Since late last year, Chef Christine Wansleben, Owner/Culinary Director of Mise En Place in downtown Richmond, has been delighting homeowners and guests at our Mosaic at West Creek community in Goochland County. With over 20 years of culinary experience, Chef Christine offers monthly cooking demonstrations at The Conservatory at Mosaic. These demonstrations are a fun way for homeowners to get to know one another, share cooking stories or favorite restaurants, and learn new culinary techniques. We sat down with Chef Christine to learn her secrets about teaching others about cooking.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire and graduated from Syracuse University in the early 90s. I started working in the fashion/garment industry for several years until I decided to try something else. In 1996, I decided to pursue my love of cooking and go to culinary school. I found a school I could go to at night and still work my day job. In 1997, I received my Culinary Degree from Peter Kump’s Cooking School – now the Institute of Culinary Education. I started working in restaurants full time right up until moving to Richmond in 2001.
What do you love most about teaching culinary classes?
I love sharing my food stories as well as hearing others’ stories. We can all always learn something new about food. And cooking should be enjoyable – not a chore.
What are some of your favorite ingredients to cook with?
There’s not much I don’t like cooking with. I try to cook seasonal and get my ingredients from the farmer’s market. Right now, it’s leeks and asparagus from my garden.
Do you have ingredient/recipe recommendations for healthy meals during the summer months?
I think quinoa bowls are great for warm-weather dining. You can make a delicious bowl for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Quinoa is a super grain – gluten free- and is delicious with fresh fruits and nuts, with maple syrup or chickpeas, rotisserie chicken, avocado slices, and a delicious tahini dressing.
What advice do you have for individuals who are looking to expand their culinary skills?
Start with one good recipe and give it a try. Get a good chef’s knife and keep it sharp. It’s doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy – just one that feels comfortable in your hand. And pick a recipe that you will enjoy eating. Or take a Mise En Place cooking class. They’re fun and interactive and can help guide you through the world of food.
At HHHunt, we believe it’s how you live that matters, and we love providing our homeowners with unique experiences to enrich their lives. We invite you to come explore Mosaic at West Creek today to learn more about this one-of-a-kind community for those 55 and better.