Every home cook has a signature dish they love to whip up at home in their kitchen. Whether it be as simple as a knack for whisking and transforming eggs into breakfast or as complicated as flambéing an array of tarts for Sunday dinner, we love to hone our culinary skills and impress our loved ones enjoying the food we have prepared.
This year, in an effort to combat the occasionally inevitable kitchen meltdowns even the best home cooks may encounter, Niagara residents are electing to sharpen their knife skills by enrolling in culinary classes throughout the region.
Hosted by an array of local wineries, chefs and culinary institutions, amateur chefs of all ages can partake in a day of hands on education in an elite kitchen; learning how to soufflé, smoke, bake and combine contrasting flavours into savoury and sweet dishes.
Iron chef skills are not required; simply a desire to learn (and perhaps a good wooden spoon) is all that is suggested.
Wine Country Cooking School
Strewn Winery, NOTL
Learn, cook, eat, drink, repeat. This simple yet soothing mantra is the foundation of Strewn Winery’s culinary school. Designed for recreational and home cooks, the Wine Country Cooking School says they are all about hands-on learning while having fun in the kitchen.
Offered nearly every Saturday from January 13 to November, home cooks can register to participate in five-hour long, chef lead classes. Each hands-on class splits chefs into teams of two, with each team’s goal being to prepare a three-course seasonally based menu utilizing local ingredients.
Each taught menu consists of a salad course, a main course (protein plus accompanying dishes) and dessert. Teams are then given the opportunity to enjoy their meal in a private dining room with a wine pairing for each course.
The school is also available for corporate rentals and private classes, which can make for a unique team building activity, birthday party, family gathering or special event.
Good Earth Food and Wine Co.
Since 1998, the Good Earth Food and Wine Co. has been a haven for food and wine lovers in search of the new and wonderful for their senses to enjoy. But what sets The Good Earth’s popular cooking classes apart from other similar culinary experiences? Good Earth says every class starts with a three-step recipe that they have been perfecting for over a decade: a simple yet effective combination of Niagara’s best chefs leading hungry food lovers on a cooking expedition filled with wine, laughter and delicious themed recipes that you can prepare again and again in your own home.
Each two-hour class hosts 12 foodies cozying up around Good Earth’s inviting kitchen island as they are guided in preparing a multi-course meal by one of their onsite chefs – or a local chef de cuisine from a neighboring establishment.
One currently scheduled class for 2018 is Warming Up Winter: led by John Vetere [the Chef de Cuisine at Ravine Vineyard Winery Restaurant], participating cooks will learn the skills required to work with a variety of proteins. Currently included on this menu is Kentucky Fried maitake mushroom, hot smoked rainbow trout and Chinese-style ‘Char-Siu’ roasted pork shoulder – alongside many side dishes and elaborate accompaniments.
The Good Earth team is also available for private group experiences and events separate from their scheduled group classes held throughout the year.
Eh José Mobile Cooking Class
Multiple Locations Throughout Niagara
Learn how to cook authentic Mexican cuisine in the comfort of your own kitchen. Eh José is the go to mobile chef for authentic Mexican cuisine in the Niagara region.
A staple at the St. Catharines Market Square’s weekly farmers market, Eh José is locally famous for delivering authentic Mexican dining staples that are healthy and layered with flavour. His love for cooking and desire to share his techniques for making fresh tacos, chile relleno, tortas, enchiladas and more have helped grow his intimate culinary classes into a popular Niagara party accompaniment.
José will travel to almost any location in Niagara with classes starting at the very reasonable rate of $20 dollars per person. José as well enjoys teaching his cooking classes Spanish while in the kitchen for a truly rounded and authentic experience.
PC Cooking School | St. Catharines
Whether you’re a novice cook or a gourmet chef, the President’s Choice team of talented chefs will entertain you as they thrill your palates with delectable but easy to prepare recipes you can use to impress your friends and family.
The PC Cooking School offers a variety of classes for every age, skill level and dietary restriction. PC simply wants everyone to get into the kitchen; featuring classes starting with their Little Hands program — tailored towards teaching young children how to be safe in the kitchen [and how to make dessert pizzas] – to a variety of adult classes aimed towards improving individual culinary skills while showing how you can make meal planning easier and stress free.
PC offers three class designs: demonstrative, interactive or hands on. Chefs will guide the cooks through the creation of at least several recipes and provide great time saving tips as well as one-on-one techniques throughout the demonstration.
PC also offers Family Classes ideal for families wishing to cook together and eat together in a fun environment.
All recipes and ingredients are provided and classes range from two to three hours in length. Popular classes include the interactive Elegant, Indulgent Brunch class with Chef John Bela, who helps cooks prepare crowd pleasing brunch dishes including souffléd Japanese Pancakes with strawberries and bananas, smoked salmon and eggs brunch pizza, Chef’s signature Cinnamon Rolls and more soon to be favourites; The Ultimate Super Bowl Tailgate Party class demonstrates how cooks can elevate their staple chicken wings and nachos to something more for the big game; and the Memories of Italia, a demonstrative class in authentic Italian cooking with a twist.