The facility uses the full kitchen at the high school, and the program “is thriving. Those shows on TV have really kick-started these programs.”
In Mattapoisett, Colby Rottler recently opened Commanding Cuisine, which is run through the town’s Recreation Department. Looking for something to do after retiring from the Federal Reserve Bank, he graduated in 2001 as a certified chef from the Johnson & Wales University culinary program.
“I have mothers and daughters, grandchildren, men, you name it,” Rottler said of his classes. “My grandchildren come and help me. I keep my recipes simple. You’re not going to go crazy trying to make them.”
Rottler also donates his culinary talents to veterans groups and others who auction off his services to raise money.
The biggest benefit of cooking classes, Kinsella said, is bringing people together and creating the communal sense of doing a necessary task together.
“I think it’s a way to bring family closer together. We’ve gotten away from family meal times, I think,” he said.
“When I teach, we’re all there in the kitchen, we’re relaxed, the way it should be with cooking,” he said. “You all participate, whether someone cooks or sets the table or cleans up. It’s time we’re spending together.”
And creating some mouth-watering dishes doesn’t hurt. At the end of our class, we all sat down to gorge ourselves on what we had created, drink wine, and talk. Not much was left over, least of all Riley’s poached pear dessert, mounded with mascarpone, light cream, lemon zest, powdered sugar, and raspberries.
“Maybe now,” Riley said, “my wife will let me in the kitchen more.”
Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at Kandarian@globe.com