You’re invited to a cooking class that benefits Work Options for Women
January Cooking Class

Chef Ian Kleinman has been described as a “Mad (Food) Scientist” and “A Modern Day Willy Wonka” in news stories and food blogs across the country. With his affinity for liquid nitrogen and belief that amazing food should also be entertaining, it’s no wonder why this chef’s catering business, The Inventing Room, is so popular.

Would you like an opportunity to see some of Chef Ian Kleinman’s molecular magic and possibly learn some of his best-kept secrets? Make sure to get your tickets to his cooking class this January at Café Options.

100% of the proceeds will go toward Work Options for Women mission to help impoverished women gain the skills and confidence they need to work their way out of poverty and become gainfully and permanently employed in the food service industry.


Who:

When:

Where:

Chef Ian Kleinman
Chef/Owner of The Inventing Room
Monday, January 19, 2015
at 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Cafe Options 1650 Curtis Street

TICKETS

Unseen Reflections by Tom Haygood

Unseen Reflections by Tom Haygood

Tom Haygood entered the world of photography when he was appointed the Official Photographer for his eighth grade Track and Field day. His passion for photography continued during his career as a Physician. During his visit to Denver in 2006 he was taken by how the towering office buildings transformed into giant canvasses fill with golden reflections containing patterns, shapes and colors that he had never noticed before. He wanted to capture these visions, not only for his own soul, but also to share this extraordinary discovery with the rest of the world. So upon retirement from the profession of Medicine he entered the profession of Fine Art Photography.

See original works by Tom Haygood at Cafe Options.

Making cupcakes with Samm Sherman was a blast!

This past week master pastry chef extraordinaire, Samm Sherman, was gracious enough to dedicate her precious time to teaching WOW’s August cooking class. As the executive pastry chef of two of Denver’s most popular restaurants, Root Down and Linger, and the winner of the Food Network’s Sweet Genius, we were excited to see what sort of delectable goodies we would be mastering. And how pleased I was to find that we would be making my personal favorite: cupcakes! Now I know cupcakes do not seem like rocket science, but how many times a year do you make them? If you’re me, you make them often. Birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, 4th of July, baby or wedding showers… the possibilities are endless because cupcakes are appropriate for any holiday or gathering. But can’t they get kind of… well… boring? Bake ‘em out of a box, buy a tub of frosting, maybe add food coloring and call it a day? Not anymore! I can truly say that I am now a proper bon vivant. Well, at least when it comes to cupcakes!

First, we learned how to make Samm’s gourmet vanilla and chocolate cupcakes. (And believe me, as a connoisseur of cupcakes, these truly were exquisite.) No more of that “add contents of box, 3 eggs, and 1 cup of oil” business. These were made from scratch. And the best part about it? It wasn’t even that difficult. In fact, they were pretty easy if you followed her instructions. And the difference between boxed cake mix and cupcakes from scratch is completely incomparable: they just taste so much better! From now on, I will only make my cupcakes from scratch!

After mastering the art of the perfect cup cake, we moved on to the topping:  Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting. Our cupcake work stationDoesn’t that sound absolutely divine? And so sophisticated too! Imagine bringing “homemade cupcakes baked from scratch topped with a delicious Swiss meringue buttercream frosting” to a party. Instant popularity boost!

Again, this was a surprisingly easy recipe that tasted like it came straight out of a gourmet kitchen (then again, it kind of did since we had Miss Sweet Genius herself leading the way). For me, the best part about the frosting was its versatility. Once the base is complete, it can be made into all sorts of gourmet frosting. Some added fresh strawberries or raspberries, others added peanut butter, some added Oreo bits, some added coconut, and some just kept it plain but threw in a little food coloring. The possibilities were truly endless! Samm let us run wild and do whatever we wanted. We made a bit of a mess, but it was so much fun! There were 10 of us mixing and inventing, tasting each other’s creations and giving each other suggestions.

In the end, I made 6 cupcakes: 1) vanilla cupcake with Oreo cookie frosting, toppedMy finished cupcakes with an Oreo, 2) vanilla cupcake with strawberry jam filling and peanut butter frosting, topped with a fresh strawberry, 3) chocolate cupcake version of number two, 4) vanilla cupcake with yellow frosting topped with a rose, 5) chocolate cupcake with yellow frosting, topped with a s’more (yes, a real graham cracker and roasted marshmallow s’more!), and finally 6) vanilla cupcake topped with a lavender tinted frosting. Personally I am quite proud of the way they turned out! They really look like they were made by a professional! And for me, that is really something. In fact, I have so many more ideas of how I would like to decorate my next batch of cupcakes. Now all I need is an occasion!

