Ever wonder what it might be like to go behind the scenes in the kitchen of your favourite restaurant or sit on the slide lines in the Food Network’s Chopped kitchen. I got a chance to do all of that and more during my cooking class at The Chef Upstairs.
Providing a unique experience to their guests, The Chef Upstairs’ cooking class offers an intimate dining experience where participants get to assist fabulous chef’s prepare delectable menus. You get the chance to learn new skills and techniques and eat some pretty delicious food!
The chef for our class, Deji Oduwole, brought amazing charisma and passion for food that was infectious. This former CFL player, turned classically French trained chef, with a flare for West African flavours, elevated our cooking experience to the next level.
Here’s a look into the fabulous three course meal that we experienced:
Appetizer: Grilled Pizza
We definitely put our mark on this course with guidance from Chef Deji, getting the chance to roll out the pizza dough, make a roasted red pepper sauce, slice fresh mozzarella, and top with a fragrant basil garlic oil. A restaurant inspired dish that we now know how to make at home!
Entree: Tea-smoked Salmon with Citrus Cucumber Relish and Jasmine Rice Pilaf
Prepping for this entree we got some one-on -one lessons on how to perfectly segment an orange and slice and dice cucumbers into neat geometric cubes. I got the amazingly exciting chance to blow-torch the salmon skin which was later double baked, adding a crunchfyingly crispy element to the dish.
Chef Deji took the reigns with the other aspects of the dish, preparing an in-kitchen smoker for the salmon which had been marinating in a mixture of soy, ginger, orange, sugar and red pepper flakes and building flavours like caramelized onions, and Thai coconut milk for an amazingly fluffy rice pilaf.
Dessert: Mixed Berry Coolie with Home-made Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream
Chef Deji worked his magic for this course, cooking down a mixture of berries with sugar and balsamic, teaching us his secrets for making caramel from scratch, and grilling fresh apricots sprinkled with cinnamon. The result was a tart and acidy burst from the berry mixture combined with sweet comfort flavours of ice cream and an epic caramel sauce to drizzle on top.
To experience this foodie haven book a class for your self!