By ANDY GRAY
Forget Rachael Ray and her ''30 Minute Meals.''
Vernon Cesta, chef / owner of Vernon's Cafe in Niles, is going to start offering some cooking instruction in a fraction of the time.
Cesta and 2 Ticks & the Dog Productions are creating a monthly cooking series called ''Cookin' with Vernon.'' Each episode will be available online at the restaurant's Web site - www.vernonscafe.com - and www.youtube.com as well as on Time Warner Cable's Find It On Demand (channel 573) and Comcast's Searchlight on Demand in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Jim Fogarty, president and creative director for 2 Ticks, said the idea came about when they were working on some commercials for the restaurant and redesigning its Web site.
''He's been working on some recipes for a cookbook,'' Fogarty said. ''Instead of just putting the recipes on the Web site, we thought why not do a cooking show and feature a new dish every month.''
Cesta said he wanted to put the emphasis on fresh seasonal ingredients.
''I do a lot of things out of my garden,'' Cesta said, and the first episode featuring capellini pomodoro was picked because locally grown tomatoes are just starting to become available. Future episodes will feature some favorite dishes from the restaurant's menu, and each dish includes a wine pairing from Dennis Huston, the sommelier at Vernon's.
Each show, which features a theme song written and performed by local musician Frank Castellano, is filmed in the kitchen at the Niles restaurant.
''We want to keep it authentic,'' Fogarty said. ''No studio audience. Real food in a real kitchen with a real chef.''
Cesta said many people have asked him over the years to do cooking classes, but there just isn't room for it at his current location. Cooking for the camera didn't phase him, the chef said, and he tried to prepare the dishes as if he was cooking for a customer.
''I tried to simplify it some,'' he said. ''I wanted to do dishes where people could do them at home fairly simply.''
Each episode will run about five minutes.
''We wanted to keep it short,'' Fogarty said. ''We wanted people to be able to watch it on the Internet or on their iPhone.''
Cesta said he hopes viewers try out the recipes and send him feedback.
''And I hope it makes them hungry enough that if they don't feel like cooking, they'll stop into the restaurant.''