Longtime area chef leads cooking classes at Next Stage

PUTNEY — Next Stage Arts Project continues its highly-popular cooking class series with upcoming events on Monday, Feb. 12, and Monday, March 19, each from 6 to 9 p.m., at Next Stage, 15 Kimball Hill, taught by acclaimed chef, Linda Stavely.

The cost is $65. Registration is limited, tickets are available at nextstagearts.org.

The Feb. 12 class features a chocolate celebration. Participants in this class will learn all about chocolate just in time for Valentine's Day - including how to melt chocolate, the different kinds of chocolate, and when to use each.

Participants will make dishes such as chocolate fallen soufflé cake, chocolate espresso pots de cream, salted caramels dipped in dark chocolate, chocolate cups, hot fudge sauce, fruit dipped in different chocolates, and chocolate coated bacon, pretzels, and crackers.

The series concludes March 19 with Vietnamese cooking and exploration of this cuisine.

Dishes will include fresh spring rolls (filled with veggies, seafood, or sausage), chicken pho (Vietnamese chicken soup), fried rice with crab and vegetables, stir-fried pork balls with vegetables and noodles, and bananas with coconut milk custard.

At both classes, participants will dine together and wine is included. The classes are held at Next Stage's recently completely renovated state-of-the art commercial kitchen.

Instructor Linda Stavely has operated several culinary businesses in the past 40 years in the region.

She has traveled and studied in France, Italy, Mexico, the Middle East, and the Caribbean, as well as studying at the Vermont Culinary Center. She also worked with Julia Child when she visited Dublin in the 1990s.

Stavely, who helped start the Common Ground restaurant in Brattleboro as well as starting and running The Portable Feast at the Colony Mill Marketplace in Keene, is currently writing her first book on her food, travel, and catering adventures.

She has taught cooking classes in the Keene area for many years.

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