So. Utah Chef Class Introduces Cultural Cuisine to Cedar City

Southern Utah University is serving up a spicy learning opportunity as part of its fun, affordable community education courses beginning in March.

The Southern Utah Chef cooking class is a monthly, 2-hour course featuring nine local chefs from various southern Utah restaurants. Each guest chef will instruct attendees to prepare a favorite dish from familiar restaurant menus. Chefs from restaurants in Cedar City, Springdale, Kanab and St. George will give attendees the chance to learn recipes representing many different cultures and establishments.

All lessons will be taught in the elegant setting of the IG Winery located in historic district of downtown Cedar City, with wine pairing options offered for most recipes. Attendees will receive a printed recipe for the featured dishes at each class, resulting in a collection of eclectic recipes by the end of the series.

The course was created by Melynda Thorpe, executive director of the Office of Community and Academic Enrichment, due to the success as her work as a former producer of the 2013-14 cooking show that aired on Southern Utah LIVE Television Network and BAJA Cable, “Southern Utah Chef.”

“We are excited to bring this fun culinary experience to Cedar City to share the variety of cultures and foods that have become local to southern Utah,” Thorpe said. “Attendees will learn kitchen tricks and techniques, be able to ask questions and really get to know some of the finest chefs in the area.”

The series kicks off on March 15 with a presentation from Chef Gerardo Reyes of Chef Alfredo’s Ristorante Italiano. Reyes grew up in an Italian family in New Jersey where he worked in their family restaurant. After discovering his passion for cooking Italian food, he moved on to work in Italian restaurants in Miami. In 2013, he moved to Cedar City when he saw his opportunity to open his own restaurant.

“When I was hired into this profession it was something to do,” Reyes said. “I never knew I would grow to love it as much as I did. But I learned from my family that cooking is what I am best at and that dining should be an experience — not just something to eat.”

Chef Shon Foster, of Sego Restaurant in Kanab, will be one of two chefs presenting from the restaurant that was awarded a 2017 OpenTable’s Diners’ Choice Award. Foster will present a New American dish, while Chef Harryson Tobing will prepare a dish from Indonesia.

“Food should connect us to where we are, and where we have been,” Foster said. “When people eat my food I want them to find themselves in that moment, closing their eyes and letting their senses take them back to memories of their life — then watch as the food elevates them to their new surroundings.”

Other chefs include Chef Todd McDonald of Das Nest, a dessert lesson by JaNell Wood of Simply Delicious Confections,

and presentations from Tae’s Tea and Centro Pizzeria, and Chef Octavio Meija of Pisco Peruvian Cuisine, among others.

Southern Utah Chef classes can be taken as a whole nine-part series for $75, or $10 per class at the door. Classes will be limited to 30 attendees per lesson, so reserve your spot today at suu.edu/wise, email bewise@suu.edu, stop by the SUU Office of Community and Academic Enrichment at 136 W. University Blvd., Suite 003, Cedar City, or call (435) 865-8259 for more information.

Story Courtesy of Haven Scott

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