By Greg Bintz, Zach Glander, Daniel Bestul, & Jordon Lawrenz
UWGB Dining hosted its second “Teaching Kitchen” event of the spring semester on March 28.
The first event of the semester took place in January, with future events planned monthly throughout the rest of the semester. Nearly half a dozen were in attendance on Tuesday for the event. Jill Steen, a baker for Chartwells, was in charge of guiding students to make cream puffs. Kylie Heisz, the Marketing Coordinator at UWGB, said, “We have been wanting to have Jill do a Teaching Kitchen for a while, and it just so happened that her schedule allowed us to do one with her this month!”.
Those in attendance first began by preparing a dough. Once the dough was formed and put into ball shapes, they were put into the oven. While the cream puffs were baked, students then made the whipped topping to go inside the cream puffs once they were done. After letting the cream puffs cool down, students then sliced the puffs in half and filled them with cream before putting them in a box to take home. Each left with about a half dozen cream puffs to share with their friends and families.
During the process, Jill introduced herself about how she got interested in baking and cooking and where her experience has guided her. “I am the Head Baker for Chartwells,” she said. “That means I plan menus, manage & participate in the day-to-day production of baked goods/desserts for campus residential dining, retail dining & catering events.”
Attendance has slowly risen in the last year, and Teaching Kitchen has been an asset not just for staff but for students as well. “An event like this allows students an opportunity to expand their cooking skills while also getting to know the campus dining program & their associates,” said Jill.
Jill has been making baked goods like cream puffs for years. After graduating college nearly a decade ago, her career has taken her to Alpha Delights in De Pere, a local bakery that makes fine desserts, special occasion cakes, and pastries, among other baked goods.
“Students hopefully can gain a new skill and a better understanding of who the bakery team is and what we do to contribute to their college experience,” she continued.
Senior Alaina Mueller attended the event, and this is the third time she’s participated in a Teaching Kitchen. “I just love coming to these,” Mueller said. “I really enjoy baking and learning new things in the kitchen.”
Students like Mueller and faculty can continue to enjoy what Chartwells’ Teaching Kitchen series has to offer when they hold their final event of the school year in April. Time, location, and the type of food being made are to be determined. The March event was a sell-out, and Chartwells will continue that formula for the April event.
“We saw that a small group worked well,” said Heisz. “Although it may be more time-consuming on our staff, it allowed students to get more one-on-one time and learn a bit more about the recipe process.”