ROYAL FRONT — It’s no surprise that family and food are important to Satya “Hope” Ben. The mother of three and owner of Ben’s Family Cuisines in Front Royal served flavorful, authentic Asian dishes at her restaurant for eight years before closing in December.
After years of running the restaurant, Hope Ben felt the need to spend more time with his family and has really enjoyed doing so in recent months.
“I have seen my life and my family life change 360 degrees. We are in financial control and we have the best quality of life,” said Hope Ben.
Now she’s creating a way to spend more time with her family while sharing her love of cooking.
This month, Hope Ben began offering cooking classes from its 11th Street location. “I had the idea for the classes before we closed,” she said, adding that before offering classes to the public, she wanted to develop her teaching skills and her experience working with the youth in her family, particularly her son. minor of her, Evans. , 19.
“When I started with Evans, he didn’t like to cook at all. He just liked to eat. But when we started teaching, he started to like it,” she said. Through the kitchen, Hope Ben said, Evans and other young people can better manage their money and take control of their financial future. Plus, she said, there are additional health benefits to preparing meals according to your dietary needs and tastes.
“This was something that she wanted to instill in me, to teach me a new skill that is a life skill, obviously,” said Ben Evans. “If she can replicate that in her classes for other students, they can learn a lot and save a lot of money and have fun cooking.”
With a weekend of classes under her belt, Hope Ben is delighted with the answer. She said most of the students were former restaurant customers who loved her dishes and were excited to make them on her own.
“They had a blast. They made crab rangoon from scratch and met. It’s a fun way to connect,” said Ben Evans.
The cooking classes began on March 4 and will continue with three daily sessions on Saturdays and Sundays. Students must pre-register. Classes are $65 and include all food, as well as tips on where and how students can purchase ingredients. Students can buy a single class or a package of classes, Hope Ben said.
This summer, she plans to offer specially designed cooking classes for recent high school graduates heading off to college.
“They don’t have to buy a bunch of pots and pans. They can save time and save money. I can teach them how to make a meal plan and encourage them to cook for themselves,” she said. Hope Ben said that for those sessions, she will start with basic cooking lessons, such as how to clean the kitchen, how to buy and use items that are in season and on sale, how to prepare to cook and how to preserve foods to the fullest. flavor. She will announce details about the young adult cooking classes closer to their start in July.
It is a project that is close to his heart. Ben Evans will attend Shenandoah University in the fall. The family is hopeful that both mother and son will be able to participate in the school’s cooking club. “I’m excited to be a part of Evan’s school because I’ve missed so much,” said Hope Ben, noting that she was busy running the restaurant on nights and weekends when her son, Evans, Edwin, 23, , and Bowen. , 27, were younger.
“This is probably the most time I’ve ever spent with my family,” said Ben Evans. “With the restaurant, I only saw her in the morning and at night. We didn’t really get to talk much.”
When Ben opened the restaurant in 2014, he hoped that one of his sons or another young family member would eventually be interested in taking over the business, but as they got older it became apparent that they didn’t like to cook. He is pleased that, through his lessons, his family, and many of his former clients, are learning the art of cooking.
For more information, visit Ben’s Family Cuisines on Facebook or text 540-664-9317.