KMS culinary teacher cooking up ways to raise funds

Jamie Tapley, culinary teacher at Kingman Middle School, shows the cupboard of food in her classroom. She’s starting an adult cooking class on the third Saturday of each month to raise money for stocking up on ingredients. (Photo by Hubble Ray Smith/Daily Miner)

Jamie Tapley, culinary teacher at Kingman Middle School, shows the cupboard of food in her classroom. She’s starting an adult cooking class on the third Saturday of each month to raise money for stocking up on ingredients. (Photo by Hubble Ray Smith/Daily Miner)

KINGMAN – She’s not Old Mother Hubbard, but Jamie Tapley still wants to fill her cupboard.

The Kingman Middle School culinary teacher is launching an innovative adult cooking program to raise funds for her classroom’s food supply, which has grown since she started the cooking class, but still lacks some main ingredients.

Tapley is trying to supplement her $3,000 food budget for the year, or about 88 cents for each food item for the kids.

“You can’t make a lot of food for that,” the teacher said Thursday during a break between classes. “Last year, my cupboard was empty. Now we’ve got lots of donations, but I’m trying to improve the budget so we can have proteins and meats, vegetables and fruit like starfruit, and different oils to try.”

Tapley’s first adult culinary class is scheduled for 2-6 p.m. Saturday, March 17, in room 201 at Kingman Middle School. Cost is $35 for a couple (children under 18 welcome with an adult), and reservations can be made by emailing Tapley at jtapley@kusd.org.

The room has six kitchens, so class is limited to 12 people. She plans on holding class on the third Saturday of each month and may add a class if demand is high.

Tapley will be showing Saturday’s class how to make beef wellington using a recipe from celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, along with garlic mashed potatoes and a rich beef gravy, all from scratch.

“These are more high-end recipes that people don’t normally make because they’re too time-consuming or they don’t know how to do it,” the culinary instructor said. “It can be intense to do beef wellington. Thing is to try and get crust cooked perfectly without overcooking or undercooking the filet inside.”

Adults will be given a list of ingredients to bring to the class, and Tapley and her assistant will walk them step by step through the cooking process. They’ll eat some of the meal there, and take the rest home.

“All you need to bring to the class is what you find on the ingredient list, a willingness to learn something new and exciting, and an appetite,” Tapley said.

“So I’ll share some secrets and we’ll eat and have a good time. You can do these things cost effectively, you really can. I made beef stroganoff from scratch. It’s easy to do if you know the secrets.”

All proceeds will go toward the culinary program at Kingman Middle School, which Tapley started when she came to the school last year from Tucson. She credited office worker Michelle Ross for coming up with the idea of an adult cooking class to raise funds.

Her students are excited about the program and want to make it work, so much that each class spent Thursday cleaning the stove, sink, counters and floor in each kitchen in preparation for Saturday’s launch.

Cooking is an easy thing for kids to do before their parents come home, and it gives them skills that today’s youth are lacking, Tapley said.

“People don’t cook anymore,” she said. “Society has made it easy with frozen this and instant that and drive-thrus, but it’s better and cheaper to cook from scratch.”