OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - You can learn to cook like the pros, while supporting a well-known attraction in Ocean Springs. Chefs from across South Mississippi are volunteering their time and talents at the Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center. The cooking program is tempting a lot of new students.
Take the top two executive chefs from the Beau Rivage Casino and Resort, add a dash of fresh ingredients, toss in some enthusiastic students, and you have the right recipe for a cooking class.
"Oh, I think it's wonderful!" said Vicki Williams.
The Ocean Springs resident was among 20-students who want to sharpen their cooking skills. They signed up for the Lunch and Learn Series at the Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center.
"I'm learning that they use a lot of butter. Right now, it would be great," she said.
This month, the chefs at the Beau are volunteering by holding cooking demonstrations. All the proceeds will go back to the cultural center.
"We're very lucky to have them here. They're donating their time and groceries in support of the Mary C. We are a non-profit and we have a small budget to do this with, so it's been wonderful having them in and supporting us like this," said Mary C. Resident Chef Cheri Hiers.
The students learned how to prepare gourmet meals.
"It's a good way to learn. You don't want to follow a bad cook," said Jim Matthews of Pass Christian.
On the menu: Roasted organic pork from Alabama, mashed potatoes, and roasted root vegetables.
"It's a great program. We talk about the food when we're ready to serve it. We show them a couple of techniques, and I think it's a good deal for us to give to the community and everyone seems to enjoy it," said Beau Rivage Executive Chef Joseph Friel.
Once the cooking wrapped-up, it was time for a taste test.
"I think I could cook the beets. This is great!" said Williams.
The Lunch and Learn program showcases different types of culinary experts, local cuisine, and techniques. Each one-hour session costs $12.
"They get to learn something new every day. Some days, it'll be pastries. Some days, it'll be meats. Hopefully, they can take away something they can go home and practice and do themselves," said Hiers.
And they don't have to worry about washing the dishes.