Seniors flock to Da Silva's cooking classes
Gourmet pizza, homemade ravioli and pumpkin upside down cake are among the dishes participants can make at the New Adventures in Cooking classes held at senior centers in the Greater New Milford area.
Marianne De Silva of Roxbury, a professional chef for 18 years, teaches the classes at the Roxbury Senior Center on South Street, as well as in Woodbury, Oxford, Middlebury, Monroe, Southbury, Litchfield, New Fairfield and Morris.
She will also teach classes Oct. 7 and Nov. 4 at the Kent Senior Center.
The chef said she enjoys "everything" about her classes, including "creating many exciting topics for the classes, interacting with the senior center directors/coordinators, working with the centers to ensure the classes are filled, prepping before the class and cooking at the center during the class."
Of course, meeting new seniors is also enjoyable, she said.
Since she teaches at multiple senior centers, she e-mails and mails seasonal schedules to students so they can pick and choose the classes of interest to them.
Sometimes students attend as many as three classes a month.
Upcoming seasonal and themed class topics will include comfort foods, homemade ravioli 101, Mediterranean diet: cooking and eating healthy, gourmet pizza and more, Mardi Gras celebration, pasta Italiano: homemade pasta, a spring brunch to remember, Let's Celebrate Summer, summer's bounty, fall's comfort, Oktoberfest, PumpkinVenture and holiday take-alongs.
Ms. De Silva started cooking classes at the Roxbury Senior Center and soon realized they would be beneficial at other senior centers, too.
Since their inception, the classes have become popular.
"I've had both men and women attend, as well as couples," Ms. De Silva said.
"Most of the seniors attending love to cook, know how to cook, and just want to learn more," she said. "But anyone who has any interest in learning more about cooking should attend."
"They'll have an opportunity to socialize with friends, meet new people, laugh a lot, get new recipes and great tips, share their ideas with follow seniors and, at the same time, have fun," she said.
At the conclusion of the class, students will have an opportunity to eat what they've made.
Classes, which are demonstration-style and/or hands-on, are three hours, with the first two hours set aside for preparation and cooking.
"Many students cook all the meals that we make, and let me know the results at the next class," Ms. De Silva said. "Some are so very excited about their results that they'll e-mail me immediately."
"This is what really excites me... I just love hearing their comments and that they made the meal," she noted.
"There are students that stop on their way home from the class, get all the ingredients and make the meal again for dinner," the chef pointed out. "And, then there are some students who have no interest in cooking the meal once they leave the center; they are just there to socialize and eat a delicious meal."
For more information about the classes, e-mail Ms. De Silva at email@example.com or check out the Roxbury Senior Center's list of activities.