News / Arts & Entertainment

    Pros Help Home Chefs Spice Up Family Meals

    Susan Logue
    Jane Rasmussen likes to make dinner for her family at least twice a week.

    “It’s just really nice to have a good meal together,” she says.

    But like most American women, Rasmussen has a job as well as a family. As an attorney, it's hard for her to find time to cook. It doesn’t help that her children can be picky eaters.

    So Rasmussen went to Culinaria Cooking School for help.

    Creating better meals

    Culinaria offers classes in everything from the basics to advanced techniques for baking.

    Jane Rasmussen taking a cooking class at Culinaria in Vienna, Virginia. (VOA/S. Logue)Jane Rasmussen taking a cooking class at Culinaria in Vienna, Virginia. (VOA/S. Logue)
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    Jane Rasmussen taking a cooking class at Culinaria in Vienna, Virginia. (VOA/S. Logue)
    Jane Rasmussen taking a cooking class at Culinaria in Vienna, Virginia. (VOA/S. Logue)
    The students don’t aspire to become professionals. They just want to create better meals, says CEO Stephen Sands.  “It has been a change. Cooking has had a great explosion in interest.”

    That explosion is reflected in the rapid growth of Culinaria, which began offering classes two years ago.

    “We now have I believe 15 chefs working at the school," Sands says. "When we first started, there were four."

    Cooking trend 

    Television programs, including an entire cable channel devoted to cooking, are one reason students are filling kitchen classrooms across the U.S.

    But Sands says there's another reason.  “I have watched a change from people just grabbing something out of the freezer and putting it in the microwave and everyone eating at different times to everyone sitting down and enjoying a meal together.  I think that is coming back into the mix.”
    Jane Rassmussen's family sits down to a dinner inspired by her recent cooking lessons. (VOA/S. Koster)Jane Rassmussen's family sits down to a dinner inspired by her recent cooking lessons. (VOA/S. Koster)
    x
    Jane Rassmussen's family sits down to a dinner inspired by her recent cooking lessons. (VOA/S. Koster)
    Jane Rassmussen's family sits down to a dinner inspired by her recent cooking lessons. (VOA/S. Koster)


    That’s certainly true for the Rasmussens. Jane says everyone is happier when they can sit down and eat together.

    Trying new things

    And they like that she is cooking new things since taking the class. 

    “She’s much more innovative,” says husband Kurt.

    “She is willing to try new stuff that she might not necessarily like, but she thought the family would like,” says Jack, 14.

    And Kate, 11, who says she only likes about 10 different foods, is happier at dinner time.  “She [has] made things I’ve never had before or never really heard of, but they were really good.”

    Jane Rasmussen says she would consider taking another cooking class, and her husband Kurt says he would like to join her. If they could find the time.

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