Kathy and John Schermerhorn man the Kathy’s Kitchen booth at the Beaufort County Arts Council’s Holiday Arts and Crafts show earlier this month. John Schermerhorn acts as chief bottlewasher, knife-sharpener, humorist and valet during his wife’s weekly cooking classes near Belhaven. (WDN Photo/Vail Stewart Rumley)

Archived Story

Lessons in fresh food

Published 11:55pm Thursday, December 20, 2012


Fresh food, natural ingredients and cooking. Those are some of Kathy Schermerhorn’s passions — passions she’s sharing with people across Beaufort County.
For the past year, Schermerhorn has opened her home, and her cupboards, for weekly cooking classes, teaching cooking basics and beyond to anyone who wants to learn. The classes fall on Tuesday nights, and Sundays once-a-month, and the sampling of class names is telling: Ciabiatta and French Bread, Mexican Basics, Scones and Biscuits and Fresh Pasta in 30 minutes, which is always a real class-pleaser, according to Schermerhorn.
“It’s really fun to watch. People have so much fun rolling out the pasta and then tasting what fresh pasta is like,” Schermerhorn said. “It’s a real kick.”
Schermerhorn explained her classes as “building blocks” for cooking — the skills learned in one class may be expanded in a class further down the road. On those building blocks, she layers foods from around the world, delving into Mediterranean and Asian food, Spanish tapas.
It’s a cultural, and a hands-on, experience, Schermerhorn said.
“The classes are about experience. It’s not a show and tell. We try to get people to do the chopping, stirring, learning proper techniques,” she explained. “Cooking is having fun with food.”
Being able to have fun with food means having a kitchen that’s a cook’s dream come true, with lots of counter space and plenty of room to maneuver around a hot stove — so much room that eight students can pitch in with chopping and stirring around a separate large central island.
“It allows movement, allows people to step in and out of the direct action at the leisure,” Schermerhorn said.
Schermerhorn came by teaching the classes naturally: a career as creative director at cookware and tableware giant Williams-Sonoma sparked her interest in cooking. That led to classes at San Francisco’s Tante Marie cooking school and Greystone Culinary Academy in St. Helena, where she built up the techniques she now shares with others.
When Schermerhorn and her husband John moved to Belhaven from California six years ago, she realized cooking classes weren’t readily available in the area. It was a need she decided to fill.
“I love taking cooking classes myself and there were none around and I was like ‘Gee whiz, maybe I can teach them,’” she laughed.
Schermerhorn’s parlayed her cooking knowledge into a part time job and with classes starting Jan. 8, each class is filling up quickly, she said. She said she has quite a few repeat customers, many of them men — retirees who love to cook — and couples, who are drawn to the camaraderie and, of course, the food.
“Everybody eats. … Everybody gets a plate. Sometimes we eat as we go along, otherwise toward the end — we eat.”
Kathy’s Kitchen is open Tuesday’s from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays once a month. The cost is $25 per class (except where noted on Sundays) which includes all ingredients and recipes. Space is limited, so early reservations are recommended. Gift certificates for one or multiple classes are available. To reserve a class, call 252-964-3222 or email kathskitchen@earthlink.net.

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