There is no doubt that Vancouver is a great place for food.  As you know, I have made it my personal mission to try all the amazing food in this city and after 2 years I feel like I am still at the beginning. But, Vancouver is not just great for restaurants but also for learning how to cook! So this post will be a bit different but I thought I share my experience at my first ever cooking class with you!

With plenty of different cooking schools that all offer a variety of classes, there is much to choose from. Trying out a cooking class has been on J. and my list for a while and last weekend we finally did it. Our very first cooking class at the Gourmet Warehouse in Vancouver, and what a blast it was.

The Cooking Class

Since this was our first cooking class ever, we didn’t know what to expect and arrived with a thrill of anticipation. If you haven’t been to the Gourmet Warehouse yet and you like cooking, you have to go and check it out. They have everything a chefs heart could possibly desire. And the best thing, with a cooking class you even get 10% off everything in the store.

The classes are held upstairs in a show kitchen. From up there you have a nice view over the whole shop. Around the kitchen are some tables for the participants to sit down at and watch the chef. To make sure everybody can see perfectly, there are also cameras above the counter, filming the action and you can watch them on big TVs, which are hanging above and behind the chef. I thought that was quite a good idea to make sure you don’t miss any step. Even though we didn’t know what to expect, for some reason we thought that we would be cooking ourselves. Seeing the set up, it was obvious that we are just going to watch and(of course) try the food! This was a slight disappointment at first but once we started it was fun watching Chef Cindy and Sous-Chef Ruth working away, sharing their stories, tips and tricks!

The Food

As you might have guessed from the title, this cooking class was about the Italian way of cooking and therefore featured Italian cuisine. Now, you might think “Ah, that’s easy. Italian food is pasta and pizza, that’s not hard to cook”. And yes, you are right. Pasta and Pizza are Italian foods (and to make them decent is not to hard, to make them taste amazing is a whole other story), however this was not what we cooked at the Gourmet Warehouse. Italy is also famous for their fantastic cheeses, which meant we started the class of with making some Ricotta. I had made Mozzarella before, so wasn’t to worried about it and it’s actually even easier and quicker than making Mozzarella, who would have thought? I don’t think I will ever buy Ricotta again.

At first we got to enjoy the Ricotta on some crostini, one topped with smoked Salmon, the other one topped with caramelized onions. Super simple but super delicious. This was followed by presenting another way of enjoying Ricotta, which I had never though about. Chef Cindy presented it very simple in a bowl, with just some honey drizzled over it. It was served with crackers to spread it on and some Iranian dates to round up the dish. I thought this is a great idea to offer guests for a little snack, it’s a super simple dish but just stunning in flavours. The Ricotta was still warm, which not everybody liked by I loved it and the hint of the lemon zest in it made it very special.

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Moving on, the next dish up were Shrimp Scampi on a bed of arugula. I’m not gonna get into much detail here (if you want to know more, you gonna have to take Chef Cindy’s class!) but it was super delicious and served in a rich butter-garlic sauce. Yum! This was followed by the main dish: Chicken Saltimbocca. Fun fact for you: Saltimbocca means “jump in the mouth”. Very appropriate for a mouthwatering dish like this, chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto. Yes, you want this to jump in your mouth straight away.

The Saltimbocca didn’t just get served on it’s own (even though it probably would have been enough, as it was stunning on it’s own), we got a big portion of Caponata on the side. “What on earth is Caponata?”, you might ask. Fair question, I had no idea either. It basically is a Sicilian vegetable stew, traditionally made with eggplant but you can use any vegetable you fancy. Great way to use some leftover vegetables! Chef Cindy made the traditional recipe with eggplant in a tomato sauce. It was a good combination to the meat as the stew was slightly sweet and therefore paired nicely with the salty prosciutto around the chicken. I am not sure if I would make the Caponata at home but it did taste very nice.

Now to the dessert: Warm Chocolate Risotto! Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? It’s basically like rice pudding but with chocolate and topped with some vanilla whipped cream. It’s a good dessert to make when you have guests over as it takes some time to cook but you don’t really need to watch it. However, you don’t want to make it to far in advance as it is best when served super fresh, right off the stove and still warm!

The Chef

Chef Cindy did a great job explaining exactly what she was doing, while entertaining the group of people and sharing some secret tips that she learned during her extensive travels and working at different restaurants all over the world. She lived in Italy for a long time and therefore is very familiar with the Italian cuisine even though she is of Chinese origin.

Cindy and her Sous-Chef Ruth make a great couple, mocking each other (probably more Cindy mocking Ruth if we are honest) and entertaining the crowd with that. We certainly had a great deal of fun and it was nice to get insight to some secret tips and tricks that I would have otherwise never learned about.

Conclusion

J. and myself had a great time at our first cooking class and even tough we didn’t learn huge amounts, there were a few tips and tricks as well as some fun facts I took away from the day. The cooking classes at the Gourmet Warehouse are fun, entertaining and you get to enjoy some great food. We will definitely be back at some point but for now I am keen to try some other cooking classes in Vancouver, to see how they compare. Next up: The Dirty Apron!

About The Author

Hannah Breucker
Co-Founder and Editor

Hey, I'm Hannah Breucker from Munich, Germany but made Vancouver my new home and this food blog my new project! I love food and so I'm always on the hunt for new restaurants in Vancouver. But I also enjoy baking and cooking for my better half or friends. I am constantly trying out new recipes or improving old recipes, so if you love food as much as I do, come and join me on my food adventures!