Honors Cooking Class at Don Coqui

                 When you go to a restaurant, do you glimpse inside the briefly open kitchen door and wonder, “What is it like in there?” Luckily, the Pforzheimer Honors College offered an event this semester that allowed Honors students to experience a slight taste of life as a chef.  This event was held on March 30th at a Puerto Rican-inspired restaurant called Don Coqui, in New Rochelle, NY.  The atmosphere of the restaurant swept us away as we sat down in front of a state-of-the-art interactive kitchen. 

                  With great excitement and enthusiasm, the Executive Chef began the class by providing an introduction to what an interactive cooking party is, as well as outlining the dishes we were going to prepare. We were a special group, as we were this chef’s first cooking class. The dishes that night included gourmet salads, succulent entrées, and delectable desserts.  Examples of some of the mouth-watering dishes included delicious roasted pears cooked to perfection, roasted chicken, ravioli filled with sweet potatoes, and a molten chocolate cake. 

                  The kitchen quickly became hectic, as students moved in an organized scramble to grab their ingredients and get to work. Almost immediately, we realized that the “real deal” inside an actual kitchen must be extremely active.  I was part of the team that cooked the ravioli dish for the evening.  In the end, we enjoyed the fruits of our labor and a great meal. 

                  Overall, I have to say that I liked the event very much as it was eye-opening, fun, exciting, and I definitely walked away with the feeling of accomplishment.  John Robb, my ravioli-cooking companion, agreed and said his favorite part was “Cooking over the open flames.  It was wild.”  Looking around the room it was clear that every student thought the event was awesome. 

                  I would highly recommend that other students take part in this event in a heartbeat as it really is a  fulfilling experience.  Also, after participating in this event, students will get a better idea of what life is like behind those doors and how much hard work it takes to be a great chef.