January 13, 2011

Woman Opens Up Kitchen for Classes

Union Leader Correspondent
Janet Rodgers plans to opening her in-home
 culinary school, “Wiki’s Kitchen,”  next month.
LONDONDERRY -- Growing up in a family of eight siblings, Janet Rodgers learned how to cook much like many of us do: in her mother’s kitchen.
Rodgers, who began the long process of renovating her own kitchen this past fall, said the idea for hosting culinary classes in her home came about around the same time.
“My husband (Glen, an engineer for a Cambridge, Mass., technology firm) offhandedly suggested it,” Rodgers said this week. “And it really got me thinking.”
After spending the past decade working from home as a marketing consultant and trainer, Rodgers, who moved to Londonderry in 1998, said the idea quickly grew on her.
“I was used to working with clients, over the phone, in Idaho, Texas and Washington state,” she noted. “And I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to work in
 a local business where I actually get to meet new people face to face.” 

Rodgers’ dream will be realized next month, when she hopes to start holding cooking classes at her Kendall Pond Road home. 
The name of her business, Wiki’s Kitchen, was inspired by her stepdaughter’s young son, who fondly refers to his grandmother as “Wiki,” a tongue-in-cheek reference to her stepdaughter’s youth, when she once referred to Rodgers as her not-so-wicked stepmother. 
“It’s also a joke on me,” Rodgers chuckled, noting her fondness for a certain online encyclopedia of the same name. “I have a tendency to be a know-it-all.” 
With her spacious kitchen now fully equipped with stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and plenty of elbow room, Rodgers’ classes are expected to accommodate up to eight budding cooks per course. Kristin Judge of KJ Designs Interior Designs worked closely with Rodgers to assist with the renovations. 
Growing up in Plaistow, Rodgers said she learned to cook at a very young age. 
“When I was in high school, home economics was a mandatory course,” she said. “I have a lot of years of cooking behind me. That’s all we’ll say.” 
With Wiki’s Kitchen, Rodgers said she’s hoping to share her passion with others who possibly haven’t taken to the art of cooking as readily as her. 
“People are so busy today. They’re always looking for shortcuts,” she mused. “But they can make some quick, easy meals in their own homes if they knew how. All you really need is a couple favorite recipes. And of course, students will get to eat everything they cook here.” 
With that in mind, Rodgers said she’s been researching various recipes in recent months, always searching for possible subject matter with emphasis on cooking with fewer preservatives and less sodium. 
“It will definitely be about home-cooking, not gourmet, but it will cover a large range of topics,” Rodgers said, noting that potential classes would be offered in appetizers, main courses, brunches and breakfasts, ethnic cuisine, and soups, stews and chili. 
“I’d also really love to have classes for parents to attend with their children,” she added. “If we can teach kids to make their own simple meals with plenty of fresh veggies, they’ll be more apt to eat it.” 
One of the dishes she’s definitely planning to offer to her students is beef bourguignon: a dish she noted that always impresses a crowd while being relatively easy to prepare. 
Another one, Rodgers noted, is macaroni and cheese. 
“I’d really like to get folks away from the blue box,” she laughed. 
The Rodgerses appeared before the town’s zoning board last month, where their application for an in-home business was granted unanimous approval, providing the business’ parking is restricted to the site’s driveway. 
Rodgers plans to offer two or three classes each week in the beginning and is currently putting the finishing touches on Wiki’s Kitchen’s new Web site, www.wikiskitchen.com. She’s hoping to have the site up and running by Feb. 1. 
For more information, or to register for an upcoming class, contact Rodgers at info@wikiskitchen.com or 421-1878. 

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