One evening last week I attended a cooking class at a Loblaws in my neighbourhood. The group of President’s Choice stores across Canada (Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore) regularly has cooking classes and it is worth checking out locations in areas you may be visiting. Sadly they are not offered in every province. Unlike many other classes, these are not expensive to attend. The one I attended last week was $30 though the price varies depending on the menu. Although you do not usually get hands on experience, especially in the adult classes, you still receive all the recipes, the chef walks you through making them all, and you get to eat what is cooked. If you are so inclined, you can shop for the ingredients on your way out and try your hand at home.
The first time I attended one of these classes a number of years ago, we were not aware that we would be eating. Unfortunately we went out for a steak dinner before the class! Needless to say we were very full by the end of the evening.
The class last week was based on Julia Child’s recipes: A Vintage Night of Julia Child-Style Cooking with Chef Michele Steckler. The chef told us stories about Julia throughout the evening as well as showing us how to make: tomato and basil bruschetta, French onion soup, boeuf bourguignon, and chocolate cake with chocolate icing. This time I knew not to eat ahead of time. However, a snack would have been a good idea because I was very hungry by the time the first course was served over an hour into the two hour lesson. I learned something at each stage of the cooking that I will be applying even if I use my own recipe: always drain the tomatoes used in the bruschetta, how to get the onions to caramelize and how easy the soup really is to make, the layers of flavor created by the different steps in making the beef, and the importance of spreading the batter to the edges of the pan for even baking.
The class took place upstairs (there is an elevator by the floral department) in a large room at the Loblaws grocery store. We 31 students sat at tables set for the meal. Each place also had a bottle of water and the recipes so we could follow along. The mirrors above the chef’s workspace enabled us to see what she was doing. Throughout the two hours, the chef made references to not only Julia Child’s books, but also the 2009 movie Julie & Julia which most of us had seen. After last week, I have a hankering to see the movie again.
If you see a class you’re interested in sigh up quickly as they sell out fast. Once you are on the website, select the province and city you are interested in to find the list of upcoming classes and locations.