If the only thing you can make for dinner is reservations, then the monthly kitchen workshops hosted by UTM Dining Services are something you need to try.

Open to faculty, students, and the community, this free workshop offers those in attendance the knowledge and guidance to try their hands at making healthy and wholesome meals.

Last Thursday afternoon, UTM’s Gordon Ramsey, Chef Sandeep Kachroo, greeted students with recipe cards and aprons. Individuals were then divided into groups and assigned various gluten-free and nutritious dishes to create, such as coconut brown rice pudding, pan-grilled chicken with pineapple salsa, and Greek lentil soup.

The theme for this month’s workshop was “Winter Healthy Habits”, and the options were items that students, such as third-year environmental science student Urvesh Prajapati, planned on recreating at home.

“I know this is going to help me because it’s going to give me one more thing to cook other than pizza,” said Prajapati.

Everyone started working together—mixing ingredients, pan-frying the chicken, and presenting the final products on plates. It was messy, but everyone was clearly having a great time.

Finally, after many spills and measuring mishaps, groups presented their masterpieces and tried to sell the health benefits of their creations to the audience. Some audience members bought it and tried the dishes, and a few adventurous chefs tasted the work of their peers.

Thankfully, the chefs in the kitchen had prepared the same dishes, which students were free to help themselves to at the end.

The experience was more than memorable, not only because of the friendships made, but because it was a huge learning experience for many, like third-year environmental management student Andrew Fenech.

“I had a lot of fun today; it was great learning how to sustain myself in a sustainable way. Using local food and food from around the world really expanded my pallet. This is my first time coming, and I can say it was a great experience in terms of making friends and engaging with UTM Dining Services,” said Fenech.

Fenech was a part of the team that recreated the Italian garbanzo salad with fennel and called themselves the “Whisk Takers”. Although I don’t think there was much “whisk” involved in making their salad, their “fennel” product still tasted delicious.

UTM alumnus Rahul Mehta also attended the workshop for the first time and said it was a great opportunity to make friends and have fun—something that more students should take advantage of.

“It is a great chance to learn how to cook, and it provides students—especially those who live off campus—with quick and health-conscious meal options that they can easily make at home,” said Mehta.

So if you’ve been living off Mr. Noodles since the start of the semester, maybe it’s “thyme” you start building your cooking repertoire at the next workshop.