Former student holds do-it-yourself culinary classes


Andrea Neff

Former IVCC student Sara Fitzpatrick flips vegetables to be used in her sweet red chili shrimp stir fry during her Five Ingredients or Less class, offered as part of the Continuing Education program at IVCC.

Five Ingredients or Less, one of several culinary-based continuing education classes offered at IVCC, was conducted by Sara Fitzpatrick on April 16 in CTC123.

The class was designed to target food-lovers seeking to satisfy their creative cravings whilst staying within budget, remaining healthy, saving time and, of course, using less than five ingredients.

Food selections featured during this particular class included broccoli, cheese, and quinoa casserole, crab cakes, root beer BBQ sandwiches, sweet red chili shrimp stir fry, and tri berry dessert cups. Fitzpatrick, who received her culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu college in Chicago 15 years ago, designs each dish herself through test runs at home.

“If it tastes good, it’s healthy, and I can get it on the table in 20 minutes or less, it’s perfect for me,” Fitzpatrick said. Her job as mother of two children, ages 10 and three, and as chef at Uptown Grill keep Fitzpatrick on her toes, always searching for simple, healthy meal combinations.

Through the utilization of five television screens scattered throughout a new classroom in the CTC building, the class was able to experience controlled viewing of counter and stovetops. An earpiece microphone allowed Fitzpatrick’s instructions to be heard clearly throughout the classroom, together creating an engaging two hour class.

Fitzpatrick guided students through her five food selections using everyday items, suggesting both simpler and more complex approaches to each recipe, and where to find the best selection of ingredients. Students were encouraged to ask questions throughout and make their own suggestions, opening the classroom up as a shared creative space.

Given the positive response to classes during the spring semester, Fitzpatrick plans on offering more culinary based classes in the fall including Play With Your Vegetables, Not A Burger, How to Stretch Your Dollar, and Healthy Cooking found under the HLR classification. These classes are currently pending approval.

Fitzpatrick recently received an Associate’s degree in teaching from IVCC, and shared that she would not mind teaching culinary classes that would transfer out if a program were to be approved.

Fitzpatrick is no stranger to healthy living on a personal level. A few weeks ago, she travelled to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. to accept an award for winning the group Vi Fitness Competition at the global level. Fitzpatrick and her four group members accepted the Body By Vi 90-day fitness challenge, using kits designed by the company.

“The Challenge is a completely healthy lifestyle platform for everybody and every body,” according to “Having helped create over 3 million transformations worldwide, The Challenge provides all of the programs, products and support for your weight-loss and fitness goals.”

After losing 37 lbs on her fitness journey, Fitzpatrick says that her “why” is her kids, and she enjoys the opportunity she has to share her knowledge of food with the IVCC community to promote the same healthy lifestyle she is pursuing.

To find the registration form for continuing education classes and to view a full course catalogue, visit

Contact Kim Koehler at [email protected] to be added to the IVCC Continuing Education Center email list or call 815-224-0207.