I’m on the Board of Directors for the social club at work and some of the things I like to arrange are dinner events and cooking class events (go figure, eh?). I set up a Mexican cooking class on Friday May 5 – Cinco de Mayo. The venue was a cute, clean, and fun ‘Interactive Culinary Centre’ called Cuisine et Chateau in Kensington. They host regular hands-on and hands-off cooking classes, hosted by their French executive chefs and their pastry chef. There were 21 of us in the group this night, with the maximum number being 25.
Doors opened at 6:00 and we were able to purchase wine, beer or margaritas from the cash bar. Around 6:15 we were served a couple amuse bouche – they didn’t explain what they were but one seemed like a savoury shortbread and the other was, and I’m guessing, some kind of corn-based croquette. They were both something new for those of us at our end of the table. Around 6:30 the chef’s began explaining how things would work throughout the evening and we got to pick which team we would cook with. We each grabbed aprons to wear for the evening and were broken up into 3 teams to work on the appies, mains and desserts.
The menu was:
- Handmade tortilla chips (totopos), guacamole and pico de gallo
- Tostadas de picadillo (ground beef tostadas) and frijoles refritos (refried beans)
- Mole poblano con pollo (chicken with mole sauce) and arroz a la Mexicana (Mexican rice)
- Churros and flan Mexicana (Mexican flan)
Jay and I were in the group making the chicken with mole sauce and the Mexican rice. Jay also made the pico de gallo and enjoyed learning some knife tricks and tips from the chef. He learned that when you make pico de gallo or anything similar, you should cut the tomatoes early, season them and let the salt pull the water from the tomatoes in advance so your salsa isn’t watery.
The totopos, guacamole and pico de gallo were set out on the tables so we could snack while we were cooking. Once the first course was ready we all sat and the team served us their dish. This was a large serving of beef and beans and we were almost full after this! Next, our team served the rice and the chicken. I think our rice was undercooked (sadly, I was in charge of the huge pot of rice…) and I’m really not a fan of mole sauce. I’ve really never enjoyed it and I’ve had numerous variations of it. I found this one bitter… but then again one of my teammates didn’t ask for guidance and dumped a HUGE pile of seasoning in the pot that was not called for!
Dessert was great. It was a bit time consuming to finish the churros as the team had to deep fry them and dip them in cinnamon sugar just before they were served. The flan was tasty, served with a sweet caramel sauce.
All in all this was a fun evening that we both enjoyed. I think Jay would have more fun if we attended a class with total strangers so he didn’t have to hear so many conversations that revolved around where work, but it was nice to get to know some folks I’ve seen in the halls just a little bit better. We were absolutely stuffed by the end of the night, and it was a great experience – much more than just a dinner out.
If you like cooking, want to learn a bit more about food and how to cook it, I encourage you to check out Cuisine et Chateau!