Exploring your pasta-bilities; Learning to cook at WC

Marcellus Telesford


The Whittier College Program Board and Food Recovery Network hosted the first ever Poet Pride Cooking Class this past Wednesday Feb. 27. The class was hosted by Bon Appétit and led by Executive Chef Frank Gurrol. Program Board advertised that during the course participants would learn how to make “house-made ricotta and ravioli with ground Impossible Meat with smoked tomato and local basil sauce.”

To start, students were handed three sheets of paper, each peppered with relevant information about the process of making the dish from scratch, the history of the ingredients that they would be using, and knife safety tips to practice whilst in the kitchen.

Chef Gurrol used to work at the Getty Villa, where he would receive nearly 500 orders of ravioli on weekends. Each order contained five pieces of the pasta, requiring him and his team to craft 2,500 pieces of the ravioli.

Participants were first instructed on how to make the ravioli dough and then taught how to properly heat and skim a mixture of white vinegar and milk, which would eventually become ricotta cheese. Chef Gurrol taught his students the techniques he uses to properly “fine dice” the onion and garlic, which would later be added to his marinara sauce.

Bolognese (meat-based) sauce is a typical filling for many variations of ravioli. Chef Gurrol used Impossible Meat— a vegetarian concoction made from different plant proteins and egg. The chef applied the sauce to the dough, folded part of the flattened dough over the bolognese sauce, and finally cut out circular pieces of ravioli and let it boil.  

After Chef Gurrol finished boiling the first batch, he plated a ravioli for each participant to enjoy. After eating, he asked the members of the audience to try to make their own ravioli, guiding each person through the techniques and nuances that it takes to execute the dish. 

While students were cooking, General Manager of Bon Appétit Craig Irby gave advice on how to be more food conscious, recommending that students who cook for themselves: plan their meals in advance, only buy what is needed to make the meals, and avoid consuming meat at least two days out of the week in order to save money and be conscience of the environment. 

After the class had finished, the Quaker Campus asked Irby and Gurrol about Bon Appetit’s involvement with the Food Recovery Network at Whittier, which donates untouched food to St. Matthias. They have been working alongside the program for years. They also said that since September, there have been over 1,000 pounds of food that have been donated to the St. Matthias’ food pantry.

Hopefully, Whittier College and its students will decide to be more aware of their decisions about food so that we can further improve our larger community’s ability to access enough nutritious food.