VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND : Class on Dishing Up Meals for Little Cash


Cooking instructor George Galve saw a supermarket ad last week promoting a sale on pork loin. And his mind began to race.

"The pork loin costs around $4.75 to $5.12 for a tray of eight steaks," he said. "I can get one pound of frozen spinach for 89 cents, also on sale. After that I'll add two cups of rice, which I estimate at about 50 cents, four scallions to put on the rice for 25 cents, one tomato for 25 cents."

Throw in some lettuce, salt, pepper, vinegar, maybe another tomato, said Galve, and he's got himself a dinner for four people that will take less than 30 minutes to prepare. And for just $8.62, give or take a few pennies.

It is quick, economical and quality meal preparation such as this that Galve will share with students in his new cooking classes at the Oxnard Community Center.

Galve's "How to Cook for Four People for $10 or Less" course begins today, and will meet noon to 2 p.m. Thursdays through Nov. 9. He will provide tips on how to shop effectively, how to prepare a sampling of easy recipes, and how to create attractive dishes and appealing table settings.

"I'll be teaching them the value of the food, and of their time," said Galve, who has hosted and produced television cooking shows in Los Angeles, Brazil and in his native Argentina.

"For the past 26 years I've lived in this country and have noticed that people don't spend enough time learning how easy it is to cook in America," he said. "Look at the frozen food section [of supermarkets], and how many ingredients are in there. You can go for days and have a different dish every day."

Galve is also teaching a course on "Cooking for Singles." It began Tuesday, and will continue each Tuesday, 6 to 8 p.m., through Nov. 7. Fee for each of the six-week courses is $75. Call 486-2424.


Comings and goings: Margee Cooper, who for 2 1/2 years has co-owned Ventura's Cafe Zack with her sister Linda Bright, has sold her portion of the restaurant to a third sibling, younger brother John Cooper. John will take over as executive chef next week.

"He's not going to change the cuisine that much, though he will be offering more seasonally oriented dishes," said Margee. "If there are some really cool local tomatoes happening, he'll try to grab some of them and introduce them into a dish. There will be a real emphasis on fresh local products."

Margee, 46, said there was never a concerted effort between her, John, 38, and Bright, 51, to get into the restaurant business together. "It's a coincidence," she said. "The three of us just always had a passion for food."

And what about younger brother Paul Cooper, 36? He's a photographer, not a cook, but he did play a major role in Cafe Zack. The restaurant is named after his 6-year-old son.

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