A study released earlier this year by Stanford University found that even when shut off, gas stoves still leak small amounts of methane gas. The research has led to a renewed push for homes to switch to electric or induction cooktops. Just in time for that push, a new partnership between Silicon Valley Power (SVP) and the Adult Education program in the Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD).
SVP helped the school district install a half dozen induction cooktops in its adult education classroom. The power company is also offering residents a $50 discount on cooking classes through Adult Education, so residents can test out the cooktops for themselves.
Carrie Casto, the principal of Santa Clara Adult Education, helped get the classes going. She says it was a learning experience for everyone.
“We knew the benefits of induction cooking,” said Casto. “Really what stands out to someone who is more of a layperson when it comes to this kind of technology [is] they’re more efficient cooking and there’s a safety piece to it. You have to have magnetic cookware.”
Induction stovetops run on electricity. They don’t get hot unless the pan is on the stove. You must have certain types of pans, such as cast iron, to make the stovetop work. In addition to being better for the environment, induction stoves are considered safer than their counterparts.
“Sometimes people forget when they remove the pot and forget to turn off the stove or units. It will turn off by itself,” said Maikhanh Le, who recently taught a Vietnamese cooking class on the induction stoves.
Le says she found induction stoves cook better than gas ones.
“I would use it as I normally use all the cooking units. It’s the same. Just the process, it cooks faster,” said Le. “It just cooks faster when you boil the water. It boils pretty fast.”
While induction stovetops are used in the cooking classes, the course is first and foremost about cooking.
“The class was very good. Students were interested in what they were doing and what [Maikhanh] was doing,” said Christine Berdiansky who works in the Adult Education office and took the Vietnamese cooking class. “She showed us interesting ways to cut ginger, how to slice the onions. This class, like all of our classes, is hands on and frankly a lot of fun. Students really enjoy what they have here.”
Throughout the lesson, Le made sure to sprinkle in details about induction cooking.
“I did mention with the students about the safety part and the fact that it doesn’t heat up the other units, not the surrounding area,” said Le. “I used the same example as when we went into the training. We had them touch the area around the burning unit and found there’s no heat there.”
Upcoming classes using the induction stovetops include Flavors of Northern India, Flavors of Southern India and Taiwanese Street Food. SVP customers can get a $50 discount off the regular cost of the class by using the code “Induction” at checkout.
Space is limited so residents will only be allowed to register for one of the induction cooking classes in the series. For more information and to register for a class, visit SantaClaraAdultEd.org/class.