Another meal to prepare. Is there no end in sight? Ah …. no. There may be no end, but there are certainly new twists on old recipes.
High Desert Grange feels your pain and is taking steps to alleviate it by offering Techniques in Cooking Classes with chef Randy Wilson.
Born in Lovelock, Wilson spent time in California where he loved his work as a restaurant chef and where his passion for cooking blossomed. When asked why he found working as a restaurant chef to be interesting and rewarding, he said, “Not only did I get to learn a trade, but I also learned other languages.”
His cooking passion was ignited by meeting chefs with different culinary specialties whose work ethic and talents were gathered from their travels around the world. Their techniques have been used forever to make great food. He wanted to learn everything he could from them.
“The discipline these men and women mastered and shared with me has forever influenced how I will shop for and prepare food,” he said.
Culinary school beckoned and off he went.
Wanting to ground his family of seven and establish some roots, Wilson moved to Fallon five years ago. “The residents in this town really want the best for their neighbors,” Wilson said. “We were drawn to the sense of community everyone has and the steadfast presence of God. Too many communities lose sight of that and take each other for granted.”
Wilson has been diagnosed with a rare stomach issue known as "Eosiniphilic Esophogitis" or E.O.E, which simply means that he has an extra filter for his food. It is similar to GERD. His sons have other health issues related to dyes in foods. This has made eating to support a healthy family a full-time challenge. They cut out foods that Wilson couldn’t pronounce and now eat only organic foods, many grown in his yard.
“If I can’t identify what’s in the food or the ingredient on a box, I don’t buy it,” he said.
They went through the process of elimination, one food at a time, until they discovered what their bodies would tolerate.
“What my family and I learned from that experience is God didn’t want us to eat all these bad things,” he added. “Changing our mindsets from want to need was a start. Then doing a lot of processing, raising, and growing of our own foods.”
He has talked with people who have health-related issues, and they have one thing in common: The closer to the source of their food, the better their health is. For Wilson, that reinforces the saying, “You are what you eat.”
The price of food inspires him. He looks for the best quality ingredient for the most reasonable price and how to cook it efficiently and quickly for his family with little to no waste.
“You would be surprised how many classical recipes came from scraps and bits to make a meal for a big family,” he said. “In Italian, it’s called ‘cucina povera,’ poor kitchen.”
His biggest challenge is his health and finding ways to cook that don’t result in allergic reactions. This has made him focus on what he does.
“I have to have cooks and chefs around me that can effectively communicate what flavor needs to be produced for the customer. This challenge has made me stronger personally and has broadened my perspective on food and life,” he said.
Wilson’s next class is Sunday, April 11, at 3 p.m. at The Running Iron Café, 2055 Trento Lane, located in the Fallon Livestock Yard. Students will learn how to make raviolis and other pasta shapes and how to make food dyes from natural products. Be sure to bring at least one cup of a ravioli filling of your choice. Space is limited to 15 people, so please RSVP to the High Desert Grange at firstname.lastname@example.org by April 9.
Most upcoming classes are TBD. Classes will be held on Sundays at about 3 p.m. at a location to be announced. The fee for each class is to be Grange member. Making puff pastry and creating Chicago-style cast iron pizza are two classes to be offered in the near future. Each class will be announced two weeks in advance. Among other items, Wilson is working on pictures or videos leading up to each class.
For information on the Techniques in Cooking classes, contact the High Desert Grange at their email address above or call 775-427-8210.