For more and more people, learning to cook has become a pleasure rather than an obligation. In all homes, families need to have the minimum notion of how to prepare simple food. But, in addition to satisfying the need for food, the kitchen has also become an escape valve from the daily routine for many. And more and more venues now offer endless possibilities in this regard.
Aula Culinària del Vallès
Created in Granollers 10 years ago by Lola Garcia Oliver, who always dreamt of opening a cooking school. Lola and her team of eight offer free-time and other regulated courses, such as the certificate of professional kitchen assistants. They have been approved as a school by the Generalitat for their FOAP-SOC and SEPE courses for two years now. Garcia Oliver explains that they get “a lot of people who don’t have a qualification, who want to learn to work in any kitchen in a restaurant, hospital, nursing home, school canteen... Above all, they get many women aged 50 to 55, who want to reinvent themselves”. And then there are the amateurs, “those who like to cook and want to have a good time and disconnect”. “People come to us mainly from the Vallès Oriental, but also from the Maresme, and even from Castelldefels, Berga, Tossa de Mar, Sabadell, Terrassa..., and Barcelona”, Garcia Oliver says. Her charisma and passion for cooking are transmitted to the students and creates a friendly atmosphere that makes learning to cook easier. Every week, especially on Fridays and weekends, they plan fun cooking workshops, such as Mexican cuisine, croquettes, Japanese cuisine, rice..., or the trendiest one now – street food. The groups have fourteen or sixteen people and when they finish preparing the dishes, they all sit at the table to share them over a drink, and “laugh a lot”.
Ada Parellada has cooking in her blood. She was born amid casseroles, pans, capipota, cannelloni, and the coming and going of waiters, diners, passers-by and cooks at Fonda Europa, an establishment belonging to the Parellada family, deeply rooted in Granollers and Vallès Oriental. “We were like a circus family, all living life together. We all ended up learning how to make a sofregit, (base sauce), how to eat and how to cook, how to distinguish foods”, she explains. And out of this innate knowledge came the passion for cooking, and the idea of setting up her own restaurant in Barcelona, Semproniana. As a good professional, she is aware that it is just as important to be in the kitchen as in the dining room, doing public relations and serving the customers.
In 2020, she spontaneously started posting recipes on social media under the name “cooking in a bathrobe”. “One morning, at seven o’clock, my daughter said to me: ’My brother and I have passed all our exams, we’ve finished our degree. Why don’t you make us a yogurt cake as a reward?’” And I thought: “I’ll do it and I’ll do a live show online.” And I didn’t realise it then, but I was doing a sociological experiment. In the summer, I created “cooking in flip-flops”, which I continue to do every year, and it was a success.” The chef at Semproniana is a staunch defender of local products and Catalan recipes. “We are losing cooking at home and when we lose the cuisine, we lose our own recipes. The food industry has no local sensitivity, it is all just global interests, we’ll end up eating all baos and cochinita pibil, and lose diversity, becoming slaves and victims of the food industry.” Ada’s videos are no more than a minute and a half in length and some have no sound, only music, to make them easily understandable. “We have to find a way that means cooking doesn’t destroy priorities and doesn’t force us to stop loving and taking care of the things we like. That’s why we lower the demands and try to make cooking easy and doable, while preserving recipes, gaining autonomy and raising self-esteem.
Dos Quarts de Cinc
“Cooking is like a hobby for me”, Soriano says. “I like to make and discover new products and recipes, especially sweets. When it comes to food, children didn’t know where the products came from, about the different seasons, the benefits of food...”
The project also organises anniversary parties, workshops and different activities related to food. For ages 16-18, they offer summer courses at the Gra youth centre in Granollers, combining leisure, cooking and arts and crafts.
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