What’s better than one new cooking series at Miller Center? Two! Over the next four months, Miller Center will host Indian Cooking with Mahabuba Akhter series and Cooking with Marisa Jones. Whether you’re looking to expand your culinary skills or try out a new type of food, these new classes are sure to please. Continue reading below to learn more about both series and their offerings.

Cooking classes, lynchburg


Indian Cooking Series with Mahabuba Akhter

These 2-hour classes offer entertaining cooking demonstrations, a delightful atmosphere, and a full meal at the end of each class. Participants will be introduced to basic spices from India, and how to use them to enhance the taste, smell, and appearance of your food. 

About Mahabuba Akhter: Mahabuba Akhter is the owner of Cooking with Mahabuba, a series of Bengali-Indian cooking lessons for food enthusiasts. The idea behind her business is to make her cooking lessons a “cultural experience” by educating her audience about the unique flavors and spices used in Bengali cuisine. Initially, she started her cooking career volunteering at UVA’s International Center while conducting cooking classes at The Haven. She later transitioned into hosting her own monthly cooking classes at UVA’s International Center, and four years later has continued success while also teaching classes and courses outside of UVA. 


Indian Cooking with Lynchburg Parks and RecreationBengali Vegan Dishes

Menu Includes: 

Khituri (rice, lentils, sweet pea, cauliflower, and potato)
Fried Eggplant
Papadam (lentil chips)

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Indian Cooking Classes, LynchburgChicken Curry

Menu Includes:

Chicken Curry
Basmati Rice (with ghee and lime)
Salad (tomato, cucumber, green mango, cilantro, and green onion)
Pumpkin with Punch Phoro

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Indian Cooking with Lynchburg Parks and RecreationShrimp Malayi Curry

Menu Includes: 

Shrimp Malayi Curry
Basmati Rice with Ghee and Safron
Mango Lassi
Fried Potatoes

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 chicken-shish-kabobs-32166-ssChicken Shish Kabob

Menu Includes:

Chicken Shish Kabob (assorted bell pepper, onion, pineapple)
Chickpea Curry
Raita (yogurt with cucumber)

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Cooking with Marisa Jones

These 2-hour classes, taught by Chef Marisa Jones, will cover a multitude of topics, from knife skills to cooking a whole chicken! If any of these topics interest you, make sure to register soon. Cooking novices are welcome, and you can expect to leave class with a wealth of culinary knowledge, a full stomach, and great memories. Sign up with your spouse/partner, a group of friends, or on your own. Chef Jones’ classes are available to adults ages 18 and up. 

About Marisa Jones: Chef Marisa Catalano Jones is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. After working in two prominent New York restaurants, Marisa started food styling for television. After returning to Virginia, she began teaching cooking classes in Charlottesville at The Seasonal Cook, The Charlottesville Cooking School and The Happy Cook. She currently does classes, events, specialty dinners, and catering. She is also the chef at Elizabeth’s Early Learning Center. To learn more about Chef Jones, her background, and her passion for cooking, continue reading here.


Knife skills, cooking class, lynchburgKnife Skills 

Learn kitchen basics: from how to hold your knife, to slicing and dicing. Healthy and delicious meals can be quick when knife-cutting skills are applied. This hands-on participation class focuses on the fundamentals of owning and using a chef knife.

Class will include information on care of a knife, cutting accessories, demonstration, participation in basic cuts and techniques, and execution of a recipe using the presented skills. An Italian-style bread salad will be served at the end and you will leave class full.

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cooking classes, lynchburgRisotto

Risotto is a dish that has become associated with fancy high end restaurants, but really, it’s the epitome of Italian home cooking and comfort food. Knowing how to make a good risotto is something we think every cook should have in their back pocket, if only because it’s one of those dishes that’s so satisfying and easy to prepare, and it never fails to impress.

Menu will include: Roasted Butternut Squash and Sage, Seared Shrimp with Parsley. Taste a sampling at the end of the class and leave feeling full. Register by the Monday Before.

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cooking classes, LynchburgThe Whole Chicken

Buying a whole raw chicken and cutting it into parts is the most cost effective method! Learn how to cut a whole chicken into pieces with hands-on instruction then take home your chicken and recipes to practice and enjoy. One of the recipes will be served at the end of the class for sampling.

Students will need to bring their own cutting board, chef knife, and kitchen shears. Register by the Monday before.

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Sushi class, cooking class, lynchburgRoll Your Own Sushi

Sushi is great, but it can get expensive when you to go to a restaurant. Learn how to make it in this hands-on class, then practice at home and wow your family and friends. It’s easier than you think! This hands-on class with end with a sampling of your rolls. Register for this class by the Monday before.

Menu for the night includes: Shrimp Tempura Roll; Spicy Tuna Hand Roll; and Inside-Out California Roll.

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 cooking classes, lynchburggSalad Dressing

Making salad dressing from scratch is nearly as fast and easy as shaking up a bottle, and the taste is phenomenally better than even the most “gourmet” store-bought dressings. Salad will be served at the end of class. Register the Monday before.

Learn to make: Classic Ranch, Carrot Ginger, Mediterranean Vinaigrette. 

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How Do I Register?

Registration for classes and activities can be done in one of the following two ways.

1. IN PERSON Visit our offices at Miller Center, 301 Grove Street, between the hours of 8:30am and 5:00pm to register in person. One of our friendly customer service staff members would be happy to assist you.

2. ONLINE Most of our classes are available for online registration. Activities with special registration instructions (for example, adult athletic leagues) will be notes in the activity description. If you have any issues navigating online registration, feel free to call us at (434) 455-5858 and we will be happy to walk you through it.


Have a question? Give us a call at (434) 455-5858 or send an email to customerservice@lynchburgva.gov.