Phillips Recreation Center’s James Room Offers Unique Programming for All Ages

Photo courtesy of the Urbana Park District

The Phillips Recreation Center underwent a major transformation earlier this spring when the Urbana Park District launched its first ever demonstration kitchen. The formerly small galley space attached to the James Room has now been opened up and updated into a kitchen.

The kitchen features an overhead camera with a monitor to enhance the experience for the participants as well as the following features:

  • Double Ovens
  • Island with 5-Burner Electric Stovetop
  • 2 Refrigerators
  • Dishwasher
  • Small Ice Machine
  • Microwave
  • 5 Counter-Height Chairs
  • 6 Adjustable Tables
  • 12 Chairs
  • Kitchen utensils, cookware, bakeware, dishware, and cutlery

All ages and abilities

The kitchen is for people of all ages and abilities. Since its opening, the kitchen has featured a variety of courses including nutrition education, cooking programs, youth cooking day camps, and more.

Coming up this fall, UPD will feature a few fun programs that will inspire your tastebuds and cultivate your creativity in the kitchen:

  • Masterpiece and Mocktails Saturday, August 10, 4-6pm (Age 18 and up): Learn and explore the techniques and effects of painting on glass — specifically cocktail glasses. Learn new brush techniques and how to permanently adhere the paint to your glass so it can withstand years of use. As you create your masterpiece, you can sample and learn how to concoct your own healthy mocktails. Supplies will be provided.
  • September 14: Taste Of Italy
    In this class, you will learn simple homemade Italian recipes that will please family and friends. Learn how to make Gnocchi from scratch, a simple red sauce and a twist on the traditional Caprese Salad. Please be prepared to eat your creations!
  • October 12: Tour the Greek Islands
    In this class, you will be taken to the Islands of Santorini and Crete. A classic Greek salad and Greek chicken skewers with homemade Tzatziki. Please be prepared to eat your creations! 
  • November 2: Make it Moroccan
    In this class, you will learn how to make Tanjine chicken and roasted Moroccan vegetables. Please be prepared to eat your creations!
  • November 23: Feast of the Fish In this class, you will learn the story behind the Feast of the 7 Fishes and make 7 simple dishes from a variety of fish to wow family and friends during the holiday season. Please be prepared to eat your creations!
  • Pie Making Saturday November 16,  1-4:30pm
    Ages 15 and up (children under 15 are welcome to join with an adult at no extra cost)
    Learn how to craft a pie crust from scratch and use seasonal fruits to complete your pie. We will learn the science behind the perfect pie crust and you will leave with a beautiful pie to take home to share with friends and family.

All programs require advanced registration, which can take place online, in person at the Phillips Recreation Center (505 W. Stoughton, Urbana, IL 61801) or by phone at 217-367-1544 using your Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card.

Rent the kitchen

The James Room is available for rent to small groups including birthday parties, private cooking classes, and more. When you rent the kitchen, the use of all kitchen amenities and equipment is included! Office staff can e-mail the paperwork needed to start a request, just call and give your email address to any member of the staff.

To learn more about cooking and nutrition classes at urbanaparks.org call the Phillips Recreation Center at (217) 367-1544 or visit urbanaparks.org. We’re also excited to offer the kitchen to small rental groups.