Teaching Happy Valley how to cook, one meal at a time.
“I love to cook and I love to teach people how to cook and I could talk all day about how important it is to learn how to cook.”
LaCreta Holland wants to share her love of cooking and teach others the joys of cooking. In a bid to do this Holland started her own business “Happy Valley Learn to Cook” where she gives cooking lessons from the comfort of her own home.
Her students range from those with little experience in the kitchen to people who want to spice up their meals. “I teach cooking lessons in my home, anywhere from basic I can’t boil water to specific requests.” One student simply wanted to learn how to cook eggs, but really didn’t know his way around the kitchen and was nervous about boiling water. “We really worked on boiling water and then putting the eggs in it and boiling eggs. Then later using a frying pan and making omelettes.”
Holland also helps her students recreate meals they have eaten before. One woman wanted to learn how to make a “croque monsieur” sandwich she had eaten in New Orleans and was thrilled when Holland taught her how to. “In my classes you make the food and then you can eat some and you take the leftovers home. ”
Holland’s cooking has been inspired by her travels but most notably by the 5 years her family spent in Lerici, Italy. “A lot of what I cook has a bit of an Italian flair to it. I like to use basil, parmesan cheese, that sort of thing” says Holland. She learned that a true “Italian lasagna does not involve using mozzarella or ricotta cheese and then a lot of parmesan cheese like Americans make it. It's simply a tomato sauce, a bechamel sauce and the pasta noodles.”
One of the most important lessons she's learned is how to cook seasonally. State college is a great place to do this because it is ‘an agricultural paradise’ says Holland.
Over the years Holland has learned a number of tips and tricks and reveals them to make cooking an easy and enjoyable experience.
Holland teaches students to cook a range of delicious food from asparagus pizza to 4 ingredient granola bars and much more.
Video: This American mozzarella is so gross!
Holland's whole family was affected by their time in Italy and she recalls a fond memory involving her youngest daughter and mozzarella cheese.