UNA Culinary Department demos cookbook recipes

Chef TJ Seagraves demonstrates a recipe for the Culinary Department on April 12.

The culinary arts department treated the crowd to samples the evening of April 12 while demonstrating the creation of some of the recipes that can be found in the student-created cookbook that is now for sale.

Johnson Ogun, the director of the culinary arts department, greeted everyone at the door as they filed past the silent auction and found their seats in the spacious main room of UNA’s East Campus.

“This is a good event to showcase what we are doing here in the culinary arts department,” Ogun said.

The demonstration was conducted by three students at the classroom kitchen. Behind the kitchen was a large screen set up to show the counter-top actions of the chefs, much like on television cooking shows.

Chef Louis Yuille, a culinary arts assistant, oversaw the demonstration as chefs Ashley Whitehead, T.J. Seagraves and Eric Wilson prepared varied samples of dishes. UNA student chefs brought the crowd small cups of melon soup, pasta salad, curry okra, sweet potatoes, pork tenderloin and tiramisu at the completion of each demonstration.

“Tonight is about promoting the cookbook and getting the word out to everyone about the culinary program we have going on here at UNA,” Yuille said. “The cookbook was a student-driven project, and the majority of the recipes were created by our students.”

Also included in the cookbook are recipes to the dishes served through the culinary arts department’s Brown Bag Program.

“We worked on putting this cookbook together for about six months,” Seagraves said. “The money we raise from the sales will go to paying for the printing—but also future trips for the culinary arts department. We’ve visited places like the Atlanta Farmers’ Market, and we would like to be able to continue that for our program.”

For UNA senior Ashley Whitehead, the cookbook was part of her capstone project.

“I like that by doing this I was able to put something in people’s hands and be hands-on versus the standard thesis or paper with most senior projects,” she said.

Whitehead said that, since her involvement with the culinary arts department, she has seen it constantly improving and has had an overall great experience. With UNA’s first student-created cookbook, she might be leaving something behind when she graduates.

“This cookbook has had a really good reception so far, and hopefully a second and third will follow,” Whitehead said. “Maybe this will be a tradition that will continue in our department.”

For UNA student Eric Wilson, the culinary arts department was a natural fit.

“I originally came to UNA for the entertainment industry, but I had already been working in kitchens and eventually gravitated toward their culinary arts program,” Wilson said. “I really enjoy what I do, and I know I can make a career out of it when I leave here.”

Wilson also mentioned the continuing growth of the department.

“The culinary arts department at UNA is getting larger as a program and people are slowly getting more excited about what we’re doing,” he said. “We’d like to keep working toward getting a restaurant run by the culinary arts program like other culinary schools around the country.”

Yuille said the Culinary Arts Department at UNA is the only four-year culinary program in the state.

“We have a great kitchen with everything anyone would need to learn to use,” he said. “And by the time a student leaves our program, they would be prepared to take on a managerial role.”

The first ever UNA Culinary Arts Department Cookbook can be purchased by contacting Joan Smith, Administrative Assistant of Human Environmental Sciences, at 256-765-4313 or [email protected]. Brown Bag lunch orders can be purchased through her as well. Prices for the Brown Bag lunches are two for $15 or four for $25.