Cooking is my passion and sharing this passion is an absolute gift. I am overjoyed with the opportunity to work as a cooking instructor at a culinary event kitchen called Taste Buds Kitchen. I wear many hats at this job, but my favorite hat is the chef’s hat.
When I first started working at Taste Buds Kitchen, I had little culinary background outside of my own kitchen. In the past year and a half I have learned so much in the kitchen, not only from being an instructor myself, but from those I teach. I teach mostly kids starting at age two through teens, but also work with adults. Each person that comes through our kitchen has a different experience. My job as a culinary instructor is to teach basic kitchen skills, introduce new ingredients, educate on nutrition and cooking processes, demonstrate cooking techniques, and make cooking fun! The younger chefs love to smell and taste test ingredients. I encourage kids to try new things and to learn from their mistakes because mistakes happen all the time in the kitchen. Some of my favorite moments are when the kids claim to not like something, but when asked if they’ve ever had it they reply, “Ew, no!” What happens once they try it (and get bribed with a temporary chef’s tattoo)? They love it! We always teach the kids kitchen safety with the appliances and tools. Can you picture a three-year-old using a knife? Well, it can happen! We use special kid safety knives to teach them knife skills and they finish the class as an “official ninja”! Whether it’s chia seed granola bars, veggie dumplings, or chocolate zucchini cookies, there is always something new to try for all ages.
Most recently, I have been teaching private cooking classes for special dietary needs. I work with a five-year-old boy who is gluten-free helping him have the same food experiences as his peers. We’ve made gluten-free mac ’n cheese cupcakes, baked chicken nuggets and sweet potato fries, banana muffins and strawberry milkshakes, and spinach gnocchi. He’s learned knife skills, how to use a blender, burner safety, and has tried so many new ingredients. I also teach a middle-aged mom on a very restrictive diet. She doesn’t have a background in cooking and came to me in a complete loss of what to eat after being put on a doctor-prescribed diet. To put this diet in perspective, we made a gluten-free, yeast-free, dairy-free, tomato-free, vegetarian pizza (can you say “whoa?”). Since we’ve been cooking together, she has been overwhelmed with her successes, increased appetite, and passion for cooking.
I love cooking, but I love cooking with others even more. This job doesn’t feel like a job. It feels like I’m getting paid to do my hobby. There is an opportunity for all interests out there. Whether your passion is in cooking, educating, or photography, there is a place for you. The field of dietetics is not just limited to clinical and foodservice, and it’s okay to think outside the box. Take your passion for nutrition and spread the wealth of good health!
About the Author:
Shannon Costello is a senior dietetics student at Texas Woman’s University.