BriarPatch offers ‘Ticket to Asia’ online cooking lesson |

BriarPatch offers ‘Ticket to Asia’ online cooking lesson


Mayumi Nelson-Tavalero remembers growing up in the 1960s and worrying what her friends would think if they found pickled octopus in the fridge or seasoned eel drying on the stove.

Mayumi Nelson-Tavalero of Fork and Knife Creations will host “Ticket to Asia” — the next installment in the BriarPatch Food Co-op series of virtual cooking classes to be held 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 12.
Provided photo

“I was probably the weirdest kid at school,” Nelson-Tavalero said with a laugh. But now, thinking back to her roots, she is proud of her upbringing and the art and curiosity of food cultures from around the globe that her mom instilled in her at an early age.

Mayumi Nelson-Tavalero of Fork and Knife Creations will host “Ticket to Asia” — the next installment in the BriarPatch Food Co-op series of virtual cooking classes to be held 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 12.

This mini-tour of Asian-inspired flavors and techniques from three different countries will give class participants a virtual trip to three countries — Japan for pork or vegetarian gyoza with vinegar soy dipping sauce, Vietnam for spring rolls with nuoc-cham and China for Cantonese pan-fried noodles with vegetables.

The class is a much-anticipated return for Nelson-Tavalero, who taught classes for the Co-op’s former brick and mortar cooking school located on Zion Street in Nevada City. The Culinary and Nutrition Educator has a passion for teaching and healthy eating. She worked in restaurants for 17 years and for seven years was the director of a Bay Area cooking school, before starting her own business with a focus on health.

“My hope is that if people learn to cook in their home, it’s just going to be healthier,” said Nelson-Tavalero. “I want people to understand the technique of making different dishes.”

Beyond healthy, Nelson-Tavalero enjoys sharing budget and kid-friendly recipes, like dumplings (potstickers and gyoza), a delicious way to reduce food waste by using leftover protein, vegetables, rice and noodles.

When Nelson-Tavalero was growing up, her mom and dad would regularly throw elaborate dinner parties for friends and family. Born in Japan, her mom was endlessly curious about cooking dishes from around the world. Her father was raised in the states and is of Danish Scotch-Irish descent.

“My mom wanted to learn those very classic American dishes like chipped beef on toast.”

At their dinner parties, the couple was known for their Korean barbecue and specialty recipe, pork spareribs. They would marinade the ribs in giant pickle jars.

“My parents just had the best parties. It was focused on the food. Food just really brings people together,” Nelson-Tavalero said.

Nelson-Tavalero was only 23 when her mom died of cancer. She thinks of her influence often and has a collection of her mom’s handwritten and well-worn recipe cards. Things have changed a lot since those simpler days of Nelson-Tavalero’s childhood when one parent stayed home to cook. Nelson-Tavalero helps busy people reconnect with the lost art and joy of cooking.

“It’s such a loving thing to do to cook for somebody. I want people to learn and pass it on,” she said.

Participants will receive the ingredient list and recipes by email one week prior to the class date. As a co-op owner-member benefit, BriarPatch Owners will receive a $5 store credit to purchase ingredients.

Source: BriarPatch Co-op


WHAT: Ticket to Asia

WHO: Mayumi Nelson-Tavalero of Fork and Knife Creations

WHEN: Thursday, May 12, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Zoom, tickets available at

COST: $25, BriarPatch Owners get $5 credit for ingredients


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