Wild Oats Market has begun a series of in-store cooking demonstrations in an effort to teach their customers how to prepare foods at home that are similar to those sold in the market. David Durfee, the manager of Wild Oats, emphasized that, while the store does not have a special teaching kitchen in house, it is still committed to showing people how to cook delicious, healthy food.
“We want people to know that you can make something that is really healthy and tastes great and you do not have to have gone to a culinary academy,” Durfee said.
It is this positive mentality and outlook that has led to the implementation of the new in-store cooking classes.
The cooking demonstrations take place on the floor of the store in an open area to the right of the aisles. The events are usually run by the manager of the meat and cheese department, and focus on how to prepare a dish by walking through the intricacies of a recipe and each step involved with it, Durfee said. The sessions last between 30 and 40 minutes, allowing participants to see how easy and fast it is to prepare healthy and nutritious food. Participants tend to be mostly community members who are looking to expand their everyday recipes, and Wild Oats hopes that this will instill a sense of confidence when a participant considers cooking a new dish or trying a new recipe.
During each session, special attention is paid to discussing the origins and costs of the ingredients, most of which can conveniently be found in the store. These are two aspects that Durfee and his team think about constantly when deciding on what foods to stock in their store, which influences what recipes and dishes they will showcase at events.
For Wild Oats, these programs are both a way to get new customers in the door and also to encourage local residents to value the cooking process and healthy eating. The demonstrations are part of how the store seeks to achieve its mission of providing healthy food accessible for everyone.
Not only do events like this increase people’s ability to cook for themselves, they also show students the value in preparing food that both is healthy and tastes good. Further, these demonstrations are an easy and interesting way to get away from the College for a couple of hours while also deepening the College’s connection to the community. For students, the classes may prove that there are easy and unique ways of cooking which do not take much time but can offer a healthy alternative to the simple and low-nutrient meals that are often staples of student diets.
Wild Oats Market is holding cooking events on Dec. 2, when it will demonstrate a roast beef recipe, and Dec. 16, when it will demonstrate a wine-braised beef shank recipe. Both demonstrations will start at around 4 p.m.