By Jennifer Wallace

A new series of action-packed courses are spicing things up at Algonquin with “The Spice of Life,” in conjunction with Algonquin’s Hospitality department.

The great thing about these non-credit courses is that you don’t have to write an exam and they are just for fun; there is no evaluation at the end of the course.

“Each course has a specific teacher assigned to it that’s their specialty,” said Wes Wilkinson, the academic coordinator and creator of Algonquin’s Spice of Life.

What started out as one of Wilkinson’s favorite and fun television shows as a child called “Merlin,” turned into a dream of creating The Spice of Life courses at Algonquin. One of the courses for kids ages 13 and older is called Merlin’s Kitchen named after the show.

In Merlin’s Kitchen, kids get to learn how to create a snowflake, a rainbow, a lava lamp and even sponge toffee.

These hands-on courses include titles such as “Decorating and Desserts,” “Healthy Living,” “Historical Dining,” “Club and Networks,” “Travel and Culture,” and even “Hottest Beauty Trends.” There are a total of 32 different classes.

The course runs on evenings, but predominantly weekends. The turnout has been good with around 10-30 students attending each course. Classes will also run into the winter term.

“In Merlin’s Kitchen we teach kids the basic food science and physics and for next summer we will be having a kid’s nutrition cooking camp,” said Wilkinson.

“Kids are taught how to cook from the field to the table so they can learn about nutrition and keep it under their radar,” said Wilkinson. The summer camp will be taking place at Algonquin.

Wilkinson explained anyone can attend the classes and there has been a large turnout of older professionals.

“The idea is about the experience of learning and taking away the education,” said Wilkinson.

In classes such as “The Art of Charcutrie” students will get to learn the art of making sausages and cured meat using techniques that date back to the 15th century.

But in classes like “My dinner with Shakespeare,” they learn how to prepare foods from the Bards’ time. Students can then enjoy their creations at Restaurant International.

At the classes, students get to keep a package filled with recipes and take home the product they make.

“The courses aren’t necessarily culinary, we have makeup artistry which is theatrical for Halloween,” said Wilkinson.

Each course is completely unique and some even run for just one day. If people want to register they simply have to contact Wilkinson or they can enroll through the registrar’s office. The dates and costs of the course are also posted online on Algonquin’s website.