Hi! Donna Monaco Olsen here, co-coordinator for the Taste of Westchester Continuing Education program for Westchester Community College. All classes are held within Westchester restaurants, where local chefs share their talents and recipes with us in their own dining rooms. Over the years, I have attended hundreds of classes, and I always learn a new trick and definitely a few treats, and I am here to share with you from our last class.
Chef/Owner: Jennifer O’Connell
Restaurant: The Cupcake Kitchen & Luncheonette in Irvington 
Tip: When making butter cream icing, whip it until it turns almost white (it will start out a yellowish color). This ensures that it has incorporated enough air for a light tasting butter cream frosting.
Using the tip above we were given the store’s methodology and recipe for making their butter cream frosting. All flavors begin with a vanilla recipe incorporating just four ingredients; butter, cream, vanilla and confectioners sugar. Here cocoa powder has been added to become chocolate frosting. 
We discovered the creative uses of fondant by making this mummy’s expressive eyes and some of the other decorations (see picture below).
A photo shoot of all of our creepy creations ended our lesson.
Care to get tips first hand? Check out the current offerings at www.sunywcc.edu Continuing Ed, Taste of Westchester. Classes are only $15+sampling fee. Sign up with a friend for one demonstration or a few by contacting WCC via online or by phone 606-6830×1. I look forward to meeting you there!
If you are a chef or proprietor of a restaurant, and are interested in participating in this program please contact the college and leave your contact information.
There is still time to sign up for classes:
The Cupcake Kitchen and Luncheonette, Irvington, Visit them on Facebook.
Hands-on: Owner Jennifer O’Connell will give an interactive instructional demonstration on decorating six cupcakes to create a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table. You will use pastry bags fitted with all the tools needed to create beautiful cupcakes of your own. We will also explore simple fondant decorations. You will learn the recipe used in the store for butter cream icing, while you sample a tasty cupcake along with coffee or tea. This luncheonette evokes a feeling of the 60’s, only uses fresh ingredients and is famous for creating custom designed specialty cakes for weddings, birthdays and special events, they can be seen making a masterpiece while you dine. Join us for a fun afternoon!
Thurs., Nov. 15, 4:30-6:30 pm, $15 (+ $21 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #83110
Division Street Grill, Peekskill, www.divisionstreetgrill.com 
Located in the heart of the downtown artist district, this restaurant is known for its great food with an eclectic feel. Listen to live jazz each weekend while enjoying nutritionally-healthy, robust flavors from Chef Pasquale Sarwar. We will begin with their famous crab cakes, followed by chicken and pasta with a delicious pesto with garlic sauce. Finish off with a dessert lesson with a twist: baked banana wrapped in phyllo dough and served with crème caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.
Thurs., Nov. 1, 6:00-8:00 pm, $15 (+ $20 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #83102
Tarry Tavern, Tarrytown, www.tarrytavern.com 
Owner Henry Cabral, who cooked alongside his dad in the family restaurant Caravela, has come up with a unique formula that fills a niche in a restaurant-heavy town like Tarrytown. His casual American gastro-pub offers creative, locally sourced dishes and seasonal menus inspired by what farmers and fishermen are growing, raising and catching. Enjoy the surroundings in a comfortable, yet upscale environment. He will show us how to make duck confit with hand-made fettuccine along with seasonal fare and roasted potato gnocchi with flourishes of market inspired ingredients. For dessert, a glass of Ronnybrook Farms milk with warm Apple Pie. Join us for a peek into this inviting restaurant.
Mon., Nov. 5, 5:00-7:00 pm, $15 (+ $22 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #83103
Rainwater Grill, Hastings-on-Hudson, www.rainwatergrill.com
This restaurant strives to be an eco-friendly full service restaurant elegant in décor yet free of pretense, offering live music on the weekends. From sea grass dining chairs and grass cloth wall treatments to natural stone and a vibrant waterfall, it offers a unique setting throughout. Our class will begin with mussels and chorizo, tomatoes, fresh herbs and sambucca to make up this sumptuous dippable sauce. CIA graduate, Chef Mario Capparelli will teach us how to break down a pork loin and then turn it into pork chop Mt. Edna with hot sweet cherry peppers in a balsamic reduction; our side will be a sweet potato mash. A tutorial on crème brulee, starting with vanilla and then altering its ratios to create new flavors such as espresso, will provide a fun end to our class!
Tues., Nov. 6, 6:00-8:00 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #83104
Albano Appliance, Pound Ridge, www.AlbanoAppliance.com 
Do not miss this class as it is always a favorite! Born and raised in France, Chef Jehan S. deNoüe has over 35 years of experience in the area. He is now Albano Appliance’s own resident chef, managing the company’s continuing education program, including cooking classes, manufacturer demonstrations, and personal and in-home instruction. He is a most approachable and informed instructor and will give out tips on a variety of methodologies for preparing a fabulous meal, all the while toasting us with wine. We’lll discover the techniques needed to make a chilled tomato soup served with local Rainbeau Ridge goat cheese and olives, and we’ll make a sustainable fish poached in pepper butter and served with a roasted corn salad. For dessert, Chef Jehan will show us how to make carrot-pineapple cakes.
Thurs., Nov. 8, 6:00-8:00 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #83106
The Horse & Hound Inn, South Salem, www.thehorseandhoundinn.com 
Just as it must have been for stagecoaches long ago, the Inn is a beacon amid the dark and wooded roads of South Salem. The building dates back to 1749, charming with its wide-planked floors, low ceilings and original beams. During the past sixteen years that the Vales have owned the Inn, there have been several sightings of spirits. Maybe one will join us for our lesson; after all, it is the night before Halloween! For an amuse bouche enjoy the Inn’s famous firecracker shrimp, cream cheese with jalapeno and a bacon wrapping. Our lesson in the dining room will be roasted beets over arugula with goat cheese and raspberry vinaigrette. Venison medallions with pinot noir and cranberries served with glazed carrots is our entrée education for the night. For a fall treat we will experience figs wrapped in prosciutto topped with goat cheese brulee and a local honey drizzle! BOO!
*pp due to storm Tues. Nov. 13,
Oct. 30, 6:00-8:00 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #83101
Thyme Restaurant, Yorktown Heights (Cortland Manor), www.thymerestaurant.net 
Hands-on: This contemporary restaurant serving great American fare allows you to view owner and Chef Tom Costello and Chef in training, Patrice Costa working in this open kitchen. They will give us an interactive demonstration and we will help to create an interesting meal, starting with a creamy butternut squash soup. We will continue our lesson with pork two ways: pork Wellington (pork tenderloins encased in puff pastry) and seared pork tenderloin accompanied by a sweet potato puree and haricot vert. Next, help to prep an apple cobbler for a sweet end to our culinary experience.
*pp due to storm Mon. Nov. 26,
Oct. 29, 6:00-8:00 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #83100