This is a partial reprint of a story told last spring being revisited in time for Super Bowl XLVIII . The class was taught by Chef AJ Cohen, where he shared his secret to the best wings ever.  

Full Story here.

Hi! Donna Monaco Olsen here, co-coordinator for the Taste of Westchester Continuing Education program for Westchester Community College to share with you from a past demonstration. All classes are held within Westchester restaurants, where local chefs share their talents and recipes with us in their own dining rooms. Over the years, I have attended hundreds of classes, and I always learn a new trick or two from our great chefs!

Chef/Owner:  Alan Cohen (aka AJ)

Restaurant:  AJ’s Burgers, New Rochelle

Tip:  When making Buffalo style chicken wings never “bread” them.  Bake wings before deep frying as this will ensure that they are cooked thoroughly and become very crispy.

At this hot spot, located across from City Hall, Chef Alan Cohen, a WCC graduate, and the former owner of the Original Wedge Inn, continues to serve creative and delicious food. He was featured on the Food Network-Restaurant Stakeout-AJ’s Burgers episode.

We began with a lesson on original buffalo wings. As you can see, AJ uses GIANT wings, only seasoning with garlic powder, salt and pepper. One of them looks like a leg not a wing drumette!

The secret to the original sauce is to only use Frank’s brand red hot sauce, butter and white vinegar warmed in a pan then lightly tossed over the cooked wings.

The homemade “blue cheese” dipping sauce consisted of sour cream, mayonnaise, Gorgonzola (chef favorite) and minced garlic for a tangy dip for the spicy wings. Be sure to let the sauce rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour to meld the flavors.

Class attendee lovin’ AJ’s Buffalo style wings.

Or you could just go to AJ’s and order them for Sunday like we will be doing!

Chef AJ will be teaching another class in March 2014. We hope you will join us.

Care to get tips first hand? Check out the current offerings at WCC Continuing Ed, Taste of Westchester. Classes are only $15+ a sampling fee.  Sign up with a friend for one demonstration or a few by contacting WCC via online or by phone at 606-6830×1.

The new Spring 2014 semester has just begun! Join us at several of Westchester’s most exciting restaurants for a culinary adventure that will tantalize your taste buds. Each chef will offer a private cooking demonstration, followed by a tasting of the prepared items. 

There is still time to sign up for some great classes:


DeCicco’s Family Market ~ www.deciccos.com
Hands-On: DeCicco’s is a family owned and operated specialty grocery store chain. Each location offers full service, meat, seafood, cheese, produce, and bakery departments as well as an expanded selection of gourmet grocery and specialty beer. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, make your very own custom designed sweet treats for your sweetheart! You will decorate your own royal icing cookies instructed by the store’s pastry chefs, Jessica Puma and Richard Choate, who will teach you the tips and techniques for creating beautifully hand-decorated sugar cookies. You’ll learn about the equipment and tools, ingredients, and step-by-step process to making these decadent treats look like the pros. Leave with 6 of your own hand-decorated large cookies and tons of great ideas for yummy edible gifts for any holiday or event. Snacks, juice, coffee and tea will be provided.

Wed., Feb. 12, 5:00-7:00 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee in CASH, payable to instructor). #14246

Via Vanti! ~ www.viavanti.com

Take-the-Train: Trying to keep that New Year’s resolution for healthy eating? Join us for a truly healthy Italian festa. Our host and proprietor Carla Gambescia, foodie, and passionate Italiophile, will educate us on a fresh take on Italian as reflected in lighter, healthier dishes utilizing seasonal and local ingredients. This evening’s menu will feature three nutritious and delicious courses beginning with tre tuffi, a sampling of three dips utilizing veggies and legumes, followed by their signature ultra-thin crust gourmet pizzette. Our main dish will be an extraordinary pasta-less lasagna dubbed la-zanni. This unique learning experience includes a cool ending with unlimited tastes of their delicioso gelato and sorbetto, available in eighteen varieties! Via Vanti! has a reputation for offering its guests edu-tainment as its special brand of hospitality.

