Want to learn about the Oregon District’s great food? Drive to Centerville. No, really.

Chef Melissa Deaton, left, and assistant Tori Adams of The Dublin Pub lead a cooking class in the 2019 AFS Cooking School in Centerville, and will do so again this year, organizers say.

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Chef Melissa Deaton, left, and assistant Tori Adams of The Dublin Pub lead a cooking class in the 2019 AFS Cooking School in Centerville, and will do so again this year, organizers say.

This year’s 38th Annual AFS Cooking School will explore the cuisine of Dayton’s Oregon District with five cooking classes and dinners that start Monday, Feb. 3 and extend through March 9, with a portion of the money raised going to the Dayton Foundation’s Oregon District Tragedy Fund.

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The classes are held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Monday evenings in the Consumer Science room at Centerville High School, 500 E. Franklin St. in Centerville. Proceeds from the annual cooking school benefit the Dayton-area team of American Field Service (AFS) Intercultural Programs’ high school student exchanges, with a portion allocated to the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund, organizers of the event said.

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“The 2020 cooking series offers a sampling of the Oregon District’s diverse array of cuisine and dining options,” An AFS release said.

Here is the class schedule, and the details of each class as described by the cooking school’s organizers:

Feb. 3: "Chef Liz Valenti of Wheat Penny Oven and Bar reflects her Italian-American background growing up in Chicago and culinary training in California. The Wheat Penny menu includes a variety of entrees and pizza made with dough containing starter from a 100-year old Italian bakery in Chicago, handmade pastas served in traditional and contemporary styles, flavorful vegetable dishes, cheeses and ice creams made in-house daily."

Feb. 10: "Chef Margot Blondet of Salar Restaurant is known for the freshest and most natural ingredients, all of which are sourced locally or made fresh, in-house every day. Salar features world fusion cuisine with strong Peruvian, French and Mediterranean influences."

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Feb. 24: "Chefs Patrick and Casey Van Voorhis of Grist are newcomers to Dayton. Some of their specialties include signature breads, pasta and dishes with a variety of culinary influences. Casey and Patrick are graduates of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY, and have extensive teaching and fine-dining experience at several Michelin-starred restaurants, most recently serving as co-executive chefs at Spoonbar restaurant in Healdsburg, CA."

March 2: "Chef Melissa Deaton of Dublin Pub offering distinguished Gastropub Irish fare, with a fusion of European and American influences. Chef Melissa writes and executes the renowned menus for the Pub's monthly, four-course, themed dinner events."

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March 9: "Chef Jeff Robinson and owner Amy Haverstick of Jay's Seafood, the historic, elegant and welcoming Oregon District landmark. Family-owned for over 40 years, Jay's features a wide variety of fresh seafood and steaks prepared with traditional and creative methods as well as house-made salad dressings and desserts."

Each class combines culinary demonstrations by the chefs with hands-on participation by each student in groups of four with individualized chef supervision, organizers said. Each evening concludes with a sit-down dinner that attendees helped prepare.

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The cost is $55 per person, per class. Classes are limited to 20 students. For availability of classes and more information, call or text Nell Petry at (937) 469-1774, or email her at AFScooking2@gmail.com. If a class is full, waiting lists will be kept in case of cancellations.

For information about AFS Intercultural Programs that benefit from the cooking-school classes and dinners, go to afs.org.

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