I always tell my husband, the most romantic thing he could ever do for me is make me a meal or clean the house.  I’m sure many women would agree with me.  That’s why when I was recently invited to attend a date night cooking class at Dish Cooking Studio in Toronto I jumped at the opportunity!
We have two young kids at home so meal time is often so hectic that cooking and meal time could be a bit stressful in our home.  We almost never get to cook a meal together without kids screaming or fighting or asking when dinner is going to be ready.

I have heard about Dish Cooking studio for such a long time, and every single review has been excellent.  I am so excited that I finally had the opportunity to attend a class.

When you walk into the studio on College, it is very much like a café but with a wall of in-house made, pre-prepared foods on either side.   The concept is perfect for a family who wants to eat quality food prepared by a chef but don’t have the time to cook those gourmet healthy meals.  They even have frozen croissant and fresh breads that you can pick up on your way to the cottage this summer!

We proceeded to the back of the studio where we were greeted by Jennifer who offered us a fantastic cocktail – a great way to start a cooking class – always!  Additional wine and cocktails are available throughout the class which always helps loosen everyone up a little.

The class was called “Cooking on the Wild Side”.  It was a menu designed around wild and local Ontario produce.   Chef Erin created this incredible menu that really showcased some of the best wild ingredients that Ontario has to offer – here is the menu we cooked together:
Wild Leek + Watercress Soup, Scape oil + Crispy Leeks
Stinging Nettle Egg Yolk Ravioli with Wild Mushroom Ragu
Pan Seared Arctic Char with Sweet Pea Puree, Grilled Asparagus + Fava, Spring Radish Salad
Pink Peppercorn Pavlova, Poached Rhubarb + Elderberry, Goat cheese Mousse

Chef Erin told us all about each ingredient we would be cooking with and why it was so special to her.  Although there were 18 people in attendance, it felt very intimate.  We all got to know each other before the class began and then we were able to pick our station.  Dave and I chose to tag team the dessert but the great thing about these classes is that you can choose to do as much or as little as you want.  We created the dessert but we let others step in and try some techniques, such as the piping of the meringue for the Pavlova.  I wanted to try cooking some fish using Chef Erin’s technique that I had never seen before.  She lined the bottom of her cast iron skillet with a round piece of parchment paper.  It worked quite well because the fish didn’t stick to the pan and you still achieve a really nice sear on the fish.  The studio sent as all the recipes afterwards so we can try them at home again.

I was so excited to see my husband, Dave, get so involved in the cooking!  He was literally jumping on to every station wherever needed, and he did a fantastic job for someone who doesn’t cook all that often.

A lot of people asked why I was attending a cooking class – since I call myself a cooking expert.  I never claim to know everything and I learn new things every day, as we all do, I’m sure.  Even though I would call myself advanced in the area of cooking techniques, I took a way a lot from this class.  It is amazing for beginners too because the staff and Chef are willing to give extra help to anyone who needs it.  There is absolutely no ego in this environment, and that’s how I think it should be.  We were all there as people who enjoy food, cooking and most importantly a great evening out.
We cooked to the sounds of Motown and honestly, it was the first time I fully relaxed and really enjoyed cooking in a long time – and my husband felt the same way.  We had such an incredible time cooking in such a welcoming and supportive atmosphere.  Not having the kids there nagging us also helped (god love ’em, but it gets pretty stressful at times.)

After the cooking was all done, we sat down at a huge communal table as the staff plated our dishes in the most beautiful way.  We chatted with the others about how much fun we had, what we learned, and just about life in general.  It’s amazing how much we all had in common even though all of us were from very different walks of life.  A true testament that food truly brings people together and in the most beautiful and natural way.

Thank you to Dish Cooking for inviting me and Dave to this class and for giving my husband and I a really fun date-night!

*Congratulations to our winner of my Instagram Summer Date Night Giveaway – (2) passes to a Hands-on cooking class at Dish Cooking Studio! @kel.m.g and her husband Jim!
With Love,
Disclaimer:  Although we were given our class free of charge, I was in no way obligated to write a blog post on this.  I did so by choice.  All opinions are, as always, my own.