Thu | Jan 17, 2019

Cooking Basics: A Delicious Occasion

Published:Thursday | February 19, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Chef and instructor Latoya Panton assists me in plating my creation.
Feeling like a culinary expert, holding my mallah chicken and noodles.
Cooking partners for the day, Marc Blake and Amanda Dacosta.
Scrumptious chop suey ready to be savoured.
Working in the flavours in this flavourful mallah chicken.
A mouth-watering view of sweet and sour chicken
Chef and teacher Latoya Panton takes the class through the noodle cooking demonstration.
Fellow student Ricardo Lee in the middle of creating a culinary masterpiece.

I was never one to rush off to the kitchen, but I do love and appreciate a well-prepared, home-made meal. The truth is, I actually learnt how to cook out of necessity, and then faked my way around the kitchen until I willed myself into making it.

Now approaching my 30s (covers face) nothing has really changed since my first encounter with fire, because cooking with a busy schedule is far from easy. So, when my supervisor suggested I take a basic cooking class from chef and caterer Latoya Panton, I bolted at that chance!

Little did I know I was in for an interesting awakening early that Saturday morning. The class was already in full swing as I walked right in the middle of seasoning prep. After introducing myself to everyone, I headed straight to my station and began my culinary mission.

The class menu was of a Chinese persuasion: mallah chicken, sweet and sour chicken, noodles and chop suey.

It took me some time to warm up to the cooking class, for a few reasons: One, it was way too early to be awake, worse cooking, so I was still in sleep mode. And two, I had been a bit thrown off with all the jargon being used. I was the only one who didn't understand what each culinary jargon meant, but as I learnt, it's better to ask and learn than to not ask and learn absolutely nothing.

Panton was patient with me as we went through every step as a class (I was thoroughly fascinated with learning the chopping techniques because I am the absolute worst in that category).

As the class progressed, I lightened up. When someone asked if I knew how to cook, I promptly told them no, out of fear that I would burn something right then and there. The reality is, while I can help myself, I am no chef. The response went along the lines of don't worry, you're not the only one.

What surprised me was how much fun I had. Not only did I discover my love for cooking, but little by little, I learned why those present joined - a few had no clue about cooking and wanted to unleash that skill, while others wanted to hone their craft and try something new and exciting. Pretty soon, we were all mingling like old friends.

We made our way to the stove one by one and prepared our dishes, helping each other however we could. We got a lot of help with the sweet and sour chicken, so I can't claim fame to that dish; that was a team initiative.

What I was particularly proud of was my mallah chicken, which was rich in colour and flavour. The class and teacher/chef remarked at how wonderful it looked. One member even sampled it for himself and reported that it tasted good. I had done even better than I had anticipated.

All in all, it was truly a delicious occasion learning to cook the basics with Latoya Panton and her cooking class.

If you are interested in being a part of Delicious Occasions Cooking Classes, you can contact Panton at:

Tel: 978-3749 /509-0093

Fax: 620-8772

Email: deliciousoccasions@

Website: deliciousoccasions.