Tues., Feb. 25, 6:00-8:00 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee in CASH, payable to instructor). #14154

Le Fontane ~ www.lefontane.net
Specializing in authentic Southern Italian cuisine and hospitality, owners Antonio and Alfredo Abbate, brothers raised by their family of restaurateurs and wine makers on Capri, the mystical island off the coast of Naples, introduced their culinary talents to Westchester in 1987. The space has been redecorated and also has an outdoor patio for warm months. Specializing in authentic Southern Italian cuisine, prepared by talented Neapolitan chef Antonio Perillo, we will learn to make a delicious risotto with mushrooms and asparagus in order to celebrate spring’s arrival. We will then watch the chef instruct us on the makings of chicken rollatine stuffed with ricotta, spinach, and prosciutto. The restaurant prides itself on its homemade desserts and they will demonstrate how to make poached pears in a white wine reduction.

Wed., Feb. 26, 5:30-7:30 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee in CASH, payable to instructor). #14156


Castle Hotel & Spa Equus Restaurant ~ www.castlehotelandspa.com

Featuring a unique Auberge-style, natural French cuisine, executive chef Marc Lippman, a graduate of the prestigious La Varenne D’Ecole in Paris, will entertain us in one of Westchester’s most magnificent dining rooms, filled with old-world charm. He will incorporate impeccably sourced ingredients and an infusion of the best quality meats, seafood, and local produce available to teach us about the makings of a very special menu. We will begin our lesson with a lobster salad: hearts of palm, sea bean, pomelo fruit, and tarragon. This will be followed by his famous beef duo consisting of 48-hour short ribs and roasted wagyu sirloin, and accompanied by aligot potato (a fondue-like dish originating in Auvergne). Learn to make a warm chocolate cake as a special dessert created by this fabulous chef!

Mon., Mar. 3, 5:30-7:30 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee in CASH, payable to instructor). #14247

The Burger Barn ~ www.theburgerbarn.com
A great place to meet friends to hang out for a drink or a quick bite! Proprietor Justin Tesone will teach us the makings of one of their house specialty drinks to get us started on our adventure. Executive chef Osaes Salguera will show us how to make their delicious raspberry dressing to adorn their breaded goat cheese salad, consisting of mixed greens, crispy coated goat cheese, almonds, and a sprinkling of dried cranberries. We will taste four mini-versions of their famous burgers to get a sampling of what this restaurant is known for. Manager Jeff Rosolen will explain the makings of two of their popular Angus beef burgers: the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) Burger: warm goat cheese, piled with arugula, and the Italian Job: smoked mozzarella, hot cherry peppers, sautéed onions, and sundried tomato mayo on Texas toast bread. Next up is a demo on two additional, seasonal ingredient-inspired mini-burgers including one with freshly ground turkey. Discover the secrets to their crisp hand-cut fries.

Tues., Mar. 4, 5:30-7:30 pm, $15 (+ $20 sampling fee in CASH, payable to instructor). #14248

MTK Tavern ~ www.mtktavern.com
Part rockin’ live music venue, part gastro pub, and part lounge. Who says you can’t be all things to all people? Check out MTK Tavern! Owner Jeffrey Rosen has come up with the recipe for fun. Chef Robert Sherlock will treat us to a lesson on their special beet and arugula salad. Next up, the chef’s secret to spicy beef short ribs in a red wine reduction, served with roasted potatoes and in-market vegetables. Our dessert will be a how-to on a seasonal raspberry tart. Come party with us!

Mon., March 10, 6:00-8:00 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee in CASH, payable to instructor). #14249

DeCicco’s Family Market ~ www.deciccos.com
As a family owned and operated specialty grocery store chain, each DeCicco’s locations offers something special. At the Armonk location, an upstairs bar/restaurant serves pizza and local beer and wine, and there’s a bocce court and fabulous demonstration kitchen. Their beautifully displayed and well stocked seafood department is at the ready for all of your desires. Seafood chef’s Rondie Chen and Berardo Agudelo will teach the cleaning tips and recipe techniques used to make their crispy fried calamari. The lesson will continue with a Tuscan style stuffed lobster tail and the instructions for linguine with fresh white clam sauce. A surprise sweet treat from their magnificent bakery will conclude our lesson.

