by Lois Siegel
There’s a fabulous cooking “school” run by a lovely lady who tantalizes the palates of others deep in the hidden terraces of the Glebe, unknown to most Glebites. Wendy Myers knows about food. She has a large fridge with a freezer in her kitchen, a large freezer in an adjacent room and another large fridge close by. You get the idea.
Sessions are limited to nine students, although most of her classes have six to eight. Her classes are fun social events. Students work together, two or three in a team. You make new friends and after everything is prepared, you sit down to eat what everyone has made.
Wendy explains, “When students arrive, they pick up an apron, grab a coffee and receive a package of recipes along with a “game plan” to help them recreate the menu at home. The kitchen is set up in workstations, one for each element in the game plan, with all the equipment and ingredients ready. Before cooking begins, I review the menu and talk about how I put it together, unusual ingredients and where to source them, besides tips and techniques. I explain how the class will run and then the students decide which menu items(s) they will work on.”
Then they cook while Wendy provides guidance. You don’t have to be an expert in the kitchen. Wendy is very kind when she shows you how to do things. There is no stress so everyone has a good time. When the food is ready the dishes are put on a plate or platter and then it’s time to eat.
Wendy offers a different menu each month. Usually, she tweaks a recipe at least five times before it’s ready to be put on a menu. Past classes included the cuisines of Morocco, Spain, Italy, France, Mexico and Persia. There have been vegetarian, hors d’oeuvres, holiday menus and gifts, as well as picnic, brunch and seasonal menus classes. In the fall, she plans to offer an Indian menu. She is constantly researching and developing new recipes.
Wendy has been living in the Glebe for almost 21 years. She started her adventure in the kitchen as a child making what she liked best, chocolate chip cookies and brownies. Her mother was a cooking teacher and cookbook author, so from a cooking point of view Wendy was home schooled.
She started teaching in her home 13 years ago. When you teach, you discover better ways to convey your methods and explanations. “I have learned how to make easy home-cooked meals look impressive and “cheffy,” she adds. “I often do taste testing with my class. We’ve tasted different salts, chocolates, cheeses and olive oils and compared nuts before and after roasting them. We’ve tasted different crackers and flatbreads to determine which goes best with the hors d’oeuvres we were preparing,” Wendy explains.
So where does a foody shop? “I love the variety of cheeses at Nicastro’s, the meat at the Glebe Meat Market, the wonderful fish from Pelican Fishery and the balsamic vinegar at the Unrefined Olive. Mickey at Nicastro’s really knows his cheeses and can help me find just the right one to accompany a soup or to be included in a cheese plate. And Stephane and his team at the Glebe Meat Market are willing and able to prep meat for any recipe. While not technically in the Glebe, the Pelican Fishery, led by Lester, Nathan, Patrick and Chuck and the rest of the staff, does an outstanding job preparing and ordering in fish.”
Wendy’s motto: “To be a good cook, you have to be a good eater.” She says, “For my last supper, I think I would choose seared foie gras served over toasted brioche with apple chutney, followed by roasted fish with herbed oil and roasted asparagus and mushrooms. I would finish with hazelnut macarons.
Wendy teaches cooking twice a month on a Wednesday and a Thursday nine months per year; no classes in June, July and August. Classes start at 9:30 a.m. and usually end by around 1 p.m. She also offers private classes for birthday parties and has donated classes for fundraisers.
Wendy has never advertised. People learn about her through word of mouth. But now the word is out. If you would like to sign up for a class, email is best: firstname.lastname@example.org. Classes cost $60.
Wendy has no pets and she always asks what allergies you have.
Lois Siegel, photographer, filmmaker, educator, musician and agent, confesses to being a cooking Luddite but getting better because of Wendy.