September 1, 2023

New Show Kitchen Teaches People How To Cook

8.5 min read| Published On: September 1st, 2023|

By Gina Horan

New Show Kitchen Teaches People How To Cook

8.5 min read| Published On: September 1st, 2023|

The impressive Show Kitchen teaches people how to cook.

The Market at Sawgrass is a destination for Villagers and visitors alike. Cyclists come for early morning coffee, home cooks shop for fresh produce, and golfers relax with a Bloody Mary at the Sawgrass Bar in the middle of the complex. 

The market at Marilee Place in The Villages® boasts several adjacent food stalls, including Villages Grown©, The Butcher Shop, Frenchy’s Pizza, Willy’s Burgers, and Darlin’s Sweet Shoppe. 

The latest gem in this unique collective is the much-anticipated Show Kitchen, a beautifully designed state-of-the-art facility that took months to complete and has been a labor of love for Executive Chef Scott Copeland for nearly a year. 

“During my job interview, management proposed the idea of having a place to educate our guests by giving them an opportunity to build new skills and instill confidence in their cooking, while at the same time enjoying a fun, communal experience,” Scott says.

The new showplace includes high-top and counter seating for up to 20 participants with audio and cameras so each can see and hear the preparations from almost every angle. The support staff provides dishes to taste while Scott demonstrates how to cook each course, complete with detailed, printed recipes to take home. 

Each class runs twice on Tuesdays and Thursdays, lasting just over an hour, and offers themes like A Taste of Argentina, (or Greece, Italy, etc.), BBQ and more. The first class — Plant-Based Food—sold out with enthusiastic students enjoying wine and taking in the lecture. 

“Over the years I’ve been a vegetarian and I’m really fussy about what I eat,” says cooking devotee Joyce Graf. “This class has shown me that I can expand my dishes and my palate. It’s not intimidating.”

Joyce’s friend Pam Clark took the class because Pam’s daughter MyKala eats a plant-based diet, and they like to cook together.

“We share recipes,” says Pam. “I’m not a strict vegetarian, but I like to cook with plant-based ingredients from time to time.”

Marcia Murphy, who only eats plant-based foods, took the class because she was looking for inspiration from a chef who could sense her palate and help expand her list of creations.  

“I’m also impressed with how he began the classes with this category of food, “she says.  “Normally vegans are overlooked, but Scott seems to appreciate us.”

That appreciation stems from how frustrated Scott would get when fellow chefs refused to prepare something “a la minute” for guests wanting a vegetarian dish. Scott took it as a challenge, and it showed during his presentation. He says that working with The Villages community is rewarding because many people have special dietary needs due to health concerns. 

“I really enjoyed the classes,” says Barbara Kopelberg. “Scott is accommodating, and the menu is easy to comprehend. It’s also the way he explains things. He knows we aren’t pros, so he brings it to our level.”

Barbara was impressed that Scott offered alternatives to professional tools and equipment so that everyday cooks can cook at home. “He recommended using a blender for sauces instead of a food processor, which I don’t have,” Barbara says. 

A majority of attendees say they plan to make the Show Kitchen a part of their weekly routine. 

“I already signed up for a bunch of classes,” says Isabel Klein, who was front and center for A Taste of Argentina. “I’m going to take Charcuterie, Tapas, Strawberries and more if they aren’t sold out,” she says. 

Future classes include Southern Comfort Food, Summer Grilling, and Healthy Choices, to name a few. And Scott is open to suggestions. He encourages anyone to request a theme that might interest them. 

“There is no reason to limit access to food or classes,” says Scott. “With the Show Kitchen, the goal is to share our passion for all foods and flavors with every person.”

About the Chef

Scott Copeland was still in high school in Huntington, New York when he began his hospitality career as a server for a catering company. In fact, prior to graduation, he was supervising parties and driving catering trucks all over Long Island and into Manhattan. 

Scott enrolled at the University of Maryland before realizing that cooking was his passion. Certain that he was destined for a life in the culinary arts, Scott enrolled in The Baltimore International Culinary College.

“I loved the adrenaline and rush of restaurants and wanted to get back into the kitchen,” he explains.

In Florida, Scott quickly landed a job at Disney’s Coral Reef and California Grill. After a stint in South Florida, he returned to New York City and cooked at the famous 21 Club for six years until Central Florida called him once again. He was chef/partner at Artisan’s Table in downtown Orlando for awhile before realizing that he wanted more creativity and a manageable schedule. 

“At age 53 I’ve got some mileage on my body,” he says. “I feel the aches and pains of a daily grind from years being at the grill and behind the line.”

Aside from teaching at the Show Kitchen, he creates menus for McGrady’s Pub, Lazy Mac’s, and Tierra de Sol. 

“Now that the Show Kitchen is finally up and running, I’m excited for the next phase of growth and creativity so I can bring my love of flavor to the restaurants we will be developing in the future.”  

Michelle Deon (Server), Shelly Trivisonmo (Assistant), Scott Copeland (Executive Chef), Mark Regan (Former Assistant), Kimberly Schwind (Sous Chef)

Recipes from the chef

“A Taste of Argentina” Carne Asado Marinade

  • 1 ½ cup fresh minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 cup olive oil (EVOO)
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine garlic, kosher salt and black pepper into a paste.
  2. Stir in juices, onion, and oregano.
  3. Whisk in the olive oil until well blended. 
  4. Preparing the meat (use flank or skirt steak):
  5. Place meat into a large bowl or pan.
  6. Add enough marinade to thoroughly cover the meat.
  7. Cover bowl or pan and place in refrigerator for at least five hours (preferably overnight).
  8. Remove excess marinade before grilling steak.
  9. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
    *Marinade can be used for beef, chicken, or pork. The acidity in the juices makes for a great tenderizer. 

