Jason Shriner of Nokesville might be the next celebrity chef. As the Aubergine Chef, he teaches baking classes and produces online demonstrations.
“I really enjoy doing it,” Shriner said. “The more I produce my episodes on my video blog, the more I want to be on TV.”
The Aubergine Chef “demystifies desserts one recipe at a time,” through video blogs, bakery classes held at the Manassas Park Community Center, and private or group in- home demonstrations.
Shriner, who is 26, graduated from Gar-field High School in Woodbridge and went off to Johnson and Wales in Rhode Island, originally intending to go into the sciences.
“When I went to school I had no experience in the industry,” Shriner said, “I originally planned to study botany.”
Along the way Shriner realized his passion for the culinary arts, and thus graduated from Johnson and Wales with a degree in Pastry Baking in 2006 and a Bachelors of Entrepreneurship in 2008.
“When I was in school, I always thought I wanted to open my own café,” Shriner said.
However, upon learning more about the industry, he realized he preferred teaching.
Since Shriner was working at a full-time job outside the culinary industry, he decided to start a video blog to keep up with his baking skills. It eventually grew into a business.
When Shriner attended an exposition hosted by the Prince William and Manassas Chamber of Commerce last year, he stumbled upon a choice opportunity. There a representative of the Manassas Park Community Center asked him if he would like to give classes on their campus. Shriner jumped at the offer.
“It’s been great having Jason here,” said Tony Thomas, Recreation Supervisor at the community center. “I know he puts a lot of time and effort into his program here. He brought a lot of value and diversity to our programs.”
Now Shriner believes that demonstrations and cooking classes are his future, and is working on growing his business, The Aubergine Chef.
He suggests his classes at the Manassas Community Center, “for anybody who’s interested in baking. It’s mainly for people who don’t have any experience, because we’re pretty rudimentary right now,” Shriner said, although he hopes to offer more advanced baking classes soon.
Andrea Manganella took Shriner’s class, because she enjoyed cooking but felt she lacked experience in formal baking.
“I truly would just use Betty Crocker, and I figured, if I cook I should be able to bake,” Manganella said.
Now she said it’s easy to bake like a gourmet chef.
“Oh, yeah. I don’t want to bake boxed cakes anymore. I brought my friend a red velvet cake for my birthday. I brought lemon meringue pie to my friend’s house and my parents’ house, and we had (one of my) cakes for Easter.”
Victoria King, who is a rising tenth grade student at Patriot High School, will begin culinary classes next year, but got a head start interning with Shriner at the community center.
“I like baking a lot,” she said, “I’m the baker in my family.”
Because King is seriously considering a career in the culinary arts, she values the chance to learn from an experienced chef.
Shriner is interested in taking the Aubergine Chef to the next level. Since he has been doing his online demonstrations, he feels his presentations have improved tremendously. And while he recommends the videos, he said there is no substitute for taking a class, and really getting in there, trying the recipes and getting your hands dirty.
The Aubergine Chef has a new batch of classes for summer to be held once again at the Manassas Community Center. Focus on Cakes will be held on June 19, 26 and July 10, 17 and 24. Fundamentals will be held on June 21, 28 and July 12 and 19.
For more information, readers can visit http://www.theauberginechef.com.
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Category: Arts & Entertainment