The Joy of Cooking
Local chef shares her love of cooking with kids in her business — Wisdom & Witticisms
Trevor Wisdom fondly remembers snuggling on the sofa with her grandmother as they’d watch Julia Child braise, caramelize and chiffonade on “The French Chef,” one of the first cooking shows on American television. Wisdom was only 10 years old when she first baked profiteroles under the loving tutelage of her grandmother.
“I had no fear when cooking with her,” Wisdom said. “She often cooked elaborate four-course meals for her dinner parties and her coconut cream cake was extraordinary.”
Wisdom went on to have a culinary career full of celebrities and stellar highlights. As a key collaborator on several of Emeril Lagasse's cookbooks, TV appearances and trailblazing cooking shows, “Emeril Live” and “Essence of Emeril,” she built a prestigious resume. She has many other cookbook collaborations, such as "Mindful Eating by Miraval" with the Miraval Resort & Spa and "Creole Flavors" with Kevin Graham. Additionally, she’s developed numerous recipes of her very own.
The native New Orleanian's other career highlights include 30-plus years in wine, food and hospitality marketing and brand management for such luxury brands as Champagne Veuve Clicquot and the Windsor Court Hotel.
Today, besides being a personal chef, she recently discovered a job she totally adores: she’s teaching children what she learned from her grandmother, the joy of cooking.
“I really love kids,” she said. “Being around little people is so wondrous. It’s just so much fun.”
Wisdom thinks it's important to teach cooking in the child's home, where he or she is comfortable and at ease. She doesn’t have a set curriculum because she is always guided by what the child wants to learn.
Six-year-old Marigny, who received a piping bag as a birthday present, loves baking with Wisdom.
“She shows me how to make things, like the cucumber sticks for my mom and me, and the icing and cupcakes,” she said.
Twelve-year-old chef, Mina, primarily cooks for her father.
“My daughter, who doesn’t even like to eat, had fun cooking with Trevor and learning to make Dad’s favorite, a cheese soufflé,” he said.
Wisdom teaches her students to respect knives, fire and cleanliness. Her classes last around two hours and include the all-important kitchen cleanup. She also brings all of her culinary tools from dishtowels to teaspoons.
“I teach the children about how everyone has a station in the kitchen, a central place where everything goes and everything is organized. And those skills are transferable to their school work.”
The parents of the children she teaches are generally very busy people. Marigny’s mom, Mindy, wants her daughter to learn her way around the kitchen, but because she’s a working mom, she doesn’t always have the time to teach her those things herself.
“These parents would much rather pick up a roast chicken from Robért’s than take the time to cook the family dinner,” she said. “They don’t have the same drive and desire I have to teach their children to cook. I just truly love it.”
Nothing gives Wisdom greater pleasure than sharing her inside knowledge of food and particularly foods from her Southern culture with her young students.
“I especially love being able to give the ‘back story’ on an ingredient or recipe, and teach them the art of how to make a particular dish,” she said. “It’s thrilling to see a child feel the same excitement that I do and be able to recreate that special dish in their own kitchens.”
While many future chefs will still learn their skills beside an aproned-grandmamma, Wisdom offers a one-on-one experience that her students eat right up.
“Marigny has such a love of baking and is so proud of what she can make now,” her mother said, “and it’s because of Trevor’s lessons.”
Wisdom & Witticisms – Smart Cooking, Fun Eating