The newly re-opened Whole Foods in Charlottesville is offering a bunch of free cooking classes and field trips! This past week, Dyan taught one called Salads 101. Here’s some more information on her and some of her tips.
You do an introduction at the beginning of each class, but could you give an overview of your past?
I am a graduate of L’Academie de Cuisine (Bethesda, MD) and did my internship at The Occidental under Chef Jeff Buben. I have also worked for Michel Richard at Citronelle. I have lots of catering experience too, I really enjoy events, especially weddings!
And you current position at Whole Foods?
I am a Demo Specialist
How did you end up at Whole Foods?
I was actually with WF about 9 years ago and met my husband. We ended up moving to Fredericksburg and so I had to leave WF (sniff!). It took me this long to get back with this awesome company and I don’t even plan on leaving again!
Were you always interesting in cooking? Were you always good at it?
Well, I was always interested in eating, that’s for sure. I never thought about cooking professionally until a friend of mine started investigating cooking schools, and then I was hooked!
You have done a seafood class and a salad class. What are some of your favorite seafood dishes? Salads?
I am a Baltimore girl at heart, so an afternoon spent picking steamed blue crabs is perfect for me. Also, being a Baltimore girl, it is required that I make a great crab cake. Also, a fried softshell crab sandwich on white bread with lots of mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato is simply sublime!
As for salads, I love really great potato salad. I think I could live on potato salad! Also, there is a very traditional French salad called Frisée Aux Lardons and includes Frisée, Poached Egg, Lardons, Blue Cheese, Red Wine Vinegar. It is my favorite all-time salad ever!
What’s your favorite thing to cook? To eat?
I love Asian foods and I make a chicken stir fry with peanut sauce. It’s very quick and filling without being too heavy. Lately, my favorite thing to eat is a huge bowl of Pho. Unfortunately, Charlottesville doesn’t have a great noodle house, so I have to go the Richmond to Pho 79 on Staples Mill Road. Wait, I take that back. Pad Thai next to Beer Run has a some pretty good Pho. Their Curry Bowl is too die for!
What are some of your favorite Whole Foods items to buy?
Cheese! Our 365 brand Goat Cheese is incredible. Also, I’ve been discovering all the great new items on our extended hot bars and salad bars. We smoke our own meats now here at the store and they are incredible! We offer them on the hot bar so it’s a great idea for a quick dinner. Just grab some bbq sauce, a bag of buns, some coleslaw and you’ve got dinner!
Any tips for shoppers on how to buy delicious food without breaking the bank?
Be sure to pick up a copy of our Hot Deals circular that you will find at the front of the store. Look for our Great Value items, subscribe to our email list for advance notice of sales, and make sure you stock up on our One Day Deal offers!
Food item you can’t go without?
Sriracha Hot Sauce. I am addicted and put it in everything!
Items everyone should have in their kitchen?
Sea Salt. Black Peppercorns and a pepper grinder. Sriracha Hot Sauce. Balsamic Vinegar. Olive Oil. Chocolate!
Just a peek from your Salads 101 course: Directions on how to make a vinaigrette dressing.
Dijon Mustard (about 1 Tablespoon)
Balsamic Vinegar (about 2-3 Tablespoons)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (about ¼ cup)
Whisk all together. Salt and pepper to taste!
Don’t forget to check Charlottesville’s Whole Foods calender for all the great upcoming events!