- February 6, 2019
Kristin Caulley watched in awe as Shamya Andrews, a Manatee Technical College culinary student, demonstrated how to use a knife to cut parsley leaves.
“You got this swagger with the knife,” Caulley said to Andrews.
During a "Culinary Experience" with other members of the Lakewood Ranch Young Leaders Alliance Feb. 28 at Manatee Technical College, Caulley then tried to match Andrews’ technique as she continued to chop her own parsley and capers.
Andrews and MTC culinary student Frances Saez, became the instructors during the event, which was led by MTC Executive Chef Idalia Grilo and Gina Bianchi, a culinary steward and event coordinator at MTC. Eleven members of the LWRYLA were there to make chicken piccata with angel hair pasta.
Caulley, who works for Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation, was nervous coming into the event as she doesn’t have much experience with cooking. But she was excited to learn.
“I’m surprised they weren’t nervous having us all with knives over an open flame,” Caulley said with a laugh. “They made it easy to learn you can actually cook a meal for yourself as long as you have a recipe to follow.”
Tieler Gittleman, the chair of the Young Leaders Alliance, said they were made to feel like professional in only 30 minutes.
Soon the room was filled with the sound of clicking as the "students" were handed tongs as they began to prepare the chicken.
“The objective here is not to do the flippy flippy,” Grilo said, cautioning everyone not to continually flip the chicken over in the pan. She suggested everyone wait about 3 minutes before flipping.
Caulley said waiting those 3 minutes was the most difficult part of the entire culinary experience.
When Andrews saw Gittleman needed help, she jumped into action. She explained how she tests the pan to see if it’s hot enough and the best time to flip the chicken.
Andrews and Saez liked being able to see the teaching aspect of cooking.
“You can show people you have the skills that not a lot of people have,” Saez said. “Not a lot of people want to go into the cooking industry nowadays because they don’t want to work long hours or they just don’t want to be in the heat.”