of the Month
October's Recipe of the Month
September's Recipe of the Month
June's Recipe of the Month
Archive of Recipes

Contact Information

For additional information regarding Cooking Classes, contact the information desk.

tel: 276-619-4300

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