The Thanksgiving holiday is an opportunity for many families to gather around the dinner table and enjoy a special meal with one another. The Keiser University Tallahassee Center for Culinary Arts is sharing its expertise to make the holiday a delicious one.
“We are doing a white stock and a brown stock, they are both using turkey legs,” said Culinary Arts student Peter Demming. “The white stock you just blanche off the turkey legs, the brown stock you roast them first and then you brown out the vegetables and add them to the pot. You’ll see a color difference at the end.”
Demming has been enrolled in the Keiser University Culinary Arts program for six months. His passion for cooking, he says, began in elementary school. Over the years Demming says he now leads the way cooking his family’s Thanksgiving dinner.
“Probably starting in middle school I told my mom, I’m going to start cooking the turkey. It kind of snowballed from there. It turned in to, I’m going to cook the turkey and the mashed potatoes. Okay, now I’m going to cook the turkey, the mashed potatoes, and the mac and cheese,” Demming said. “This year I think I’m making every dish but one. My entire family is really looking forward to it, they’ve been talking about it for weeks.”
Across the kitchen, Culinary Arts student, Zayda, prepares a cranberry orange relish. The smell of fresh berries, cinnamon, and citrus fills the Keiser University kitchen as she stirs together a holiday sweet side.
Her passion for cooking meals for family and friends also began at a young age.
“I grew up cooking with my mother and my aunts, and I’ve always had a love for it. In my family it always brought everybody together,” Zayda said. “No matter how angry others were with each other, somebody would cook something and invite us over. It would all bring everybody together.”
Zayda enrolled in her first class at Keiser University Tallahassee as a senior in high school. She is now beginning her seventh class.
“The next day after I finished my application I got a call saying they wanted to meet at Keiser so I could get a feel of the school, get to know the school. It really sold me that they were so fast,” Zayda said. “I wanted to further my knowledge and what I already know at home into a professional career.”
The Keiser University Center for Culinary Arts is accredited by the American Culinary Federation. The Associate of Science degree in Culinary Arts prepares students with hands-on experience to acquire a professional knowledge of food, its preparation and handling and cooking from basic to advanced.
Demming says enrolling in the Culinary Arts program has propelled his ability to connect with others through food and prepare special meals for loved ones, especially around the holidays.
“Everybody likes to eat, everybody has to eat, and I feel like I can combine my love for appealing to people through food. I feel like the better my dish is the more enjoyment they get out of it, the more I get out of it,” Demming said. “For me, family and friends are super important. Food is a really great way to bring everybody together. It’s a great excuse to start a conversation, especially for Thanksgiving when you have all your loved ones around.
Keiser University is a private, independent, non-profit university serving nearly 20,000 students at 21 Florida campuses, online, and two international sites. Co-founded in 1977 by Chancellor Arthur Keiser, Ph.D., and Evelyn Keiser, Keiser University currently offers more than 100 degrees from associates to the doctoral level. Keiser University is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and was ranked No. 1 in the U.S.in providing Social Mobility by U.S News and World Report in 2023.