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Standard Market puts tasty twist on summer school

Westmont grocer's Wednesday cooking classes attracting crowds

Published: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 9:55 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 10:26 a.m. CDT
(Bill Ackerman -
Bill Ackerman - Meagan Fitzgerald, of Oak Brook, and Mike Skelly, of River Forest, "students" at Standard Market's weekly Summer School serve themselves to samples of pesto and mozzarella on Wednesday, July 17, 2013. Standard Market cheese monger Colin Dalough shows students how to make fresh pulled mozzarella and pesto from scratch.
(Bill Ackerman -
Bill Ackerman - Erika Morrison (left) of Lyons holds a platter of samples of pesto and mozzarella for Kate Niemiec, of Westmont to serve herself on Wednesday, July 17, 2013. "Students" at Standard Market's weekly Summer School learn how to make fresh pulled mozzarella and pesto from scratch demonstrated by cheese monger Colin Dalough at the Westmont store.
(Bill Ackerman -
Bill Ackerman - Standard Market cheese monger Colin Dalough adds basil to his food processor as he demonstrates how to make pesto from scratch at the Westmont store's weekly Summer School on Wednesday, July 17, 2013.

WESTMONT – It was a ladies night out for two Westmont women and their mother at Standard Market’s Wednesday night Summer School.

Carrie Murrow, Brandi Shugars and their mother, Ruth Alinder, enrolled in the grocer’s summer cooking classes July 17, learning how to prepare fresh mozzarella and pesto from scratch from Standard Market “Cheesemonger” and chef Colin Dalough.

“It was well organized, very informational, and he was especially attentive to the people who asked questions,” said Murrow, who went to culinary school. “It was nice to refresh my skill levels and learn something different.”

Standard Market, 333 E. Ogden Ave., hosts the Summer School sessions every Wednesday through Aug. 21, each night with a different theme. “Sausage Making” was June 26, while upcoming classes include tutorials on “Cupcakes 101” and “Summer Mushrooms.”

Murrow, Shugars and Alinder chose the cheese class because they were intrigued by the idea knowing how to make fresh mozzarella and pesto from scratch.

A fee accompanies each course and typically is $25 a person. For Shugars, it was a price well worth it.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had something like this in this community,” Shugars said. “It’s a really good way to gather and socialize and plus learn how to cook.”

Murrow said the classes allow the cook in her to see food preparation from a different angle.

“It’s interesting to learn that things are simple to make,” Murrow said. “You don’t necessarily have to follow a recipe, and you don’t have to be a professional chef to make these items.”

Department heads from Standard Market lead each class. Kate Deck, Marketing and Communication Manager for Standard Market, said the classes were launched last year after requests from customers.

“To be able to learn and meet the chefs really appeals to people,” Deck said. “People really look to their expertise and can learn something from a professional and apply it at home.”

Although the classes have been featured only during the summer months, Deck said they’re hoping to keep it going through fall and winter, and even incorporate cooking classes for kids.

Dalough, whose official title with Standard Market is “Cheesemonger,” said the cooking classes have been well-attended and well-liked among participants.

“Anytime you start talking about fresh ingredients, people get really excited,” he said. “I’m going to give you the tools, but I also want to give you the knowledge so you can have fun and do it for your friends and family.”

After their first night at the summer cooking class, Shugars said the trio already signed up for the following week’s class – held tonight – which focuses on cake decorating.

“To see a family getting out together, in their neighborhood and having fun is amazing,” Dalough said.

IF YOU GO WHAT: Summer School cooking classes WHO: Hosted by chefs and department heads from Standard Market WHERE: The Cube patio at Standard Market, 333 E. Ogden Ave. WHEN: 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday through Aug. 21 REGISTER: Online at

THE LINEUP JULY 24: Cake Decorating JULY 31: Ricotta Cheese & Classic Recipes AUG. 7: Cupcakes 101 AUG. 14: Summer Mushrooms AUG. 21: Blooms & Bubbles

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