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The Cooking Studio teaches culinary mastery in Old Town

Chef+Su+Wong+demonstrates+how+to+prepare+dough+for+pork+cha+siu+bao+during+a+Cantonese+Dim+Sum+class+at+the+Cooking+Studio+located+in+downtown+Fort+Collins%2C+April+4.
Collegian | Aria Paul
Chef Su Wang demonstrates how to prepare dough for pork cha siu bao during a Cantonese dim sum class at The Cooking Studio in Old Town April 4. “Teaching here, I think I love the connectedness,” Wang said. “That’s why I like working here. There’s no pressure.”

The perfect place for any date night, kid’s birthday party or new experience is The Cooking Studio, located off of College Avenue and catering to all.

“It’s a very fun, stress-free, safe, nonjudgmental environment,” said Dana Demarco, executive chef at The Cooking Studio.

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There are classes for both children and adults, the cuisine ranging from bread to dim sum.

Demarco is the primary chef, teaching the majority of classes. She also comes up with most menus, scheduling and organizing. 

“We have a very friendly, fun, approachable way to cook. Even if you’ve never cooked before in your whole life, everyone is welcome here.” –Dana Demarco, The Cooking Studio executive chef

“One thing I love about food is you can never know everything there is to know about it,” Demarco said.

For the classes she does not teach, Demarco is constantly learning from the other chefs about food preparation along with the outcome of meals.

Demarco has been with The Cooking Studio for the past seven years, having cooked for the past 25.

“My best friend in high school … did a program, (and) it was called ProStart,” Demarco said. “When she was done with her classes, I would meet her at her house, and she would show me all the stuff she was cooking, and I just got really interested in it because of her.”

Demarco also grew up with an Italian father, and food was a way of bonding for them.

“Cooking has always been … what (we are) eating, not who are we inviting,” Demarco said. “Food is a big thing in our family.”

Demarco’s goal is to one day teach cooking at the high school or college level or work for a company that helps make menus and recipes.

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One of her coworkers grew up cooking without recipes: Chef Su Wang. Growing up in China, Wang said she was always told to add some of this and some of that, so cooks had to be alert, constantly watching until the ingredients looked right.

“Something (brought) me here about the Western culture,” Wang said. “Before I (came) here, I (couldn’t) speak any English.”

Wang teaches Chinese cooking classes at The Cooking Studio, and one of her more recent classes taught was Cantonese-style dim sum.

Participants were able to make a Cantonese-style barbecue sauce; cha siu bao, or steamed BBQ pork buns; har gow, or crystal shrimp dumplings; and a sweet rice date cake.

They worked with both yeast and gluten-free dough, experiencing many types of Cantonese food.

During the class, Wang pulled the attendees to the middle of the workspace to teach beginner and professional ways to prepare the food, allowing people to choose their level of difficulty.

At the end of the experience, participants were left with two main courses and a delicious dessert. 

“I love connecting with people — it’s the way I can practice my English,” Wang said. “That’s the way I can learn (Western) culture.” 

Not only is she a chef, but Wang is also an artist displaying traditional Chinese art in her friend’s restaurant. Wang said she would like to travel to another country one day to try more variations of food. 

“I want to try the whole world’s food and keep doing this,” Wang said. 

For those wanting to cook more types of food, The Cooking Studio has multiple chefs bringing their backgrounds into their food. A typical adult class lasts around three hours long and costs $94 per person. Attendees are immersed in a cooking and cultural experience with music playing in the background as they cook.

Attendees can bring home whatever food isn’t eaten in their own The Cooking Studio tote bag. 

“We have a very friendly, fun, approachable way to cook,” Demarco said. “Even if you’ve never cooked before in your whole life, everyone is welcome here.”

Reach Sophie Webb at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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