Food Services and Campus Recreation to offer cooking, food safety classes

Photo courtesy UNO Communications
The first class will be offered March 14 at 2 p.m. in H&K 116.
Greg Staskiewicz

University of Nebraska at Omaha Food Services and Campus Recreation have partnered to host free cooking demonstrations to teach students about cooking and food safety.

The first demonstration will teach students about food safety, said Branden Williams, food services manager. The event is planned for 2 to 3 p.m. on March 14 in room 116 of the Health and Kinesiology building.

“There are some things that people don’t realize that are fact, and some things that are fiction,” Williams said.

About the five-second rule, Williams said, “There is no such thing.”

He said a common myth about food safety is that it is unnecessary to wash oranges before eating them. Washing an orange is still necessary, he said, because the hand may transfer contamination from the peel to the fruit.

The first demonstration will be geared toward spring and outdoor cooking, Williams said. The session will be mostly informational.

Zachary Himmelberg, a graduate assistant at Campus Recreation, said the demonstration will give basic information about proper handling of food in situations such as grilling with friends or having a picnic.

“I know students are going to be interested in the free food as well,” he said.

Williams said the second demonstration, focused on dormitory cooking, is planned for April 23, from 2 to 3 p.m. in H&K 116.

Williams, who will be giving both demonstrations, said he will develop recipes that students will be able to prepare cheaply on the equipment available in residence halls.

“Keep it in mind, again, that I was a college student at one time. It needs to be cost-sensitive,” he said. “I remember when I was in college, whether I had money or not, I didn’t feel like I had anything.”

“We can’t assume everybody has been to culinary school,” Williams said. “We can’t assume that everybody can afford the different delicacies that are available.”

One way college students can save money on food, Williams said, is to buy bread at the local Rotella’s bakery, where their bread is sold cheaply.

The demonstration will teach students about new trends in cooking, how to bring out different flavors in food and make high-quality food at a good price, he said.

Williams said he encourages students who attend the demonstrations to reach out to him by email beyond the classroom if they need cooking advice.

“We can always discuss cooking and how to grow their skills within their own kitchen,” he said.

Williams said before he was the food services manager at UNO, he taught culinary arts at a community college in Virginia.

Students will be able to attend the demonstrations for free and without signing up, Himmelberg said.