The Brockville Library and local restaurants are offering a new take-and-make cooking class. The goal is to get people out of their comfort zone and support local.
Brandy Smith, the community engagement coordinator at the Brockville Library, said she thought up the idea to try to get more people involved with the library and to support local downtown businesses during the current provincial lockdown.
"Our objective is to provide information and education to people. One of our top circulating books is cookbooks, so it kind of went hand in hand," Smith said.
"It gives people something to do throughout the winter while encouraging them to stay home as well."
Participants register online and then pick up the ingredients from the restaurant. The restaurant chef will to teach you how to cook the meal through a Facebook livestream.
When Smith reached out to Griffin's Eatery, to see if they were interested, owner Jeff Griffin jumped at the chance.
"This cooking class gets people doing something together at home, have a little bit of fun and support the local library," said Griffin. "It's just a cool way to get to know some of your local business owners as well."
The cost to register is $30, which includes all of the ingredients to make the meal. The library receives $5 out of that cost as part of their fundraising efforts.
The first take-and-make class begins on Jan. 24 and on the menu from Griffin's is their pesto chicken pizza. You even get to keep the pizza pan.
"It doesn't get any easier than this, besides cooking it yourself, but I mean, that's the fun of it!" said Griffin. "Instead of ordering pizza delivered to your door, you can actually spend some time doing something creative, working with your hands and kill a little bit of COVID downtime with a fun activity."
The pick-up date for the ingredients is Jan. 23, with the livestream happening the next day from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Griffin will be streaming from his own home.
"I don't have any special equipment that anybody else doesn't have and you'll just follow along with me as we make the pizza together and cook it and enjoy the meal," he said.
If you've never made a pizza before, that's the whole idea.
"You got to toss (the dough) yourself, you got to stretch it but, you know, we'll have a nice homemade dough for you and I'll teach you how to stretch it on camera so it'll be easy," Griffin said.
Smith also hopes to take something away from the class as well.
"I have famous pizza at home that I make and my famous pizza is stick-to-the-pan pizza," she said with a chuckle. "I'm hoping that I'll learn something from it too, like how to not get my pizza to stick to the pan. Maybe the pan is the key but we'll find out."
"The good thing about it is that all of the ingredients are set for you. You don't have to go to the grocery store, you don't have to buy things that you wouldn't normally buy. It's all portioned out and sized and set up for you," Smith said.
While the Brockville Library is currently closed to the public, they are offering curbside pickup of books. The library also offers a large database on their website of recipes from 174 countries around the world. To access it, a valid library card is required.
"People always love cooking. Brockville people love cooking," said Smith, referencing cookbooks from the library being their top loaners.
"This program also showcases what we have here in Brockville, too. We have some really good restaurants downtown and it gives us an opportunity to promote and feature what we do have," she added.
"This can be a good opportunity to try a local restaurant," added Griffin. "It's easy to go to the same old places, the big names that everybody knows, but there are lots of unique, small, kind of mom-and-pop shops. You know, local flavours that you might not normally go to, and in times like these it's good to help support those businesses because we help support you guys right here in town."
Smith added the library has lined up two other restaurants for February and March and, if the events are successful, they hope to continue the classes into the summer.
There is no cap on how many people can register. The registration link can be found here.