Somebody else cooking for us for a price that won’t break the bank, isn’t that what we’re all after? Imagine if the experience also taught your significant other how to replicate that delicious meal all for a mere $20 (plus HST) per person. You’d sign up, right?
Chef Monique teaches and cooks and 20 of us sit eagerly anticipating behind rows of tables. She loves butter and cream, eschews low fat, asking us to imagine just what that fat is replaced with (sugars, starch, gelatin, horrors!)
As we wait, we’re offered samples of award winning cheese—the next night there’s to be a cheese plate class—my husband’s favourite part.
Next up Wild Mushroom Crostini involves digging out the bread from slices of French stick bread and rehydrating and sautéeing some unrecognizable fungi (morels, shitake, oyster, cremini, lobster, trumpet and chanterelles) with many, many ingredients in order to fill the hollow. Sprinkle some Parmigiano Reggiano on top and pop into the oven. She loses me at making a hole in the perfectly lovely- as-is bread. The Crostini is my husband’s second favourite dish. I, however, will never be bothered.
Hollandaise sauce is one of my favourites but who knew you could even use parsley stems in anything? Chef Monique’s recipe calls for shallots, peppercorns, a bay leaf, those parsley stems as well as the usual egg yolks, a pound of butter and lemon juice. Drizzled over blanched and fried asparagus, it is of course delicious. I wanted more sauce on mine though.
Both of us like salmon and crab so stuff one into the other and we have instant paradise in the form of Salmon Roast with Crab and Cream Cheese. This involved twining a couple of salmon sides over a mixture of crab, cream cheese, mayonnaise (real mayonnaise, full fat remember!) with dill. Chef Monique serves it up after baking 40-50 minutes, just as the fish flakes. So not overcooked and dry.
Desert lovers swoon over the Molten Chocolate Cake which involves refrigerating the egg,butter, and dark chocolate mixture and then letting it come to room temperature while the oven preheats—something to do with getting the desired goo in the middle. Delicious. But mine arrives unmolten and so no more gooey than my way easier brownie recipe.
My husband becomes bored waiting for his food—he is never going to cook beyond a frozen pizza. I enjoy the camaraderie of my fellow diners and Chef Monique’s acerbic banter. It creates a lovely community among Sobey staff and customers. Plus there is great opportunity to ask other cooking questions.
In March, Chef Monique will be teaching how to cook seafood. I’ll be back, only with a girlfriend.