So on behalf of WOW, thank you Samm Sherman for a great class! We all had so much fun and can’t wait to show off our creative cupcakes at our next party or gathering!

Student Highlight: Maddie

Student Highlight: Maddie

Maddie finishing her shift at Café Options

Maddie finished the WOW program in October 2011 and was hired at Café Options in November 2011.

How did you hear about WOW?

I heard about it from my TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families) BDA (Business Development Associate) in May 2011.  I had started my GED and still needed to complete some work hours every month.  I told him that I had a thing for cooking and he recommended the WOW program.  I passed the intake and started a couple of weeks after that.

What was your first impression of WOW? 

I was surprised that it existed.  I had been in the Denver Human Services building so many times and I had no idea they had a kitchen and cafeteria up there on the 3rd floor.

How has the WOW program changed you?

It changed me a lot.  I mean, I have a job now.  My kids go to day care.  I have something to do every morning.  I’m just more responsible.

What’s the biggest thing you learned in the program?

I have way better knife skills and I’m more careful about moving around sharp things.  I also know all the names of different kitchen utensils now – six pans, hotel sheets, cylinders, all this stuff.   I used to just say, “Hey, pass me that thing over there!”

Personally, I have more self-esteem.  I used to be all up in other people’s bubbles.  Now I feel confident to do my own a thing and be more respectful of others.  I like to keep in mind what’s going on with other people in their lives.  I still try to get other people to be happy, to get them to smile, but I’m calmer about it.  I can put my child side away now.  My kids and my friends still get that side of me though.

Can you tell me about going back to get your GED?

Last year, I was going to high school but just not getting much done.  I switched to the GED program and I just passed my science and social studies courses.  It works much better for me because it’s only twice a week, and the teachers help us out a lot more.  I’m much more of a visual learner and the style of teaching works better for me.  I should be completely done by May.

Is it hard to balance life with two children, a full-time job, and GED classes?

Honestly, it’s not that bad.  WOW set me up with CCAP (Child Care Assistance Program) that provides day care and they can even pick up my kids and drop them off.  It’s really not hard to balance.  You just can’t think about it too hard.  You set your mind to something and you do it.  I work because it’s just something that I have to do for myself and my kids.

What are three words to describe yourself?

Friendly, happy…and, I don’t know, let’s ask my co-workers. <They contribute helpful, ambitious!” >

What advice would you give to new students in the WOW program?

Take everything with a grain of salt and don’t take anything personally.  Everything is worth it in the end and you’ve just got to look at the big picture, but there will be hard days because you’re learning and changing your whole life around.

What’s your favorite dish to make?

Well, at home, it’s my famous Snickers Cake!  I made it off the top of my head one day, and now I make it every year for my friend’s birthday.  It’s basically a vanilla cake with a bottom layer of Snickers Bars…it’s so good!

At Café Options, I have to say I like to make the sandwiches, especially the Caprese.  It’s just so beautiful with all the colors of the tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella.

What’s next for you?

I’m thinking of taking more advanced culinary classes at the Emily Griffith Opportunity School.  Maybe become a sous chef!

Colorado Gives Day Raises $12 Million for Non-Profits

Catherine Henry

WOW Executive Director Catherine Henry enjoys the festivities at Cafe Options

Colorado Gives Day has proved yet again what a community can achieve when working together.  Despite some technical glitches on the GivingFirst.org website, the campaign drew in over $12 million, exceeding last year’s contributions by 40 percent.  To accommodate those who had trouble processing donations, the Community First Foundation made the decision to extend the deadline 12 hours until December 7th at noon.

A generous $15,471 came in to support WOW programs.  Cafe Options was bustling all day with complimentary treats,  entertainment, and a live broadcast from 560 KLZ.  Interviews included representatives from Work Options for Women, FirstBank, Rocky Mountain Center for Performance Excellence, The Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute, YouthBiz and Community First.

Making a donation at Cafe Options

While most donations came in remotely, some customers contributed directly from the computer kiosks set up at Cafe Options.  Many loyal supporters and WOW board members stopped by the cafe to make donations and partake in the festivities .  New customers pitched into the donations jar after hearing about Colorado Gives Day and the mission of WOW.

WOW thanks all those who participated in this fantastic community event.  We’re already looking forward to setting some big goals for next year!