Tues., Mar. 11, 5:30-7:30 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee in CASH, payable to instructor). #14250

Chutney Masala Indian Bistro ~ www.chutneymasala.com
Kitchen-Tour: Discover our chef’s hidden secrets in a waterfront setting down on the Hudson River. Chef Navjot and Anu, a husband and wife duo, create all the dishes at Chutney Masala. Navjot is from Jalandhar Punjab, India where he studied the fine art of Indian food. Our class will teach his special take on Indian cuisine. On the menu will be veggie samosas (pastry filled with delicious spiced vegetables). The makings of everyone’s favorite, tandoori chicken, will be taught, then a lesson on making chana masala (chickpea stew) alongside basmati pulao (rice and peas). A pounded rice pudding will be our dessert demonstration. We will also enjoy a quick lesson in the kitchen on the specialties of Nan bread. Always a popular class!

Tues., Mar. 18, 6:00-8:00 pm, $15 (+ $22 in CASH sampling fee, payable to instructor). #14162

The Cupcake Kitchen and Luncheonette ~ www.irvingtoncupcakekitchen.com
Hands-On: Voted as one of the best breakfast spots byWestchester Magazine, this luncheonette evokes a feeling of the 60’s in décor and menu, using only the freshest ingredients. Not just breakfast and lunch, they make cupcakes along with creating custom designed cakes for special events, and can be seen making a masterpiece while you dine. Owner Jennifer O’Connell will give an interactive class using decorating ideas for making cupcakes in flower motifs to create six cupcakes in time for April showers and May flowers. You will use pastry bags fitted with all the tools needed to create beautiful cupcakes of your own to take home. She will share the ingredients and techniques needed for the shop’s scrumptious butter cream icing. Enjoy a tasty cupcake of your choice and coffee before we embark on our creative endeavors. Join us for a fun afternoon!

Thurs., March 20, 4:30-6:30 pm, $15 (+ $22 sampling fee in CASH, payable to instructor). #14165

AJ’s ~ www.AJsburgers.com
Hands-On: Chef Alan Cohen will fill your plates and mind with his knowledge of simple food made from great ingredients. Voted 2013 Best NY Burger and seen on Food Network’s Restaurant Stakeout, this local hot spot continues to serve up some super creative and delicious food. Chef Alan (a WCC graduate) will have us taste a mini version of his award winning Habanero burger, while teaching us how to make several chili sauces. Then experience the makings of fresh clam sauce over linguine using only eight ingredients to produce a simple, tender, and delicious white clam sauce that is all about technique and ingredients. Finish with a simple rice pudding that makes a beautiful canvas for your favorite fruit or chocolate. He is always full of surprises and gives tastes of whatever special he is working on that day. Check out their chef’s table dinners for a fun night with friends!

Mon., Mar. 24, 5:30-7:30 pm, $15 (+ $20 sampling fee in CASH, payable to instructor). #14166

Don Coqui ~ www.doncoqui.tv
Hands-On: Don Coqui is an authentic Puerto Rican dining experience including live entertainment many nights of the week. The first floor of this New Rochelle location (Don Coqui is now also in White Plains) features an interactive professional demonstration kitchen and provides the perfect venue for us to help chef Armando to prepare our meal. Before beginning, the chef whets our appetites with a sampling of his latest appetizers, accompanied by the bartender’s beverage instruction on mango and peach mojitos. Then begin our how- to on a Puerto Rican-inspired potato salad. Next up, a traditional dish cooked in every Puerto Rican home, pernil: slow roasted pork. To conclude we will make coconut flan with a deep caramel glaze and shaved toasted coconut for dessert. Salud!

Tues., Mar. 25, 5:30-7:30 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee in CASH, payable to instructor). #14167

Doubleday’s Restaurant & Bar ~ www.doubledaysdf.com
An old time bar feel made even better when paired with fabulous modern food! Chef Danny Caldara will teach us a trick or two in this classic rustic spot in the heart of downtown. We will start with a lesson on how to make a beautiful lobster ravioli in a champagne cream sauce, adorned with roasted corn and red peppers. Our continuation will be the chef’s special, organic chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese, baby spinach, and sun dried tomatoes, accompanied by a cauliflower hash. The chef’s sweet treat will be the makings of a classic Bananas Foster. Join us for a warm and tasty evening on the river!

