By: Sebouh Majarian, Ryan Ross and Andrew McDonald
Chris Hall’s retirement dreams became reality as he looked over the blueprints for his future retirement home. Hall loved to help others improve their cooking skills while teaching them how to prepare and make distinct dishes.
“Every time somebody had a party or something they’d say, ‘Call Lieutenant Hall, call Captain Hall, call Major Hall, and he’ll take care of it for you,’ and I did all those things but it was always my job but my tastes were a little too high,” he said.
Hall opened My Kitchen and started his ‘retirement’ two and a half years ago. He provides the food, ingredients and any utensils or equipment to be used during the hands-on classes he offers nightly.
His passion for cooking goes back even before working at his first restaurant at age 13. Hall has an extensive background in the industry which includes everything from diners to becoming a personal chef for several clients in Washington DC.
After serving in the Air Force for 20 years, Hall’s dreams of having his kitchen double as his office almost came crashing down when the Monogalia County Health Department turned him away.
“Getting this started was a problem,” he said. “(The health department’s) first answer is always no, so you have to figure out the rules better than they know them and start getting some yes. In retrospect I’m glad they stopped me in the house because my wife comes home and she just wants to relax and I’d be traipsing through there with eight or ten people and that would stink so this is nice. I even have my own man cave in there.”
With a degree in culinary arts added to his lengthy work resume Hall has created an interactive and fun atmosphere for him and his students. The three-hour sessions have gained popularity in the area in a short time.
“My dream world would be four people, five nights a week. That would be perfect,” he said. “Unfortunately it doesn’t come like that, I get one-zies and two-zies and then I get (groups of) eight and ten and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.”
The students that come in nightly have a wide variety of recipes to pick from as the dishes range from Tex-Mex to Mediterranean. Hall even has classes such as light, fast and delicious or fast and easy meals for people on the go.
“We’ve always been looking for something like this in the Morgantown area but we hadn’t been able to so it was a great find for us,” said Dave Fogerty, a first time visitor to My Kitchen.
Like any good chef Hall doesn’t limit himself or his students. He takes suggestions for classes to teach because people want to learn about various cultural dishes and for the simple reason to expand their cooking skills and knowledge.
Cooking With Chris