In the Kitchen owner leases property, pursues other goals |

In the Kitchen owner leases property, pursues other goals

Jennifer Terman
Staff Writer

Liam Blackman teaches a BriarPatch Co-op cooking class. His next cooking class September 19 will involve making Essene, an unleavened sprouted wheat bread.

Some changes will be made for two of Nevada County's local cooking hot spots, BriarPatch Co-op and Wendy Van Wagner's In the Kitchen.

BriarPatch Co-op acquired the former location for In the Kitchen at 648 Zion St., Nevada City, as five-year owner Van Wagner plans to embark on other food-related projects and focus on her family.

The facility will be renamed BriarPatch Co-Op Community Kitchen and continue the organization's mission of providing education for members and the community, said General Manager Chris Maher.

"One of the ways we want to fulfill this mission is by offering lifestyle classes like cooking classes," he said.

Van Wagner shifted her focus to county-wide nutrition classes with Nevada County Department of Public Health, where she teaches hands-on classes geared toward low-income food stamp recipients.

"It's been really wonderful," she said. "It's really given me the opportunity to take a lot of the skills I honed while running In the Kitchen and bringing it to the wider community."

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Van Wagner will also begin teaching cooking classes to Grass Valley Charter students Sept. 7, incorporating food into lesson plans about geography and history, skills she learned from the Edible School Yard in Berkeley, where she volunteered for several years.

"We'll be pulling curriculum directly from the Edible School Yard, and so our first class will be basic skills, making bruschetta, and building all the way up to studying the Silk Road and making curry," she said.

Van Wagner is a certified holistic nutrition educator from Bauman College in Berkeley, and also received her Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from Pitzer College.

Though she is selling In the Kitchen's physical location, the business and website will remain intact and she will continue to offer classes at BriarPatch Co-op and operate her catering business, and may even try to write a periodic newsletter for a local media outlet.

"I'm not closing. Just the location is closing," she said.

BriarPatch Co-op will make a seamless transition out of the property acquisition, said Maher, adding, "We had that good partnership and decided we wanted to continue and lease the location."

BriarPatch has offered a few cooking classes each month, in partnership with In the Kitchen for about two years, which it will continue to do with hopes of expansion.

The organization will also continue its relationship with Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, which prepares, freezes and provides low-cost meals for cancer patients, said BriarPatch Co-op marketing manager Stephanie Mandel.

The kitchen will also continue to serve as a community-supported agriculture drop-off location in which farmers are paid at the beginning of the season and bring produce periodically, as well as the partnership with Live Healthy Nevada County, a local coalition that seeks to improve access to healthy foods in the county.

The cooking classes focus on locally sourced, multi-ethnic cuisine with specific classes on different ethnic cuisines or speciality diets, Maher said.

The classes are offered to 12 people at a time for the cost of $30-$40 for each class that lasts about two hours.

The next class, entitled "A Taste of Oaxaca, featuring Nevada County free range beef," will be hosted 6- 8 p.m. Thursday.

For a list of classes, visit

For information about Van Wagner's county classes, visit

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email or call 530-477-4230.

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