Wed., Mar. 26, 6:00-8:00 pm, $15 (+ $20 sampling fee in CASH, payable to instructor). #14251

The Horse & Hound Inn ~ www.thehorseandhoundinn.com
Weekend Lunch: As South Salem’s hidden gem, this innovative American fare restaurant and pub is set in a historic setting. 1749 is the earliest recorded date at Town Hall showing it as an inn but it was a homestead long before that date. It has retained its charm with its wide-planked floors, low ceilings, and original beams along with “spirits” of both kinds. For the past seventeen years the husband and wife team of Silvano and Sue Vales have created good food and fun. To start our class, chef Vales will treat us to an amuse bouche, consisting of a fried oyster with baby arugula and Old Bay aioli. We’ll the learn the makings of warm bacon dressing over spinach salad, followed by a demonstration on breaking down a whole salmon for use in their delicious pan seared salmon with carrot and ginger coulis, accompanied by spring asparagus and shallots. To sweeten our lesson, grilled pineapple served with coconut cream.

Sat., Mar. 29, 12:00 noon-2:00 pm, $15 (+ $23 sampling fee in CASH, payable to instructor). #14173

Café of Love ~ www.cafeofloveny.com and www.ladleoflove.com
Hands-On: When the earth starts to sprout its spring offerings, it’s time to take soup ‘n salad seriously. Enjoy an evening of warmth in the beautiful French country inspired dining room of Café of Love. Learn valuable tips, tricks, and the trade secrets of their sister restaurant, Ladle of Love, as both kitchens are famous for taking local ingredients on a global adventure. Owner and executive chef Leslie Lampert will lead us on a lettuce and greens journey, demonstrating complementary vinaigrettes to become the perfect pairing for a light yet luscious soup! The restaurant is farm-to-table, enabling us to enjoy what is being harvested that week and incorporating it into our evening’s interactive menu.

Mon., Mar. 31, 5:30-7:30 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee in CASH, payable to instructor). #14174


Humble Pie ~ www.humblepiespecialtycakes.com
Hands-On: Liza Iraci, owner of this specialty cake shop located in the heart of New Rochelle, will instruct us on how to create a decorative cake. We’ll learn how to encase our own cake in fondant, and the art of simple yet beautiful fondant and gum paste flowers to decorate the top of our take home cake. Vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, or lemon flavor will be offered along with two different fruit fillings and frosting choices. All the shop’s specialty cakes are made to order and custom designed. The shop also offers a variety of cupcakes, cookies, and seasonal pies. There is no limitation and they will create whatever flavor you desire. Come out and be a cake decorator for a day!

Wed., April 2, 5:00-7:00 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee in CASH, payable to instructor). #14252

The Melting Pot ~ www.meltingpot.com
Weekend Lunch/Hands-On: At this fun and interactive restaurant, we’ll start by viewing a brief slide show presentation on fondue followed by our cooking demonstration. We will help to make several of their fondues from The Melting Pot cookbook,Dip into Something Different: A Collection of Recipes from Our Fondue Pot to Yours. It allows you to create your own fondue at home and will be available for sale for $29.95. Help to make a caprese salad and the following appetizer and dessert fondues: quattro formaggi, cheddar cheese, milk chocolate tiramisu, and bourbon flambéed pecan dark chocolate. Our lunch class will be graciously offered with wine pairings for an additional $10. Come out and “dip” with us!

Sat., Apr. 5, 12:00-2:00 pm, $15 (+ $23 sampling fee, payable to instructor; optional cookbook, additional $29.95; optional wine pairing additional $10). #14175

Mambo 64 ~ www.mambo64.com
Hands-On and Signed Cookbook Offer: A Brazilian night is in store for us when Chef Stephanie Landis invites attendees to help prepare a Brazilian feast. We will start out with Brazil’s national cocktail, caipirinha, made withcachaça (sugar cane rum) and fresh limes. Next help her to make an appetizer of Brazilian cheese puffs. Our entrée will consist of churrasco (grilled beef) accompanied by a yucca frita and topped with tropical fruit salsa. Learn the secrets of passion fruit flan. Owner Arlen Gargagliano is not only a chef but the writer and co-author of many cookbooks. She will have signed copies of her cocktail/tapas book, Calypso Coolers: Recipes For 50 Caribbean Cocktails and 20 Tropical Treats available during the demonstration for an additional $20. Arlen’s belief in food and its power is far reaching; she’s sure that if we could all sit down to a meal together; sharing both tastes and tales, there would be peace on earth!Buen provecho!                                                                                                                                         &nbs

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