Cooking club serves up comfort at Ronald McDonald House
By Donna Vickroy email@example.com April 11, 2012 3:14PM
Michael Suggett and Colette Barajas prepare a salad for a lunch that the Moraine Valley Culinary and Hospitality Club prepared at the Ronald McDonald House in Oak Lawn.
Makes about 2 pounds of bread
12 ounces water
1/2 ounce yeast
1 1/4 pound bread flout
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 ounce olive oil
Mix water, yeast, flour, salt and sugar. Let rest to ferment for 1 1/2 hours at 80 degrees.
Coat sheet pans with olive oil. Roll out dough to about 3/4 inch thickness and place in pans. Brush tops generously with olive oil. After proofing, press dimples into the dough at approximately 3-inch intervals.
Bake at 425 degrees.
Optional: After pressing in dimples, sprinkle top with
rosemary and coarse salt.
Updated: May 13, 2012 8:11AM
When the Moraine Valley Community College Culinary and Hospitality Club meets, hungry people benefit.
On Monday, the community college students prepared lunch for staff, guests and visitors at the Ronald McDonald House in Oak Lawn.
“It’s awesome to be here,” said Colette Barajas, a junior from Beverly. “This is a wonderful place to help people out.”
That help came in the form of creamy vegetable lasagne, roasted red potatoes and artisan focaccia bread topped with fresh rosemary and parmesan-reggiano cheese.
The students meet weekly to share tips, plan outings and, of course, cook.
Sophomore Michael Suggett, of New Lenox, is the club’s president. Though it was originally formed years ago, the club had gone dormant in recent years. Suggett reactivated its charter and reached out to other culinary students to join so they could share ideas, network and become better chefs.
“The club is an opportunity for us to apply the skills we learn in class, and to reach out to the community,” Suggett said.
The students have sponsored bake sales and cooking demonstrations. They’re also planning a field trip to the National Restaurant Association Show in early May.
“We try new foods, we practice management leadership skills and we have fun,” Suggett said.
This week’s luncheon was the time they prepared a full meal on-site.
“We’d like to do a lot more of these kinds of events,” he added.
When they were devising the menu for the event, Suggett said, they were mindful to use seasonal ingredients, such as asparagus, and to offer a variety of dishes, including something for vegetarians. They also aimed to make the menu as healthy and high quality as possible.
“Their focus really was on offering foods that are comforting, given the location they were serving,” said Mike O’Shea, program coordinator for hospitality and culinary arts at the Palos Hills college.
The Ronald McDonald House provides deeply discounted lodgings for families of children being treated at nearby Hope Children’s Hospital.
Sharmonique Robinson’s 7-month-old daughter Alasia Jamison is a patient at Hope. She and her niece, 5-year-old Nyzia Wilson, were first in line to sample the lunch buffet.
“Everything looks delicious,” Robinson said.
When asked her favorite, Nyzia pointed to the vegetable lasagne.
Dean Kapitan, whose family owns Palos Diner, said he’s loved to cook since the day his father let him in the kitchen.
“These kinds of outings are an opportunity for us to get better, to enhance our skills outside the classroom,” said Kapitan, of Palos Hills.
When they were finished setting up the buffet, the students unwrapped trays of cookies, brownies, opera tortes and cream puffs that they had made ahead of time in baking class.
For more information on the Moraine Valley Culinary and Hospitality Club, contact Mike O’Shea at firstname.lastname@example.org