Pass the pasta, please...

mvoorhis@sierrastar.comNovember 12, 2013 

Local girl scout troop #2641 co-leader Meghan Mills, cooked up a badge-awarding idea with Executive Chef Brian Velasquez of Crab Cakes — all to assist her troop in earning their cooking badges.

To accomplish this mission, Velasquez invited Mills and her troop of six to tour the restaurant's kitchen and to partake in an afternoon of pasta-making from scratch.

The junior girl scouts, all 9 years of age and 4th graders at Oakhurst Elementary School, took the lesson seriously, thoroughly enjoying mixing the eggs and oil, adding it to flour, and kneading the dough, which left touches of flour on smiling faces.

After their lesson, the scouts were treated with the added bonus of sitting down to eat their own creations.

"I highly recommend this for home cooking," said troop member Kylie Trinca.

"Handmade pasta is so much better than store-bought," Mills added. "Lauren (her daughter) has already asked if she can handmake pasta again at home."

To earn their cooking badge, the girls must have toured a kitchen, and talked with a professional chef. Mills, with the help of Velasquez, took it one step further, treating her troop to a hands-on cooking lesson at Crab Cakes.

"It was a phenomenal experience," Velasquez commented. "I'm from Sacramento and we used to do this kind of thing all the time. It's just so much fun. You never know who you might touch or inspire to go on to the next level."

Velasquez has inspired his own 18-year-old son, who just started culinary school in Rhode Island, to follow in his footsteps.

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