Argentinian Grilled Potatoes

  • 3 lbs. washed, red skinned potatoes
  • 1 lb. diced red onions
  • 8 quartered garlic cloves
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 8 tbsp. butter 
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • Whisk together to drizzle over potatoes. 
  1. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Cut 10 pieces of foil into 12×12 squares.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine potatoes, onions and garlic.
  4. Squeeze the lemon halves and season with 1 tsp. of smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
  5. Toss to coat and season.
  6. Lay out the 12 sheets of foil and divide potatoes between them.
  7. Add 1 tbsp. of butter to each sheet.
  8. Fold the foil into tight packets and place over indirect heat.
  9. Close the BBQ lid and grill for 35-45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  10. Add aioli and sprinkle with parsley. 

Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1 cup fresh parsley packed, washed and dried
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. fresh oregano, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup EVOO
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  1. Place oil, garlic, vinegar, red pepper flakes and cumin into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary.
  3. Add parsley and cilantro.
  4. Pulse until you get a “rough” chop. (Adding them separately prevents the vibrant herbs from becoming a greyish green.)
  5. Use immediately on your steak, or store in fridge to use on potatoes, seafood, any meat, eggs or as a side-sauce.
  6. Lasts up to four days. 

Hearts Of Palm Salad (Ensalada De Palmitto De Primavera)

  • 15 oz. can of Hearts of Palm, rinsed, drained and sliced into rounds
  • 2 ripe, diced avocados
  • 1 cup halved heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • 4 sliced scallions
  • 1 juiced lime, and whole zest
  • ½ cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  1. In a medium size mixing bowl, combine hearts of palm, avocado, tomatoes, scallions, and lime juice. 
  2. Mix gently and serve in a bowl or salad plate.
  3. Garnish with cilantro and tomato for a pop of color.
    You can add shrimp, crab, or whitefish to create an entrée.

Fruitillas Con Crema (Fruits with cream)

  • 1 lb. quartered strawberries
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 juiced lime
  • 1 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Mint
  1. In a medium size mixing bowl, combine strawberries, sugar and lime juice.
  2. Toss to combine thoroughly.
  3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Whip the cream with a hand mixer or whisk until soft.
  5. Add powdered sugar to fruit.
  6. Layer strawberries and cream into chilled glasses.
  7. Garnish with mint. 

Sweet Potato, Mushroom and Kale Empanada

  • 9 oz. shredded sweet potato
  • 1 lb. sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 ½ minced garlic
  • 3.25 oz. chopped baby kale
  • 1 juiced lime
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Goya empanada discs
  • Egg wash
  1. Preheat large sauté pan to medium and add 2 tbsp. of EVOO.
  2. Sauté mushrooms and shredded sweet potatoes until they begin to brown (10-15 minutes).
  3. Sprinkle cumin and paprika after browning.
  4. Add kale and garlic, sauté for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and season with lime juice, salt and pepper.
  6. Set aside. 
  1. On a floured cutting board, lay out the disks.
  2. Dip your fingers in water and run them around the edges of the disks.
  3. Just below the crease from the folded disk, add 2 tbsp. of the filling.
  4. Seal the empanadas and pinch them using a fork.
  5. Lay out on a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  6. Cook in a preheated oven to 400 degrees after brushing the tops with egg wash.
  7. Bake until golden brown, rotating halfway through. 25-30 minutes. 

Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 ea. lime juice and zest
  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup fresh, roughly cut cilantro
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • ½ cup green part of scallion
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  1. In a food processor, add Greek yogurt, lime juice and zest, EVOO, water, avocado, cilantro, garlic, scallion, and salt.
  2. Pulse until smooth. 

“Plant-Based Cooking” Pimento Cheese

  • 1 lb. room temperature vegan cream cheese
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 bunch sliced scallions
  • ½ cup brunoised roasted red pepper
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic 
  • 2 cups vegan cheddar shreds
  • 1 cup vegan mozzarella shreds
  • ½ cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. hot sauce
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  1. Place softened cream cheese in a mixer with the paddle attachment. (You can use a hand-mixer if necessary.)
  2. In a food processor, combine half of the roasted red peppers and garlic.
  3. Puree until smooth.
  4. Add the puree into the cream cheese and mix to combine.
  5. Finally, add remaining peppers, onion powder, cheddar and mozzarella shreds, mayo, and hot sauce.
  6. Mix to combine, then add salt and pepper to taste.
    This makes a great grilled cheese on Brioche or served on crostini. 

Chickpea Salad Lettuce Wrap

  • 14 oz. can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried
  • 1/3 cup celery, ½ in. dice
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions
  • 6 chopped cornichons
  • 2 tbsp. fresh chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp. vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp chopped capers
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • Kosher salt & black pepper
  • 10 bibb lettuce leaves
  • ¼ cup quartered heirloom tomatoes
  • ¼ cup pickled red onions
  1. In a medium size mixing bowl combine chickpeas, celery, scallions, cornichons, garlic, lemon juice/zest, mayo, Dijon, and capers.
  2. Mash with a potato masher (leave it a bit chunky for texture) and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Chill until ready to use.
  4. Assemble bibb lettuce leaves and top with the chickpea salad, tomato, and pickled red onions.
    Also makes for a great sandwich with multi-grain bread and thick-sliced tomatoes. 

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About the Author: Gina Horan

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