By Greg Gelpi
It wasn't a typical night on the town or a usual dinner out for Kathryn Foster.
Sitting down to dinner, Foster was one of 26 other students at a U-shaped table at Clayton College & State University. Foster and her fellow diners watched as chef Will Rece showcased his culinary arts, in the cooking class called "TEX in the City."
Foster said the experience only whetted her appetite so she enrolled in two more cooking classes with Rece at CCSU.
With stage lighting and microphone, the chef, similar to those on television, mixed humor with cooking to entertain and educate the students.
"I like the atmosphere of it," said Foster, a Riverdale resident who works for the Georgia Department of Transportation. "I live in Clayton County so it's close."
Although it was Rece's first time teaching at Clayton State, it wasn't his first cooking class.
"If you think about it, we're all really full-time students," he said. "Who doesn't learn something everyday?"
Continuing Education offers classes from "personal enrichment to professional development" at the university's main campus in Morrow, as well as other sites.
"People are really hungry, if I may, for knowledge," Rece said. "They are also hungry for entertaining."
His television show style interactive cooking class will continue in January with "Fortune Cooking" and in February with "Celebration of Crustacean Innovations."
Rece, the president and executive chef of Kabobs, Inc., is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. He has more than 20 years of experience in cooking in both the hotel and restaurant industries.
"This is the first cooking show of its kind on the south side of Atlanta," said Terri Brennan, manager of Marketing and Operations of Continuing Education at Clayton State. "We are very excited about Chef Rece coming and hope to make the cooking show an ongoing series."
The typical Continuing Education student is looking to change careers, Brennan said. About 38 percent are between the ages of 31 and 40, 27 percent are between the ages of 41 and 50 and 22 percent are ages 51 and older.
The department offers 2,800 classes annually to 20,000 students at sites in Clayton, Henry, Fulton and Fayette counties, she said. The most popular classes are computers and career and professional development.
Continuing Education includes classes on basic academic skills, healthcare training, professional development, languages, computer training, small business, youth programs, technical training, leisure, personal development, sports and dance.
Students can earn Continuing Education credits through the department and even certification in particular programs, such as culinary arts, Web design and private investigation.
For more information on Continuing Education and a list of programs and classes, visit www.conted.clayton.edu.