Work Options for Women launches chef-driven cooking classes at Cafe Options

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Work Options for Women, a local -- and laudable -- non-profit that enables impoverished women to work in the food service industry by giving them hands-on job training, is always cooking up new ways for chefs and foodniks in the community to become involved, and beginning in February, WOW will roll out a series of monthly cooking classes, all of which will be taught by local chefs.

"Many years ago, we did a series of cooking classes, where we paired a chef with a local media person and they were really, really successful," says WOW board member and local restaurant consultant John Imbergamo.

At the time, the classes were held at WOW's former home, the department of human services, which had the hottest damn kitchen in the universe (I know, because I cooked two-dozen salmon fillets alongside Vesta and Steuben's chef Matt Selby, and nearly died of heat exhaustion in the process), but the upcoming classes will take place at Cafe Options, the downtown breakfast and lunch restaurant owned and operated by WOW. "We have this beautiful facility that we don't use at night, which gives us a great opportunity to bring back the cooking classes in a slightly different format," says Imbergamo.

The chefs -- Max MacKissock (Squeaky Bean); Rachel Kesley (WaterCourse Foods); Jon Emanuel (Project Angel Heart); Tyler Wiard (Elway's Cherry Creek); and Jessica Berry of WOW -- are all on tap and were chosen, notes Imbergamo, because of their connection to WOW. "We called our friends -- chefs who have proven to be friends of Work Options for Women over the years, and they're all donating their time."

And Whole Foods Cherry Creek is donating the food for the classes in February and March. The classes, which are small -- only ten people -- are $50 each and reservations are necessary. "One of the coolest things about learning how to cook in a small group is the ability to be one-on-one with some of the best chefs in the city," says Imbergamo.

The class schedule is on the following page; to register, go to www.eventbrite.com/org/1741145294.

Class: Potatoes with Max MacKissock, exec chef of the Squeaky Bean Date: Wednesday, February 8 What's cooking? MacKissock will teach spud-heads all about potato preparation, from roasted potatoes to gnocchi.

Class: Veggie Burgers with Rachel Kesley, exec chef of WaterCourse Foods Date: Wednesday, March 7 What's cooking? Vegetarian burgers made with tempeh and wild rice.

Class: Salmon with Jon Emanuel, exec chef of Project Angel Heart Date: Wednesday, April 18 What's Cooking? Salmon every which way from Emanuel, who spends his days cooking meals for Project Angle Heart clients, all of whom are battling life-threatening illnesses.

Class: Grilling with Tyler Wiard, exec chef of Elway's Cherry Creek Date: Thursday, June 21 What's Cooking? Grill magician and steak sultan Tyler Wiard's class will be all about grilling everything from beef and seafood to vegetables.

Class: Breakfast for Dinner Kid's Class with Jessica Berry of WOW Date: Wednesday, July 18 What's Cooking? If you've got a breakfast geek kid between the age of eight and thirteen, then sign them up for this WOW-taught class -- and then demand brunch on Saturday. In bed. On a silver platter.

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