CRESTVIEW — Many local students were taught a different kind of lesson at school this week.

Cooking instructor Teresa Colors came to Crestview from Italy, where she lives, to spend the week teaching students from Richbourg, a K-12 school for ESE students, and fifth-graders from Northwood Elementary how to make dishes such as pizza, pasta and ricotta gnocchi, which is like a small dumpling.

On Wednesday, the students got hands-on training on making pasta noodles. Colors kneaded and thinned the dough into sections. Then, the students took turns rolling the dough through a pasta maker.

Colors offered the students a tip before they even began cooking: Use dish soap to wash their hands when cooking, instead of regular hand soap. Colors said it is beneficial because dish soap does not have the scents that hand soaps do and will not interfere with the food.

Colors said she enjoys interacting with people when she cooks and being silly because it gets people more involved. Colors peppered her instruction with jokes, such as putting flour on her nose.

“I love teaching the kids because they can learn while having fun. Sometimes it’s so easy and we can forget how easy it is to cook,” said Colors. “Most people think Italian cooking is difficult and where you need a long time, but that’s not true.”

Colors said she got into cooking instruction after becoming a single parent.

“My ex-husband left and we were without money. The job I was doing at the time wasn’t enough to support a family,” said Colors. “An American friend told me, ‘You’re fluent and you cook very well. I will set you up a cooking class.’ And it worked.”

“Then after trying many times I decided to open an official business, but I was told I couldn’t because I didn’t have a degree from a culinary school,” she added.

Colors went back to school at the age of 48 and got her degree, then started her business — Cook in Italy.

One of Richbourg’s teachers, Shirley Godbold, is the reason Colors came to Crestview to teach the students. Godbold’s daughter, Kate, met Colors at an event in Italy and Colors became part of the family.

“She’s like family," Godbold said. "She was the first babysitter for my grandson."

“Mrs. Godbold is retiring this year and she told me, ‘Either you come this year, or you never come.’ So I booked a ticket and I’m here,” added Colors.

Godbold said the lessons were beneficial to the students for “just learning techniques and seeing other cultures and what they do and how they do it.”

“Even though these kids are intellectually disabled, they absorb a lot. They learn a lot,” said Godbold.