North Carolina Newspapers

Photo by Cory A. Thompson - Asst. Arts & Features Editor
Culinary student Donnie McGann and cooking coach Michael Gentry discuss tricks of the trade.
Local chef teaches vegetarian cooking
Cory A. Thompson - Asst. Arts & Features
Five minutes into the cooking class,
blood flowed into the slaw. The
crimson mixed with the fleshy-purple
interior of the vegetable and the
laughter at the irony of a class called
“Everyone Cooks.”
Donnie McGann, a foster kid
turned culinary student, noticed the
gash first. He laid down his project,
baked apples stuffed with raisins and
cherry butter, and gestured towards
the scars on his own hands.
“Wounds of the kitchen,” he said.
“If you don’t think about cutting your
fingers then you won’t. You’ll get the
hang of it.”
An Asheville food enthusiast
named Michael Gentry, better
known as the “sustainable gourmet,”
hosts the event, which drew
community members and culinary
students to the UNC Asheville despite
January’s bitter cold.
Gentry set up stations complete with
ingredients and recipes for students to
create dishes independently while he
roamed and answered questions. As
soon as Gentry walked away from the
slaw station, disaster struck.
His advice helped. Two hours and
one blue bandage later, with the
help of Gentry and his small team
of instructors, a class comprised of
students and community members
alike produced 18 vegetarian dishes,
including a miraculously blood-free
turnip, celery, apricot and ginger slaw.
McGann and Collin Morton, a
fellow student, attended “Everyone
Cooks” as a field trip through the
Eliada School of Trade Arts, an
Asheville culinary school. The
program teaches cooking to young
adults who aged out of the foster care
program. Donna McCrain, their
instructor, accompanied them.
According to McCrain, cooking
provides a secure future for those in
jeopardy of being left behind by the
“We give our students the
opportunity to be outstanding citizens,
get great jobs, do internships, go off,
get married and keep passing the
love,” McCrain said. “It’s a big circle
of love, eventually.”
At the stove, community members
of all ages worked alongside Eliada
Kathleen Cantwell, a recent
transplant from Chicago, said she
has been searching for a satisfying
vegetarian cooking class.
“Michael is helpful without
breathing down your neck,” Cantwell
said. “It’s a good balance. I don’t
need vast instruction on how to slice
a tomato.”
In the case of one community
member, exotic ingredients led to
confusion about what exactly she was
“This recipe is called spicy
pickled celery,” said Amy Kemp, a
community member who took the
class. “I’m not sure what makes it
After the cooking was finished.
Gentry led a discussion on nutrition
and food availability.
“As we eat well today, we build
tomoiTows health,” Gentry said.
“When you look down at your plate
and see all the colors of the rainbow,
then you know you’re getting all the
nutrients you need for a strong body.”
For one student, the best type of
food is the food on her plate.
“I’m an oppurtunivore.” Helen
Sntherland, a participant, said. “I
eat what I’m served.”
Classes are held in Sherrill Center
Room 346 every Tuesday from 6-8:30
p.m. with a cost of $25 a session.
Elizabeth Valenzuela - Staff Wrifer
For international students studying
at UNC Asheville, the city offers a
little piece of everything.
With so many colleges and
universities around the world,
international students said they observe
the diversity Asheville attracts.
Maija Puupponen, a Finland
native said .she settled upon Asheville
because she heard nothing but good
things. She also said she had a friend
from Finland who studied at UNCA
last year who loved it.
According to Lindsey Goff, an
international exchange student,
Asheville did not rank as her first
choice of university. After doing a little
research on the town and university;
however, Goff was excited to start her
studies here.
“I like that it is a small school in a
very artsy and unique town,” Goff
Emine Ak’s, an international
student from Itirkey, said the diverse
restaurants and music shops in the
downtown area of Asheville caught
her eye.
Ak also said she loves the fresh air
and is not used to it because due to
a larger population in Turkey, more
pollution impacts the country.
Although according to university
statistics, only 3,600 students comprise
the school’s population, exchange
students said they feel UNCA offers
many opportunities to study abroad on
its campus.
International students from across
eight countries, which include France,
Denmark, Korea and Canada, said they
even enjoy the cafeteria food provided
in Brown Hall.
“I love the dining hall and food,” Ak
See DIVERSITY page 12

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