International cooking class returns to the Simpson Center

Mariana Rosen brings her years of culinary experience to Hemet

Mariana Rosen
Students shown at first international cooking class being taught by Mariana Rosen at the Simpson Center.

■ By Dennis Fletcher / Contributed

The popular international cooking class at the Simpson Center, taught last year by Mariana Rosen, has returned in a new and expansive form.
Last year the monthly 2 1/2-hour classes focused on food primarily from Asia, mostly from China. Students learned in a hands-on environment how to cook popular Asian dishes from pot stickers to beef with broccoli, enjoyed eating them as a group, and then took the leftovers home.
The format of the classes is ideal for most students because you have the option to participate in the actual preparation of the ingredients (chopping, slicing, blanching) and the cooking. But you also have the option to sit back, watch carefully, take notes, and discuss with the entire class what is being demonstrated, complete with Mariana’s flair for humor. What could be better?
Normally, for each class three different dishes are prepared in a well-appointed kitchen and then eaten amid attractive table settings. There’s always plenty of food and that usually means leftovers. Some students consider this one of the nicest features of the class – another delicious meal at home.
Mariana Rosen is a lively and world-traveled person with a personality reflecting her international experiences. We asked her to tell us about herself and she shared some of her story.
“I have always been interested in food from different countries,“ she told us. “For 35 years I have been teaching Chinese cooking classes and also how to bake like a pro. I was born in Romania and so was exposed to their cuisine. However, once I came to the United States, and realized I liked all kinds of food, I’ve been trying out a variety of dishes that are fun and tasty.“
She continued, “I have taught cooking in Rialto, San Bernardino, Temecula, and now here in Hemet at the Simpson Center. Unfortunately, I don’t get to travel as much anymore and decided to bring a mixture of cuisines and a little culture from different countries into the classroom. I am so excited to be conducting this new cooking journey and am including recipes from Greece, Italy, Israel, Spain, India, France and more.“
“Cooking and eating takes on a different meaning when you understand the back story,“ she continued. To learn a little bit about the country and then prepare that country’s food – that truly enriches the cooking lesson and makes the eating experience much more delicious!“
Mariana urges anyone who already likes or is curious about international cooking to get involved in this culinary adventure and discover other cuisines.Your tastebuds will reward you.
Last week’s hands-on class covered dishes from Greece. Students practiced making spanakopita as an appetizer, as well as chicken souvlaki, served with Greek pita bread and tzatziki sauce, and topped off with baklava for dessert. The tables were set in a blue and white Greek motif.
On Feb. 21, Mariana’s next cooking adventure sets sail for Italy. All classes are held at the Simpson Center, 305 E. Devonshire Ave., running from noon to 2:30 p.m. Cost is $15 per class. For more information and to reserve your seat, contact Mariana at or (951) 333-7636.

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