Cooking up fun at the Good Life KitchenBy Sarah MacDonald • Photography By Jack Foley
At 7 o’clock on a Wednesday night a group of 11 men and women from across the South Shore are chatting as they don aprons and take their places around a large kitchen island at the Good Life Kitchen Culinary Center in Norwell. The banter quiets as Chef Bernard Kinsella takes his place behind a large gas range and introduces the evening’s cooking class menu—chicken satay skewers with peanut dipping sauce, Cajun shrimp cakes with avocado mousse, beef crostini with crunchy tomato salsa and pork and ginger potstickers. The first task the group must tackle: mincing garlic.
After a short demo the group starts chopping. I turn to my left to see my friend Noelle, sharp knife in hand, staring down at the small clove of garlic on her wooden cutting board, frozen in terror. With a few words of encouragement from Chef Kinsella, however, Noelle gathers up her courage and gets to work.
“You can’t master a technique by watching someone demonstrate it,” says Kinsella, who started offering cooking classes at the Good Life Kitchen three years ago. “You must learn by doing.”
Kinsella’s hands-on cooking classes are designed to demystify the art of cooking and give people a greater sense of confidence in the kitchen. On this night the atmosphere was relaxed yet focused, with Kinsella breaking down each step of the recipe preparation and delegating specific tasks to various members of the group. While many of the participants have had little experience preparing such elaborate meals, Kinsella’s pleasant demeanor and sense of humor puts everyone at ease. Before long, even nervous Noelle is chopping like a pro.
Kinsella’s vast culinary background includes working at a Michelin Star restaurant and heading up two previous culinary schools in Atlanta before setting his sights on the South Shore. At the Good Life Kitchen, Kinsella is constantly finding new ways to spark creativity in his students. In addition to leading his own hands-on cooking classes, Kinsella also invites leading chefs from around the region to teach lessons. Topics range from culinary basics to classical French cuisine, gluten-free cookery and even sushi.
At the end of our two-hour class the savory appetizers were elegantly plated, cell phone pictures were snapped so we could brag about our experience to our friends, and everyone sat down to enjoy the meal we had prepared together, laughing like old friends.
From around the room I could hear people saying things like, “I could totally do this at home,” and “I can’t believe I just made that, we should do this again.” Some students were already planning their next dinner parties.
The Good Life Kitchen offers cooking classes for all ages and abilities, from kids’ birthday parties and summer camps to romantic couple’s classes and festive girls’ nights, turning cooking into a fun-filled affair.