Ginger & Baker’s Teaching Kitchen serves up food and fun in afternoon classes

Lauryn Bolz

As Fort Collins residents know very well, food curates community. This idea is the basis of the Teaching Kitchen at Ginger & Baker, which is home to farm-to-table cooking classes and events for all ages. 

Ginger & Baker added a home-grown feel to the Fort Collins food scene upon its grand opening 1.5 years ago. The Teaching Kitchen is set between the ground floor restaurant and cafe. The idea was that the Kitchen fit owner Ginger Graham’s philosophy so well that it should be positioned so that visitors coming in either of the entrances could be a part of the experience.

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“I learned a lot of things in the kitchen, and not just how to cook,” Graham said. “Having a space that really represents our kitchen table is really important.” 

“It’s cool to see people surprise themselves when they make and eat food that they didn’t think that they could make.” Lindsay Brady, Teaching Kitchen Instructor

While the Teaching Kitchen has been effective for inspiring people to get out of the frozen isle and into the farmer’s market, it also teaches community building, the importance of culture, and how cooking can be a fun, rewarding experience.

On June 8, the topic at the Teaching Kitchen was how to take summer ingredients and use them in new and exciting ways. The class was taught by Lindsay Brady, who first applied for the position after receiving an award at a Ginger & Baker pie contest.

“It’s cool to see people surprise themselves when they make and eat food that they didn’t think that they could make,” Brady said. “We hope that we can sort of guide that process.” 

Titled ‘Summer Baking Favorites,’ the 2-hour class featured instruction on how to make blueberry pie bars, lemon cakes and strawberry swirl breakfast bread. Everything was made with fresh, local ingredients that were portioned out by the Kitchen assistants. The staff was able to keep the kitchen clean and organized, which created a relaxed feel as students got their hands messy while making lemon custard and blueberry puree.

man zests a lemon
A family bonds over baking at the June 30 class at the Teaching Kitchen. The luscious lemon cakes were a fan favorite. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

Among the attendees at the class were Fort Collins elementary school teachers, Allison and Kristen, who joined the class as a way to bond outside of the classroom.

“We both have the same hobby of liking to bake, so this is a fun thing to do together,” Kristen said.

‘Summer Baking Favorites’ was Kristen’s second time taking a class at the Teaching Kitchen. She said she had learned a lot of new techniques to take back home to her own kitchen. This time, she brought Allison with her.

“This is my first time doing a class here but I do bake a lot at home,” Allison said. “It’s fun to do something where it’s all prepped and ready and you get to try new things but have someone to ask questions if it’s not going the way you want it to.”

Besides the two teachers, there was a family and even a group of women celebrating a birthday taking the class. Graham said it is the kinetic aspect of cooking that makes the Teaching Kitchen such a great community-building experience.

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“Many times, especially when you’re meeting new people, it’s a little awkward if you’re just trapped at a table to sit. If you’re doing something together it breaks down barriers,” Graham said. 

Lauryn Bolz can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @LaurynBolz.