SHERIDAN — Earlier this week, clad head-to-cowboy-booted-toe in Western wear, Irish celebrity chef Clodagh McKenna and her partner, Harry Herbert, paid a visit to The Food Group. McKenna is teaching a sold-out cooking class at Verdello Thursday night, and 100% of proceeds will be donated to the local nonprofit, which aims to reduce childhood hunger and enhance education for kids in Sheridan County.

“Thanks for thinking of this,” McKenna said to Verdello owner Kathy Bede, as they toured the facility with The Food Group Executive Director Keri McMeans and Program Director Elizabeth Moore.

“No, thank you,” responded Bede, as the group laughed. “You made this possible.”

McKenna, whose culinary prowess is sought out across the world, had offered to teach the cooking class gratis while in town visiting Herbert’s cousins, Paul and Sandra Wallop, at Canyon Ranch.

Bede and her family decided to “pay it forward” by supporting The Food Group. And they were well rewarded: The class sold out almost immediately. A lengthy waitlist, filled with names from across the region, has continued to grow every day since.

“We are happy to be part of such a supportive community that is growing and eager to experience events like this class,” Bede said. “…It is critical to ensure (kids) have access to good food, but they also learn the importance of it as well. We, therefore, wanted to donate these proceeds to The Food Group, so that we can provide them some assistance in pursuing those important goals.”

The nonprofit will be given $1,000-1,500 from the class proceeds, Bede estimated. McKenna will continue to raise money during the event by selling her branded aprons and donating the proceeds to The Food Group.


Read more about Clodagh McKenna and her Wyoming connection, then get her recipe for spatchcock chicken.