There is a Loblaws down the street from my apartment on Church St and Carlton (Maple Leaf Gardens), and recently I have found myself doing a bulk of my shopping here. Due to my growing interest in learning how to cook new cuisine and having learned that Loblaws has a cooking school, I tried to Google information on the cooking classes offered at Loblaws, but I was unable to find much information. Are these classes hands-on? Just a demo? Do we eat a full meal or just a sample? I had many questions that I was eager to get an answer for.
I spent one Sunday evening browsing through the cooking classes they have available on their site (http://www.pccookingschool.ca/LCLOnline/) and chose to sign up for the “A Taste of the Mediterranean” class. Unfortunately, I was unable to sign up for the class and I kept receiving an “error” message when I tried to process my request. I e-mailed the cooking school coordinator Sunday evening and summarized the problem I was experiencing. Monday morning I received an e-mail and telephone call from Katherine, the cooking school coordinator at the Carlton location, and immediately she rectified the problem. I was incredibly impressed by the customer service I had received and this only made me more excited to see what this class was going to be like. But I have to be honest, I was not expecting much more than a demo since the class, with taxes included, came to a total of $22.60. Too good to be true?
**Note that I took all these pictures with my camera phone, so the pictures are not very good. I did not attend the class with the intention of documenting it, but after seeing the set-up, I felt I had to let others know about my experience. The class attendees and staff were gracious enough to allow me to take pictures. I hope you get the idea.
The first thing I noticed when I walked into the class was how well-organized everything seemed. Here we have a pamphlet with a summary of what we were going to be eating and cooking, with detailed recipes inside. The chef that led the class was Chef Martin Raymond, who is also the school coordinator of the Lower Jarvis Loblaws location.
Course #1: Israeli couscous salad and spicy chorizo & manchego cheese stuffed piquillo peppers.
Delicious Israeli couscous salad. We actually cooked this early on, but we ate it with the 2nd course. I had never had Israeli couscous before. Since taking this class, I have had it 3 times. It is that delicious.
Chef Martin showing the class how to chop properly. He was awesome. He allowed the students to do most of the cooking, while he walked around the room answering questions and guiding us through the recipes.
Stuffing the peppers. We all took turns stuffing our peppers. We could have labelled our peppers, but our group all bonded through the cooking process, so we had a “communal” tray.
The final result. After all the cooking for the 1st course was completed, we all went back to our seats and Chef Martin and the staff came around to serve us. We were also offered a glass of wine and cold water with ice.
Course #2: Herbes de Provence lamb chop.
I wanted my plate to look “pretty” for a picture, so Chef Martin came around to help me plate. What a nice guy! My plate does not have the green beans on it because the green beans were mixed with onions and I do not eat onions. According to the other class members, it tasted delicious. But seriously, everything in this class was good.
Course #3: For dessert we had vanilla ice cream with aged balsamic and strawberries.
Oh yeah, I plated this! A proud moment.
My amazing team! Everyone that participated this class was awesome. We all worked together to create some delicious food.
Wow, I had such an incredible time in this class. Not only did I learn a great deal about cooking, but the food was incredible! There was no skimping on fresh, quality and delicious ingredients here. This experience was only made better and more memorable by the new friendships I created and the lovely people I met. As soon as the class ended I fired out an e-mail to Katherine and Chef Martin asking what classes Chef Martin would be teaching in the future. I have already signed up for 2 more classes and I have asked my best friends to join me. I can’t wait!