In the Kitchen With Chef Teddi Wohlford
In The Kitchen with Gateway: Chef Teddi Wohlford
The idea of going to class usually doesn’t get many people excited. When most people think of class they think of sitting for hours, listening to a rather monotone teacher and fighting the ever-creeping urge to take a snooze. However, that was not the tone on this particular night. As everyone began to take their seats, you could hear people snicker and chit chat about their days, upcoming vacations and their excitement for the night. I sat in the back and observed the overall tone of everyone, including the teachers. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits.
Now you may be asking what does this have to do with the series “In the Kitchen”. Well, quite frankly, it has everything to do everything with being In the Kitchen because we were in one! The classroom was set in the back of the Robinson Home with rows of chairs and tables. Instead of notebooks on the tables, we had a pamphlet full of recipes for the night and eating utensils. A fully equipped kitchen faced about 25 attendees. I observed as two people prepared the kitchen before class. As the clock moved closer to the start of the class, I couldn’t help but get a little anxious and excited. I flipped through the recipe pamphlet and my mouth started to water at the thought of all the deliciousness coming my way.
It was ‘Peach Perfection’ night and my taste buds couldn’t be more ready. Chef Teddi Wohlford made her way to the front of the class and began to help her sous chef Dennis prepare. Before starting class, she interacted with some of the students who I figured were regulars to her class. I actually had the privilege to sit next to a regular who had driven all the way from Perry, GA! She spoke about some of her favorite dishes she learned from previous classes and what she would be making at home next. This further confirmed that I was in the right kitchen at the right time with the right chef.
Chef Teddi started off the class by introducing her sous chef Dennis and her husband, who would also be assisting that night. As class began, Chef Teddi took us through a brief overview of what we would be cooking. While this was not a hands-on cooking class, Chef Teddi put an emphasis on class participation and interaction. To make sure that we were all on the same page, Chef Teddi pulled out the best trick of them all, alcohol!
Starting the night off by making Frozen Peach Daiquiri, Chef Teddi added the perfect ingredient to get everyone loosened up and ready to learn. As we sipped on the strong, but flavorful concoction, attendees began to ask questions about ingredient substitutes and other questions about the recipes. To keep the class intrigued and interesting Chef Teddi decided to go off of the recipe agenda and create a delicious salad topped with fresh peach and pineapple salsa! She also made homemade salad dressing which included ingredients such as peach balsamic vinegar, buttermilk and gorgonzola cheese!
As Chef Teddi took us through the recipes and dishes, she made sure to articulate the importance of each ingredient and what it added to the dish. This wasn’t just about our meal for the night, but knowledge we could take to our own kitchens. Very humbled, in the rare moment that Chef Teddi would forget a part of the recipe, she would never hesitate to ask the class to help her out.
As we glided through the night with recipes for easy peanut satay sauce, peachy grilled chicken skewers and peaches n’ cream bread pudding with vanilla bean gelato, there was visible signs that people were meeting their capacity, including myself. People began to eat a little less and talk a bit more to make room for the next dish.
As the night started winding down, I had to fight the urge of fullness as I looked at the last few bites of my melted vanilla bean gelato on top of my cooling bread pudding. However, I am proud to say I finished the last few bites and was able to walk proudly, but slowly through the Robinson Home to capture some glamour shots of the meal we prepared!
Being in the kitchen with Chef Teddi is about the food, but more than anything it is about the experience. From her unlimited knowledge of ingredients, origins of food and passion for the culinary arts, one is simply immersed in her kitchen from start to finish. While we did not get to sit down and talk, I think the most important part of the night was seeing her in action. From the way she addressed her sous chef, husband and the audience, it felt like I was in the kitchen with my mother or grandma. Taking questions and little hiccups with ease, everything felt natural and nothing felt force. The food spoke for itself and I’m so glad Chef Teddi and the Robinson Home let us in their Kitchen!