I took a Cajun and creole cooking class offered by the Derby Recreation Commission. Here’s how it went.

Derby Recreation Commission - Cooking Class

While I don’t consider myself to be a good cook, I actually enjoy learning about it, even though I don’t do it much at home. When I found out that the Derby Recreation Commission offers cooking classes, I decided to look more into it and give it a try.

The classes are held inside the Hubbard Arts Center at 309 N. Woodlawn (Derby) in a culinary kitchen called The Kitchen. They have all sorts of classes ranging from different cuisines and pastries. I signed up for a Cajun and Creole Cookery class that advertised showing students how to make jambalaya, cornbread and beignets. It was a two-hour class that cost $35; not bad for a day of learning that came with a meal you prepared yourself.

Here’s how it went.

Cajun and Creole Cooking Class at the Derby Recreation Commission

First off, I should note that the culinary kitchen they have is very nice. I loved the open layout they had, which was very conducive for small groups. There was a pantry behind the kitchen area along with storage for all the utensils, pots, pans, etc., and many sinks for cleaning dishes and washing hands.

Derby Recreation Commission - Cooking Class

The class had six people and we were split into groups of three to learn the basics and also prepare the three dishes.

Derby Recreation Commission - Cooking Class

This was definitely the most hands-on class I’ve attended. We were in charge of gathering all the supplies, most of the ingredients, clean-up, you name it. I really liked it that way as it resembles a home scenario. Our instructor, Angelika, was there every step of the way for any questions and helping with anything we needed.

I was paired with a mother/son duo and we all split the tasks involved of cutting the chicken, sausages, vegetables, cooking over the stove, mixing in the ingredients. It was a good way for us to save time.

And no cooking class would be complete without me messing up at least one time. I was getting all the seasonings and spices measured and placed into a dish for mixing. I mixed up the cayenne and Italian seasoning. It called for a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne and a full tablespoon of Italian seasoning. For whatever dumb reason, I had it backwards and put far too much cayenne. I told my group and tried to get the extra cayenne taken out.

Derby Recreation Commission - Cooking Class

Derby Recreation Commission - Cooking Class

Derby Recreation Commission - Cooking Class

When the jambalaya was finished, the mother next to me took a bite and immediately commented on how spicy it was and that it was already making her sweat. I felt soooo incredibly bad and played the role of waterboy whenever water was needed. On the bright side, everyone loved the jambalaya, aside from how spicy it was. I thought it was excellent and the best jambalaya I’ve ever made (granted, the bar was already set really low).

Derby Recreation Commission - Cooking Class

Derby Recreation Commission - Cooking Class

While the jambalaya was cooking, we also worked as a team on the cornbread. It was a simpler process and didn’t involve as many ingredients or instructions. That was right up my alley.

Derby Recreation Commission - Cooking Class

The finished product was also tasty. It was moist, had a magnificent aroma to it, and so soft. You could taste a bit of the vanilla extract that was used. It was a bit sweeter, which I didn’t mind at all.

Derby Recreation Commission - Cooking Class

Derby Recreation Commission - Cooking Class

Unfortunately, we were running out of time and didn’t get to make beignets, which I’ll admit was very disappointing to me. It was probably the dish I was looking forward to making the most. It’s something I’ve never tried at home, but would have loved to do in a class setting.

Other than that, I had a great time. I really loved how hands-on and interactive the class was. Working together in groups made it fun. Everyone was pretty engaging, and that added to the experience of the cooking class. I would certainly attend a class there again in the future.

To learn more about the classes offered, visit their website. They have classes for youth and adults, so people of all ages can participate.


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