Cooking up life lessons with inspiration from Questlove

MIDDLETON, Wis. (WMTV)-- Musician Questlove has inspired a new cooking class at Clark St. Community School, and students are walking away with far more than culinary skills.

Co-teacher Mark Voss shows students how to tend to microgreens in his class Mixtape Potluck.

Mixtape Potluck, Questlove’s cookbook, is also the name of the semester-long class at the Middleton charter school. Co-teachers Mark Voss and Corinne Neil split their time between the traditional classroom and the kitchen, using the book to teach argumentative writing, problem-solving, design, and, of course, cooking.

Neil said that classmates working together to improvise recipes is another critical takeaway.

“Feedback-- that’s the important part of improvisation so that you don’t get stuck in the same loop. You need that constant feedback, and that’s what helps to propel you forward.”

Junior Madeline Meyer and her peers made their own version of a french toast.

“(This class) teaches you a lot about if things go wrong, there’s a lot of ways to solve that,” Meyer said. “I know we added too much chili powder. We had too little, then we had too much. We added more milk to balance that out.”

Like the way Questlove does in his book, the Clark St. students are encouraged to pair their dishes with songs that match the mood.

“It is a music class, and it is a food class,” Voss said. “It’s also a social justice class in that we’re wrapping our heads around what we as a culture do with our food as food excess.”

Voss said that their ingredients come from local grocers, like Metcalfe’s and Willy St. Co-op. The grocers donate their excess foods, which are edible but would not be sold to customers. Voss added that local chefs and parents have also contributed to the success of the class.

Owen Mosley, a senior, said that he loved seeing food and music bringing people together. “It’s been really nice to see people who wouldn’t necessarily hang outside of school come together in the class,” he said.

At the end of the term in March, students will host a potluck for the school community.