Sunday, March 14, 2010

Food is Love - Dating and Cooking 101

Vanessa Yeung runs Aphrodite Cooks, a cooking school using the space at Nella Cucina on Bathurst north of Bloor.  This past winter, she ran 2 classes geared at singles, to which myself and some friends were invited by our friend Mary Luz Mejia from Sizzling Communications. This was an interesting format to meet other single people who were (hopefully) interested in cooking, meeting new people, and having some fun learning some new recipes.  The first class was for singles in their 30's and 40's, and the second was for 25-35's.

For those who are unaware, Nella Cucina houses a learning kitchen for demos and classes, as well as a retail store with every thing you could possibly want for your home or professional kitchen. It's a dangerous place full of goodies and one could get lost in there for quite a while, but emerge happy with many purchases. I also understand that they do knife sharpening, but have not used their service so I cant vouch for how good they are.

Vanessa, A great hostess and teacher, planned a well thought out menu, and the stage was set for learning and interacting. People are welcomed by the ever hospitable bartender, Wade, and then we are split into three groups. Next, an intro from resident head chef Joanne Lusted and it's off to the races! There are a few people around to help guide and advise, and at every table there seemed to be someone willing to take the lead and help everyone enjoy themselves. 

For me, it was very interesting to attend a cooking class, as the only lessons I had ever had were from the passionate cooks in my family. My friend, and fellow blogger David Ort, similarly had never really taken a cooking class, but we are both very familiar at finding our way in a kitchen. Others like Suresh Doss and Mark and Stacey from Tasting Toronto had been to similar classes in the past, but were also present to add an element of fun to the evening. It truly was a great experience, and I would highly recommend it as a fun and different thing to do on a Friday evening.

Also, at Nella on the second evening was Preena Chauhan of Arvinda's, that specializes in everything Indian in the cullinary realm. From cooking classes to spices, all of her products and recipes come from family recipes and I would think are highly guarded secrets. Preena was there to supervise the making of dessert which was a chai spice cake that was paired with Frozen Vines Pina Colada ice cream. 

The Menu:
Peking Duck Spring Rolls with Asian Plum Sauce
Mini Blue Cheese Bread Puddings
Wild Rice Salad with Almonds, Raisins and Sundried Tomatoes
Roasted Beet Salad with Dill, Walnuts and Goat Cheese
Couscous with Roasted Sweet Potato in a Maple Mustard Glaze
Green Mango Salad
Beef Pot Pie
Moroccan Spiced Grilled Quail with a Pomegranate Balsamic Glaze
Caramelized Pineapple Chai Bundt Cake

Some of the boys boning quails

Mango salad in the works
Discussing the Peking Duck Spring Rolls
Working on the Couscous
Plum Sauce
Yummy Beet Salad!
Preena talking cake, and the Pineapples getting ready for garnish

That is all for now, and if you want to sign up for any of the classes at Nella you cal check here or for Aphrodite Cooks, check the website here.

Peace, Love and Ice Cream

1 comment:

  1. So who was your date for the evening?? Looks like you had a blast!