By Ian Rogers
For many, staying at home during the pandemic has forced them away from the Woodlynde lunch plan, creating an interesting dilemma. How can students eat delectable, healthy food when they don’t know how to make it on their own? Many sought to remedy this issue by using their parents, delivery services, or pre-made meals.
However, two new Woodlynde freshmen are already veterans in the world of food preparation.
While this might bring apprehension to those out there who rely on Uncrustables, takeout pizza, and frozen food (you’re not alone, guys), these freshmen prove that it’s easier than one may think to take raw ingredients and turn them into something edible on your own.
Freshmen Nicolas Corzo and Faysal Adger have an advantage in these trying times because they have plenty of cooking experience under their belts.
INTERNED AT A RESTAURANT
Nicolas has spent time in California at Michelin star restaurant Kali in Hollywood. He interned there for three months starting in December of 2019. This is where his devotion to food began.
Nicolas learned under a chef at Kali named Adrian. “You could say I was his padawan and he was my master,” Nicolas said.
Nicolas prepared blinis, which are small pancakes often served with caviar, smoked salmon, and cream. He learned most of his cooking skills from his time at the restaurant, under his mentor, Adrian.
Nicolas also learned some skills from his father. Additionally, he has taken a knife skills class. During the class he spent the day in a kitchen, learning the proper way to cut a chicken, as well as basic knife rules and skills.
The most important thing he learned about knives that he believes everyone should know is, “When walking with them, point them DOWN!”
Nicolas cites the enormous variety of dishes as his reason for loving the craft. “There are so many different dishes from many different countries to cook. And I will never stop learning,” said Nicolas, who wants to go back to Kali to work as a chef in the future.
Faysal learned his skills from a cooking class at his previous school and a food camp he attended over the summer at Germantown Friends School, called “Foods Around the World.”
When it comes to influences in his cooking, he credits his parents. “They make good food like lamb and egg quiche.”
“FOOD BRINGS HAPPINESS”
Faysal also wants to pursue a career in the culinary arts, as he believes that “food brings happiness.” He wants to bring happiness to others by working at one of his favorite restaurants, Morimoto, a renowned Japanese sushi restaurant.
Morimoto is one of the highest-rated restaurants in Philadelphia and the flagship restaurant for famous chef Masaharu Morimoto. Masaharu made a name for himself on the popular Japanese show Iron Chef and its various American spinoffs before opening restaurants around the world.
Faysal first grew to admire the restaurateur after visiting one of Morimoto's restaurants in Florida and adoring the food for its intense flavor.
Both Faysal and Nicolas enjoy cooking and eating red meat. Faysal’s favorite food to cook is steak, because he thinks they are delicious, while Nicolas enjoys burgers.
“There are many different ways to cook a burger. You can use different meats, different spices...” Nicolas said.
Both students relish the aroma of food while it’s being prepared, and appreciate learning new recipes and developing their skills in the kitchen.
To help others get involved in cooking, they both recommended dishes they believed would be easy for any student to make at home.
Faysal suggested students try deviled eggs, a simple and scrumptious meal made by hard-boiling eggs and filling them with a paste made from the yolk, along with mustard and mayonnaise.
Nicolas recommended making a sub or sandwich, saying, “Not only does it have things that you put on there, you will most likely enjoy it. It’s not your mom’s cooking, it’s yours. You know what you need. If you don't like it, you can always change it.”