Woodbine native Heather Watkins-Jones is a self-proclaimed starving artist. Well, more like a well-fed version of one.
Standing before a chopping board slicing an array of colorful produce and ingredients to add to her homemade crustless quiche - Jersey tomatoes and carrots from Delancey's Farm Market in Ocean View, eggs from farmer David Rutherford, of Rutherford Farms in Cape May, chives and baby beet greens from her own backyard garden and goat cheese from Cape May Organic Market - Watkins-Jones said she's a food writer, but writing about food alone doesn't pay the bills. So she teaches cooking classes, too.
Watkins-Jones is hosting two, hands-on cooking classes this summer in Cape May Court House, themed "Farmer's Market Favorites." The first one is focused on Jersey tomatoes, and the second is on canning.
Watkins-Jones decided she wanted to become a food writer at age 24. She grew up in a family of foodies and had a lifelong interest in cooking. Her grandfather, 85-year-old Woodbine resident Fred Watkins, is the retired food service director of the Woodbine Development Center and a former restaurateur. A New York City resident at the time, she enrolled in the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, where she was taught under the instruction of celebrity chef Anne Burrell of the Food Network. After graduating from culinary school, Watkins-Jones began her food writing and editing career while teaching cooking classes on the side.
More than a decade and two children later, (ages 6 and 3) Watkins-Jones' dream has now come true. She's a frequent contributor to Edible Jersey and Sister 2 Sister magazine, has worked for Gourmet magazine, appeared as a guest judge on the TV ONE foodcentric game show, "My Momma Throws Down," and has tested recipes for countless cookbooks, the most recent being "Dinner: A Love Story," by Jenny Rosenstrach, contributing editor for Bon Appetit magazine. She also was awarded the 2011 special mention award at the Symposium of Professional Food Writers for her writing in Edible Jersey magazine. Watkins-Jones moved back to Woodbine about 10 years ago. Since returning, she said she's watched South Jersey become more in tune with the benefits of eating locally and in season.
"The food cultural I had grown accustomed to in New York City is finally finding its way down here to South Jersey," she said. Some of her favorite local food stops include Clinton Conover Farms Stand in Swainton, Delancey's Farm Market in Ocean View and Cape May Organic Market in West Cape May.
Contact Elisa Lala:
Chef Heather Jones is hosting two, hands-on cooking classes this summer themed 'Farmer's Market Favorites"
Upcoming cooking classes:
July 18: Tomato Palozza, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Registration ends July 13.
Aug, 18: Canning 101, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Registration ends July 18.
To reserve a spot in one of Chef Jones' cooking classes or to inquire availability for private in-home cooking classes, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 609-741-8767. Interested parties can also check out the class schedule and order tickets online through heatherwatkinsjones.com under the Cooking Classes link. Classes are $50 per person. All classes are held at a private residence in Cape May Court House.