Registrants for Kyle Nottingham’s next online cooking class are being told to prepare by “channeling your great grandmothers’ energy.”
Such advice is no surprise coming from a chef whose work in the kitchen has always been inspired by the wisdom of his ancestors. And this nod to the past will connect to the technology of today when he takes center stage – er, screen – for a “Hello to Fall Flavors” cooking class this Tuesday evening, September 29, via Zoom.
The class is being conducted in concert with Flying Aprons Tucson, a local cooking school that temporarily shifted to a virtual format in the face of pandemic-related gathering restrictions. But this approach isn’t new to Nottingham who hosted his own series of online classes earlier this year.
“These provide great opportunities for us to remain connected with our guests while giving them the chance to be part of a super fun and interactive learning experience around different types of cuisine,” said Nottingham, chef/partner with Ares Collective, which owns and operates August Rhodes Bakery, Commoner & Co., and Prep & Pastry. “Plus, as an instructor, it’s rewarding when you get to see photos of class participants’ finished dishes. That’s the coolest part.”
When thinking about the fall season, Nottingham celebrates what he calls “the change of availability within food and the change of different ingredients becoming available.” He points to harvest vegetables as examples, the root vegetables, late squashes, pumpkins and others.
“These are the hearty kinds of flavors that give that comfortable feeling of warmth,” he said.
Which brings us back to great grandma.
Nottingham’s dish for the virtual class will be anchored by scratch-made gnocchi, and there’s no dispute that everything that anyone’s great grandmother ever made was built entirely from scratch.
“If you’ve never made pasta from scratch before, this is a great class to start with,” he said. “Get ready to produce something that’s generational, something to pass down, and something to inspire those round-the-table experiences with your own families.”
Nottingham tells me that gnocchi classes are among his favorites because it’s something that few people have tried to make before.
“No one ever says ‘I think I’m going home to whip up some gnocchi tonight,’ it’s pretty outside of the typical weekly schedule for a lot of people,” he said. “But if I can introduce a new technique or tradition, especially those that people can remember, relate to, or come back to, that’s where the beauty is.”
For plating alongside the ricotta gnocchi, Nottingham will demonstrate his techniques for roasting and caramelizing fall root vegetables including parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash, along with pumpkin with desert sage and local honey.
The class tuition is $40 per screen. Participants will receive details, including the recipe and a grocery shopping list, upon registration at flyingapronstucson.com. The first 50 people who register will receive the ingredients for free.
On the following evening, September 30, Flying Aprons will host another in its series of online cooking classes with Tucson’s reigning Iron Chef Wendy Gauthier of Chef Chic.
In this “Cook Like an Iron Chef” class, Gauthier will kick out a minty pea soup, shrimp Francese, basil parmesan risotto, and strawberry icebox cake, while offering her credentialed perspectives on what it takes to win a high-stakes cooking competition.
Flying Aprons classes are designed to “feed your passion.” With chefs like Kyle Nottingham and Wendy Gauthier on the faculty, passion is always on parade.
Contact Matt Russell, whose day job is CEO of Russell Public Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Russell is also the publisher of OnTheMenuLive.com as well as the host of the Friday Weekend Watch segment on the “Buckmaster Show” on KVOI 1030 AM.