By ZEINAB NAJM
A group of 5- to 16-year-olds filled the newly opened Zee the Cook’s culinary studio, 24732 W. Warren Ave. in Dearborn Heights, July 6 for a chance to cook with Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly Jr.
On the menu for the sold out class of over 30 students was a Caesar salad, pizza, fettuccine or marinara pasta and cupcakes.
Zee Shami is a certified chef and food blogger who began hosting cooking classes for children and adults after friends and family kept asking for her recipes.
After three years of hosting cooking classes in supermarkets, resultants and bakeries she finally has her own space for her students. She celebrated a soft opening for her studio on June 19 and a grand opening on July 5.
“I live in Dearborn but knew this location was perfect because it’s a safe neighborhood for my students, has less traffic with good exposure and my own parking,” Shami said. “Everyone always wanted my recipes so I wanted to show how to prepare food live in person because I don’t really write down recipes.”
O’Reilly said he has a love for cooking so being part of the class was an easy decision for him.
“All my children know how to cook and are self-sufficient,” he said. “It is something everyone should know how to do more because it let’s them have variety and good food options.”
Each class begins with students creating their chef hats with any design they please and ends with students eating the fruits of their labor.
Throughout the class with O’Reilly, students cracked eggs for cupcake batter, chopped garlic and peppers, rolled out pizza dough and selected their toppings and decorate their cupcakes.
Student Nagy Bazzi, 10, said his favorite part of the class is that he can make a mess while creating his meals because at home he doesn’t have that option.
Another student, Rafi Baydoun, 8, said making his own food is his favorite part about cooking. He also said macaroni and cheese and chicken wings are the two things he’s enjoys cooking the most.
Shami said her students are eager to eat their meals more after they have prepared them because they put in the hard work.
“With each class I teach the students safety in the kitchen, keeping a clean working station and utensils, how to use the oven and stove, what food can and cannot touch their skin and healthy eating,” she said.
Also, Shami said students in her class are more likely to try all types of food becoming less picky, which is a delight to their parents.
For more information or to sign a child up for a class, go go zeethecook.com
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)