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Orland Park, IL 60467

Orland Resident Cooks Without Fear

Kelly teaches four-class series to budding cooks

by Felicitas Cortez

October 30, 2013

Julie Kelly has never been afraid of the kitchen — in fact, the hotter, the better. Whether for a weeknight family dinner or a grand party buffet, Kelly shuns take-out, preferring instead to prep, cook and serve homemade meals deliciously and with ease.

Wanting to share her passion for cooking, Kelly has recently developed the “Now You’re Cooking!” a four-class culinary series, teaching weekly out of her Orland Park home kitchen. The revolving theme? Fearless Cooking.

“So many people want to learn how to cook, but don’t know how or are intimidated by watching cooking shows and attempting hard to follow recipes,” she said. “My hands-on classes can change that. I can teach people that it’s possible to cook delicious and healthy meals using basic techniques and recipes that are quick and simple.”

Each four 4-hour course, featuring many of Kelly’s own recipes, covers a different cooking category or method a week, as well as the fundamentals of meal planning and organizing a weekly menu. One week, students will learn how to prepare one-pan main dishes such as halibut and vegetables cooked in parchment paper, while in another week tackle special occasion meals such as prosciutto-wrapped pork tenderloin or poached salmon with dill sauce. In other weeks, students are taught entrée salads and soups, or different pastas and grains. Each lesson incorporates techniques such as knife skills or cooking methods, or preparation of sauces, dressings and vinaigrettes to make meals come to life. And of course, much sampling is done along the way.

Once students feel confident in the kitchen, Kelly said, the possibilities are endless.

Orland Park resident Paula DiOrio enrolled in her first culinary lesson as a way to expand on her usual roster of dinner menus.

“I really appreciate recipes that can make a main dish all in one pan,” DiOrio said, describing her new favorite recipe — chicken thighs stuffed with spinach and goat cheese. “Now I can cook something that looks and tastes gourmet, but was actually very simple to prepare.”

Don’t expect to sit back and take notes in this class. Students are encouraged to roll up their sleeves and try their hand at chopping, mixing and sautéing, all under the watchful eye and guidance of Kelly.

“Doing is the best way of learning,” Kelly said.

Kelly credits her late grandmother, Lois Copeland, as the key ingredient in developing a love of cooking.

“I learned so much just by watching my grandmother in the kitchen — she truly was my inspiration,” said Kelly, adding she keeps her grandmother’s cookbooks in an honored place in her kitchen. “She was from the generation when everything was homemade and delicious. We often went to her house for dinner and she cooked for us like she was cooking for her friends.”

While her love of cooking inspires Kelly, it’s her desire to share something special with family and friends that keeps her in the kitchen.

“People appreciate a homemade meal more than anything else,” she said. “It demonstrates to them how much you care.

For more information on Now You’re Cooking! classes or for upcoming schedules, email Kelly at nowurcooking@att.net

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"Julie, I really enjoyed your class and took way more away than I ever thought I would. I never in a million years thought a cooking class would make me excited to try new things!! So my hat's off to you. You are a great teacher and the recipes are so good!" 


Susie C., Orland Park