YMCA Offers Cooking Demonstration with French Chef, Olivier Straehli


Cooking is a passion and an art. Many of us attempt to improve our skills daily for ourselves and our families. The YMCA of Frederick County’s Teaching Kitchen, located in the Bernard Brown Community Building at 629 N. Market Street in downtown Frederick, offers programs that help our community improve and learn new skills for healthier cooking and healthier living. The one-day classes change monthly and include offerings such as “Low Carb Choices”, “Homemade Tortillas”, and “Pizza Time Cooking Fun.” Some classes are Kids Only; some are parent/child. There are even a few Date Night classes sure to make for an entertaining evening.

The Y is excited to present a special opportunity to learn from a French Chef at the Y’s Teaching Kitchen. Chef Olivier Straehli will be visiting Frederick from Pessac, France in June and will be leading two classes for the Y: a Children’s Tasting and an Adult Tasting.

Olivier Straehli owes his culinary passion to his family. From his great grandfather, to his father, his family are all gourmands who have communicated their taste for good products, fresh, and natural foods. Although his career as a banker kept him away from the kitchen for a few years, Olivier lost nothing of the culinary tricks handed down by his ancestors. He has been a candidate in many culinary competitions, and won the Cuisine TV Competition in 2003. His goal is to cook healthy by promoting seasonal products. These simple principles help him reinvent the cuisine of yesterday and transform a typical palate. His inspiration for making a dish comes from a product seen at the market, a smell, or a texture that he imagines in the mouth. Then everything is jostling, simmering in his head, to finish in a creation that tells a story and paints a picture.  Because cooking is like Lavoisier’s maxim “Nothing is lost, nothing creates, everything is transformed”.

During the children’s class on Tuesday, June 4th, Chef Straehli will demonstrate and serve multiple small plates that may include: saucisses grillées (sausage), salade (salad), croissants au chocolat (chocolate croissants), and le pain perdu (French toast). Chef Straehli will make final menu decision after shopping locally when he arrives in Frederick. Parents are asked to limit one parent staying with children if desired/needed during the event due to space limitations.

For the adult class on Thursday, June 6th, Chef Straehli will prepare a tasting that honors fresh, simple, local ingredients; and pleases the eye and the palate. Participants will join him as he guides them through an evening of French-inspired, locally-sourced delicacies. Using produce from the Hungry Harvest Produce in a SNAP market, and other local ingredients, Chef Straehli will invite us into to see food from a uniquely French perspective. The author of several cookbooks, Chef Olivier Straehli will also demonstrate how to pair the foods served with the right wine. Tasting participant’s will enjoy a menu similar to the following, but again, final menu choices will be made after shopping locally in Frederick. Small plates may consist of tourte à la viande (meat pie), entrée salade betteraves (beet salad), tarte à la rhubarb fromage (cheese/rhubarb pie), and la bouchée à la reine (puff pastry). A wine of Olivier’s choosing will accompany each plate.

“Kids Cooking with Olivier Straehli” for ages 8-18, is scheduled for Tuesday, June 4th from 6-8pm. “Cooking with Olivier Straehli: A French Inspired Tasting and Pairing Evening” for adults 21 and over, is scheduled on Thursday, June 6th from 6-9pm. Chef Olivier Straehli will be sharing the French way of eating: which is healthy, joyful, and brings a sense of peace and connection to your food, your family, and the world around you during both of these tastings.

To register for either class, click the button below!