Friday, September 9, 2011

Meinhardt's Cooking Class: Picnic Perfection

Months ago, Jobin and I each bought a Meinhardt cooking class Groupon.

"Meinhardt: $39 for a Two-Hour Cooking Class at Meinhardt (Save 51% Off)
Small class sizes ensure you'll get plenty of attention from the chef, creating an encouraging atmosphere for culinary discovery. Sample the fruits of your labour before perusing Meinhardt's stacked selection of specialty goods."

We're foodie buddies, and it seemed like a decent deal and like fun experience. Unfortunately, between our busy schedules, classes being booked up or not sounding interesting, we struggled to get booked and organized. Finally, we just decided to pick a day that we were both available and just book it.
The class we registered was called Picnic Perfection. There isn't much of a description on the website, so we didn't really know what we would be preparing.
We met at 6pm at the back of the Meinhart's at 16th and Granville. Essentially, our group of 10-12 was set up across and around 2 tables tucked at the back of this small-ish grocery boutique store. I'll start with the positive: they had an assortment of snacks for us to nosh on and nice cold water and club soda. This was a really nice touch. Our instructor was very nice and extremely knowledgable. A former sous-chef at West, he was really enthusiastic about cooking and food and offered up some great tips along the way. It was mainly a "watching" class, but he did his best to bring up "helpers" to help peel and chop along the way. Now for the negative. We were stationed in the back of the store right near the bakery and prepared food/deli area. This meant a tonne of noise from the mixers, grinders, blenders, staff chatting. So I wasn't able to hear him very well and missed/ mis-heard a lot of the tips and points along the way. It was also extremely distracting to have shoppers walk by throughout, looking over our shoulders, having loud conversations, etc. The class was designed around "summer food for entertaining."

We learned to make:

Melon Cucumber Soda
Honeydew Melon/ Mint/ Sparkling Water

Heirloom Beet Salad
Roasted Beets/ Goat Cheese/ Orange/ Pistachios

Watermelon Tomato Panzella Salad
Watermelon/ Red and Orange Vine Tomatoes/ Sherry Vinaigrette

Honey Dijon Glazed Chicken Thighs
Chicken Thighs/ Mustard/ White Wine/ Honey

Chicken Satay with Dip
Chicken/ Lemongrass/ Oyster Sauce/ Smooth Peanut Butter
Everything was really tasty but really basic. Unfortunately, I didn't really learn anything from this class because everything was so basic. Another thing that I didn't like, was we "learned" two chicken dishes and they were both at the end of class, and because we were short on time, we didn't actually see any of the prep or cooking. The best part of the lesson was actually chatting with the chef/instructor after class and asking questions about salt and his recommended food/ cook books.

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