When I first tell people that I ‘food blog’ they automatically think that I’m some amazing cook. This is a nice assumption and I wish I could boast about my culinary skills but truthfully I’m quite the average cook. I don’t tend to experiment enough with different foods and flavours and my chopping skills are kind of atrocious. I also tend to follow recipes too precisely, forget to marinade meats and stick to recipes that are very simple. All of these foibles can be worked on and so I am trying to weasel my way out of my cooking comfort-zone and try out some cooking classes. Luckily for me there are many cooking classes throughout Toronto with a variety of prices, cuisines, meals, etc. The first cooking class I decided to try out was through the Culinarium Cupboard.
The Culinarium is a partnership between Angelo Bean - Artisan Sausage Maker, Jose Arato - Mediterranean Caterer and Kathleen Mackintosh - Local Food Maven. Together they've created an array of interesting cooking classes for just about every taste out there. Some classes available are: savoury pies, perfect paella, homemade pasta, etc. I chose the Tasteful Tapas class as I figured this would be a useful class to prep me for hosting any upcoming holiday parties.
The class was held at the Pimenton Kitchen on Mount Pleasant which is an event space that many of the Culinarium classes are held at. The space was bright and spacious and there was ample working space for the 10 or so people in attendance. The class started at 6:30 pm and ended around 9 which gave us enough time to prepare all of the dishes. The hands-on cooking class was led by Spanish chef Jose Arato and the focus was to teach us how to make Spanish finger foods/tapas. The menu consisted of turkey koftas, phyllo stuffed with feta and leek, fennel beet and orange salad, Moroccan beef cigars, and piquillo peppers stuffed with piperade and pork.
The group was split up into smaller pods and each pod prepared the same recipe. Jose guided the class and told us exactly what to do at our stations. As he guided us through the preparation of the recipes, we were given tips on our chopping skills and other helpful tidbits that made the food prep easier and more efficient. We also learned how to work with phyllo which was useful since I've never cooked with phyllo before. It’s a versatile pastry and the options are endless but it can be a real pain as it tends to dry up quickly so you have to keep it moist by using a damp towel on top of the pastry sheets.
Overall the class was very fun and interactive. I thought that the recipes were kind of basic for a tapas class and thought it might have been a bit more traditional Spanish cooking especially because the price per person is $99 for the class. However, it was still a useful class and a fun experience!
All of the food turned out quite tasty. I especially liked the Moroccan cigars and feta and leek puffs, the turkey koftas were quite bland and would need a lot of added spice if I were to make them again. We all ate together and enjoyed some wine for our efforts in the kitchen!
Thanks Kathleen and Jose for a fun cooking experience!
Class schedule and registration can be found here: http://www.culinarium.ca/index.php?page=culinarium-events