Joe DeLeo has the recipe for cooks seeking a bit of inspiration, know-how and fun.
His Kitchen & Gift, at 3415 Pleasant Valley Boulevard, Altoona, has been the site of various cooking classes since August. Students not only get to eat the finished product - which has ranged from Asian BTL wraps to pulled-pork sliders - but they're also invited to start the evening off with a complimentary alcoholic beverage.
"We are trying to design our classes/demos in a way that they are not only informative but also fun and in a party atmosphere," DeLeo said by email.
Teena Petrus makes prosciutto bruschetta during a recent class on “Finger Foods for Watching Football.”
Kerri Sassano of Altoona attended two classes taught by Teena Petrus, field editor for Taste of Home in Johnstown.
The first class was on cold-packing tomatoes and tomato sauce. Sassano said her husband had grown a lot of tomatoes, and she had never canned before. She applied what she learned from the class and "it turned out great," she said.
The second class, "Finger Foods for Watching Football," was "very fun," she said. She said she "learned some new things" and liked Petrus' "very practical" approach to food preparation. Petrus said she encourages people to adapt recipes to suit their own and their family's tastes.
Naomi Poe, owner of Better Batter of Altoona, which offers gluten-free flour, mixes and recipes, was among the other presenters.
Poe said the biggest question people asked, was how to revamp "old family recipes and get their life back."
Fresh pasta, pumpkins and sharp knives will be part of the next grouping of classes:
* Oct. 11 - Ed Bartush, regional manager for Wusthof knives, will demonstrate knife skills. The class fee is $40 and includes a Wusthof 3.5-inch paring knife.
* Oct. 15 - Zack Ford, chef at the Altoona Hotel, will show how to make fresh pasta.
* Oct. 18 - artist Michael Allison will carve pumpkins with panache.
* TBA - Petrus will present recipes for what to do with all that fresh pumpkin after the jack o' lanterns are lit.
All classes start at 6:30 p.m. With the exception of the Wusthof demonstration, the cost is $25. Registrations may be made in person, by calling the store at 943-1588 or by email at info@kitchenandgift. com.
The store can accommodate 25 people per class. If there is room, registrations can be made the day of the class.