Baked salmon and deep-fried cheese empanadas were on the menu during the final class in the Winter Cooking From Scratch series Monday, Feb. 29, at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen. This class on cooking homemade empanadas was taught by Barbara Palacios, the sous chef at the Westmark Sitka Hotel.
This was the fourth class in the Winter Cooking From Scratch series, which saw a variety of local chefs teach the classes. The first class in the series (Homemade Pasta) was taught by Edith Johnson (formerly chef of the Fly-In Fish Inn and now with the Sitka Hotel), and the second class (Ancient Grains and Gut Health) was taught by Dr. Julien Naylor, an internal medicine specialist who also is a trained chef. A third class (Sauces and Dressings) taught by Kathy Jones (executive chef at the Westmark Sitka Hotel) was postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date. In addition, the Sitka Kitch recently hosted a special fundraising class (Quick and Easy Thai Cooking) taught by local health program manager Nancy Knapp.
The Sitka Kitch was a project of the 2013 Sitka Health Summit, and the project is coordinated by the Sitka Conservation Society, in partnership with the Sitka Local Foods Network. The Sitka Kitch, which is located in the First Presbyterian Church (505 Sawmill Creek Road), can be rented to teach cooking and food preservation classes, by local cottage food industry entrepreneurs who need a commercial kitchen to make their products, and for large groups needing a large kitchen for a community dinner.
The Sitka Kitch also is offering a Basic Culinary Skills class series taught by Westmark Hotel executive chef Kathy Jones in March, and there is still room for students to take those classes. The Basic Culinary Skills series is designed to help people who want to find work in the restaurant or catering fields improve their kitchen skills (these classes also will be open to people who want to improve their home cooking skills).
A slideshow of scenes from the homemade empanadas class is posted below: