Michael Mansfield is a local Red Seal chef who has worked at fine restaurants and upscale catered events the past 15 years.
Now he’s offering to share his expertise with the community.
Mansfield is co-ordinating a new series of chef cooking classes at The Cheese Store in Point Edward, with its fully-equipped kitchen and dining area on the second floor.
Classes begin in January and are planned several times a month, ranging in cost from $80 to $200 per person, with food and cooking tools often available to take home.
For instance, the price of classes on basic and advanced knife skills includes a board and knife for students to keep.
One of the first classes on Jan. 27 is a Girls Night Out to learn how to make appetizers, and includes serving what’s made in class, copies recipes and a limousine ride home.
This isn’t the first time Mansfield, 36, has taught locally.
After graduating from Stratford’s Chef School, he cooked at various restaurants including the Forest Golf and Country Club and Olives in Sarnia. He helped open several dining rooms including one that served French cuisine in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Returning to Sarnia in 2007, Mansfield was the chef at Landmark Village, then at the Brigantine, before becoming a culinary management instructor at Lambton College.
“I also run my own catering business and was doing an event for Marty and Pam Raaymakers (who co-own The Cheese Store),” he explained. “They asked me about running classes and increasing the skill level and appreciation for cheese in the community.”
Most, but not all, the cooking classes have some tie-in with cheese, Mansfield said.
“Cheese can elevate pretty much every meal. You just have to know how to pair it.”
Mansfield said he cooks with a variety of cheeses, including many that are tricky to find locally but available at The Cheese Store.
“I’ve got some favourites that I can’t find anywhere else close by,” he said. They include Tartufo from Italy, a sheep milk cheese with black truffles; or Charnwood smoked cheddar and cave-aged gruyere.
Mansfield has recruited a number of other local chefs including Melissa Lumley, who kicks things off Jan. 21 with a class about stocks, soups and gravy. Other guest chefs include Josina Washington, Nigel Beach and Brian Vickery.
Registration is open to groups, individuals and couples. Each class will accommodate a maximum of 12. Call The Cheese Store, located at 510 Michigan Ave, at 519-491-1199 to register at least a week in advance.
Chef series details are available at www.thecheesestore.ca.
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