Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cooking Camp: Iron Chef

Back in April during Spring break, Dusty and I took a trip to Billings to investigate where we would be moving this June. We stayed with his grandpa Gordie and enjoyed many meals eating out with him around Billings and had a great time. The first night we were there we ate at my new favorite restaurant Jakes and when driving to the restaurant, I noticed a store called The Copper Colander. I told Dusty he had to take me there so I could check out the store because I love anything and everything to do with kitchen supplies and gourmet foods.

The moment I stepped into The Copper Colander I knew that I had to work there. I knew it would be the greatest part-time job I would ever have. Who wouldn't want to be surrounded by the things they love? When we were walking out of the store I noticed a "now hiring" sign in the door. I was so disappointed that they were looking to fill a position in March because I wouldn't be moving until June and I knew there would be no way I could get a job then. The likelihood of them having a job opening would be slim to none.

So our trip ended and Dusty and I traveled back to Missoula to continue our lives at the UM with school. One day, for some reason, I got a wild hair and decided to just put my resume out there and mail it to The Copper Colander in some small chance that they might be looking to hire in June. I was not very optimistic, but still wanted to try. Sending out a resume and cover letter never hurt anyone, did it?

To my overwhelming surprise, about a week later I received a call from the manager, Stacy, asking me if I'd like to come in for an interview when I came back to Billings in May for apartment searching. They were actually going to have someone leave in June and were looking to fill a position by the time I got there! How crazy is that?

It just shows you that taking a chance never hurt a person and now I have the best job I could ask for right now! I love working at The Copper Colander and the people that work there have made me feel more than welcome to my new home of Billings. My favorite part about my job is that I get to assist teaching culinary classes at the store and it is a real treat. It doesn't even feel like work!

This week was the Junior High Culinary Camp themed "Iron Chef." Each day there was a featured ingredient that we focused on to make 3 different types of dishes per ingredient. On Wednesday, the ingredient was "Sweet Potatoes," so we made Chicken Satay with a Sweet Potato/Peanut Sauce, Sweet Potato Fries and Sweet Potato Scones.

On Thursday, the featured ingredient was "Spices" and the kids made Jerk Chicken, Herb Dip with Veggies and Snickerdoodles.

In the background you can see Kristinna. She is the one actually teaching the class and I assist her. She has been absolutely wonderful to me and she so much fun to hang out with!
We laugh because we love Vera Bradley and the same three foods: Cream Cheese, Bacon and Cheese.
Does anybody not love those three foods?

On the last day of Iron Chef Camp, the featured ingredient was "Quick Oats." The kids made Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp, Oatmeal Cake with a Toffee Topping and No-Bake Cookies. To have some real fun in the kitchen, let loose and kick it up a notch, I split the 4 kids in 2 groups: Team Baking and Team Cooking. This is because two of the kids loved cooking more than baking, and vice versa.

I gave them the recipe for the No-Bake Cookies and told them they had 30 minutes in the kitchen alone without any of my help to create fun and creative No-Bake Cookies. After the cookies were complete, I would judge them on Creativity, Taste and Presentation. This is what they presented me with after 30 minutes....
On the right is Team Baking. They won the "Presentation" portion of the Iron Chef Challenge.
Team Cooking won the "Creativity" portion with the heart shaped cookie and Mickey Mouse cookie. But they both won in the "Taste" portion, so it was a tie!

We had such a blast at this weeks cooking camp with the kids! It amazed me how much these kids love food. I think they watch Food Network as much as me, which is a lot! I can't wait for next months cooking camp of "Cupcake Wars." It's gonna be a blast!
Man I love my job!


  1. SO fun!! Looks like a great class, I'm sure you're a killer teacher :)

  2. How awesome that your shop even does Iron Chef type classes for middle schoolers! Sounds like a fun place to work.

  3. Wow! How cool that you got a dream job on a whim!
    Can't wait to hear more culinary stories :)


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