ROCHESTER — They talked about the vivid colors of the vegetables. About the smell of the basil. And, of course, they tasted all the ingredients blending together in the perfect ways.
In the end, it was enough to make the group of young cooks bust with excitement on an otherwise lazy summer morning.
Local chef Youness Bojji opened his door Sunday for a small class of 15 children at the downtown restaurant Chez Bojji. From pizza to pasta to a dessert of fruit-covered cake, the group learned a little about the artistry behind the food they eat.
“Cooking is super easy and it’s super fun,” Bojji told the students. “There’s nothing that you can’t make. It’s all about being creative.”
Bojji said he hosts a cooking class about once a year, giving the students a relatively rare opportunity to learn from one of Rochester’s chefs.
With soft jazz playing in the background and the Broadway traffic zooming by the windows, Bojji helped his students explore the culinary world.
And they ate it up, so to speak.
“That cucumber idea was really good,” one student shouted out from their chair.
“Oh, that smells so good,” another exclaimed.
And over the course of the class, Bojji explained everything from the creativity of cooking to the safety of working with the tools of the kitchen.
You sprinkle the salt from up high to help disperse it around the food, rather than clumping it in one area, he said.
Think of the cutting knife like a bike, Bojji told the students. You’re in charge.
Ten-year-old Maddy Schweitzer said her favorite part of the class was the pizza.
“It was really different — like, you wouldn’t expect it to taste like that,” she said.
For Bojji’s part, he said he hosts the class to pass the love of cooking along to the next generation and to see the “joy in their eyes.”
“You’re showing the kids what somebody showed you,” he said. “You’re passing the knowledge to the next person.”
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