By Debra Bell
Special to The Weekly
VEAZIE — Foodies, rejoice: There’s a new cooking school in town — the Maine Kitchen Cooking School to be precise.
Housed at R.M. Flagg Company’s store, located at 1212 State St. in Veazie, the Maine Kitchen Cooking School is the brainchild of Joe and Stacey Guerin, owners of Flagg’s. The Guerins, who purchased Flagg’s five years ago, have made a commitment to support the professional cooking community while encouraging the public to think, buy and dine locally.
Part of that commitment comes in the form of supporting crossover clientele.
“Our retail customers have shown a lot of interest in cooking and talked a lot about what they saw on Food Network,” Joe Guerin said. “We thought we could do our own version of Food Network. When we put the feelers out to [local] executive chefs, there was a huge interest.”
The Guerin’s believe that it’s imperative to support other local businesses. And Stacey said that they’re thrilled to offer the Maine Kitchen Cooking School.
“The school will have chefs from across Maine,” Stacey said. “We really want to promote local restaurants. All of the chefs who are participating are Flagg’s clients.”
Classes will be held at Flagg’s in an 18-seat classroom of butcher-block tables surrounded by wire shelves full of Maine products and accented with photographs of food created by Mary Hartt Dysart. Natural light streams in from large windows that face the demonstration area. A big-screen television will help show what the chef instructor is doing.
Most classes, Stacey said, will be demonstration-only, but some classes will be hands-on. All classes will have samples of the food cooked, as well as recipes for participants to take home. Advance registration is highly recommended. All classes are scheduled for 6:30-8 p.m.
The current schedule is:
• A Taste of Bar Harbor, Tuesday, May 6. Instructor is Bar Harbor Inn Executive Chef Lou Kiefer, who will prepare Mache Salad with honey citrus vinaigrette, toasted almonds and cranberries, Frenchman Bay Bouillabaisse with French bread and Grand Marnier Creme Brule with Maine blueberries. Demonstration class only. This demonstration class costs $29.99 per person, due at registration.
• Cake and cupcake decorating secrets, Thursday, May 22. The instructor is Jennifer Vigue, who works for Tri-County Technical Center in Dexter and formerly worked for Frank’s Bake Shop in Bangor. This hands-on class costs $19.99 per person, due at registration. Supplies can be purchased at the class or bring your own.
• Fresh from the Sea Maine Blue Mussels, Tuesday, June 3. The instructor is chef owner Brian Langley of the Union River Lobster Pot in Ellsworth. Chef Langley will teach participants the secrets of preparing Maine Blue Mussels. This demonstration class costs $29.99 per person, due at registration.
• Make your own Gravlox, Tuesday, July 15. Gravlox is a cured salmon dish. The instructor is Bangor Bacon Club founder Allen Schaffer, who has served as an instructor for the Old Orchard Beach Cooking Instruction Class. This is a hands-on class that requires participants to bring supplies with them. The class costs $49.99 per person, due at registration.
• A Plethora of Pestos, Tuesday, Aug. 5. The instructor is Brian Ross, a local chef and culinary master with a penchant for Bangor. Participants will be able to try eight different pestos, eight different ways. This demonstration class costs $29.99 per person, due at registration.
More classes are being planned for the fall.
“[The Maine Kitchen Cooking School] is for anybody,” Stacey said. “We have couples who want to do it, a single woman, families with older children and line cooks who want to expand their knowledge without going to school fulltime. We’re really doing this to help local restaurants and energize people to buy and enjoy local food.”
To learn more about the Maine Kitchen Cooking School, visit its Facebook page or go to Flagg’s website rmflagg.com, or call 945-9463.