Published: Feb. 1, 2020 By

Making Tapas at CU Cooking Basics

As steam and spices intermixed in the air of the Village Commons dining hall, first-year students giggled as they stretched gooey cheese with spatulas. 

In mid-November, 15 students prepared Spanish tapas on individual skillets, spreading sautéed spinach, fresh tomatoes and mozzarella atop homemade polenta. Some created a berry version for dessert. 

It was a break from the daily lecture grind, but a lesson all the same. 

Since 2013, weekly CU cooking classes — Ralphie’s Cooking Basics — have aimed to teach students the fundamentals of meal preparing. 

“We recognize the need for students to learn critical life skills, and Ralphie’s Cooking Basics offers an outlet for students to interact with an executive campus chef and learn unique and easy cooking skills,” said Maggie Shelton, a CU student involvement coordinator. 

The free small-group classes run weekly throughout the fall and spring semesters. Participants are based on a first-come, first-served basis. Some students make lasting friendships during a class, said Shelton. 

“It fosters community,” she said. 

Five Cooking Lessons in Fall 2019: 

  1. Lasagna
  2. Quinoa veggie bowls with homemade pesto
  3. Chicken parmesean
  4. Pad thai
  5. Pizza 

Photos by Glenn Asakawa; Courtesy Maggie Shelton