I’ve been meaning to try out a cooking class at the Sobeys Extra in Burlington for a while. I often glance at the calendar of events after I’ve checked out, and I’ve always thought, DAMN I WANNA DO THAT. But, by the time I’ve driven home and unpacked my groceries I’ve already forgotten about it. It’s possible I suffer from short-term memory loss.
Last month, my parents attended a class and really enjoyed themselves. My mom even wrote a blog about it here. I decided I would absolutely 100% do the next months class and I also had a couple friends that wanted to join as well.
I signed myself up as well as friends Cara, Krystal & Jay. My mom and a few of her friends joined in on the fun again too. Class began at 6:30pm. We got there a little early so we could pay at customer service. We had called ahead to book, but hadn’t paid in advance.
Although my mom gave me a bit of a rundown before, I didn’t fully know what to expect. She told me not to bother eating dinner before and that Chef Monique was quite entertaining. I am certainly glad I took her advice, since I was so full right after that I couldn’t even immediately blog about it. That’s a thing right? Food coma writer’s block?
My mom was also right about Chef Monique being entertaining. At one point, I whispered to Cara that I thought she should have her own cooking show. She made us laugh as she cooked with confidence all while giving us step-by-step instruction. After making the food in front of us (she also had a mirror overhead so we could all see everything clearly) we were served each mouth-watering dish.
FirstChef Monique and Seafood Manager Shauna made Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict, which was just as tasty as it was visually appearing. We learned that if you are planning on making poached eggs for a large family or group you can easily make them in advance. All you need to do is keep them in water and reheat them when you are ready to eat. Who knew? I certainly didn’t, although before this class I really had no clue how to poach an egg. You put vinegar in the water to reduce the stringiness of the eggs…huh? It’s true, I learned that from Chef Monique.
Next up they tackled a Seafood Pasta with Plum Tomato and Herbs. I like mussels & clams, but cooking them scares me a bit. It was interesting to see someone do it in front of us, it made it a lot less intimidating. Not even one mussel or clam jumped out of the boiling water and attacked anyone, so I don’t think I need to be wary any longer. Before digging in to our decent sized portions of pasta we also learned the difference between New England and Manhatten clam chowder. Spoiler alert: one is red and one is white. I loved this pasta so much that I might even brave buying mussels and clams just to have it again.
Next up Chef Monique and Shauna simultaneously tackled the Parmesan Crusted Cod and Shrimp and Scallop Risotto. I was surprised at how easy it was to make the cod and equally as surprised at how time-consuming and finicky it is to make a proper risotto. Well worth the wait, as the Shrimp and Scallop Risotto was my favourite dish of the night. I was fairly full after finishing up my plate but was still able to also finish Cara’s plate. She didn’t take my advice and she ate before. Rookie mistake.
Not only did we get to eat 4 delicious recipes, we also learned a bunch of stuff. Here’s some quick points in no particular order.
• Chef Monique taught us how to pronounce several foods properly. Phyllo, spanakoptia, pasta and several others.
• Seafood Manager Shauna does special orders and gets deliveries daily.
• Sobeys offers something cool called a “Steamer Bag”, basically you can choose any fish from the seafood section and they put it in a steamer bag with a puck of butter and some herbs. Making a super easy, no-fail way to prepare your fish.
• Monkfish are the poor man’s lobster.
• Sobeys extra has the freshest seafood in Burlington.
• Chef Monique is gluten intolerant.
• My mom likes salted butter, but Monique prefers unsalted.
• Eggs Benedict is not a good dish to eat on a diet.
• Risotto is not something that reheats well for leftovers but it can be turned into a delicious rice ball.
• Frozen vegetables are better than canned.
• Krystal has never had clam chowder.
• Jay knows more about food than any of us ladies.
• I really love to eat excessive amounts of food.
I highly recommend you check out one of Sobeys Extra’s cooking classes. They are so much fun and you will leave feeling more than satisfied in what you’ve eaten and learned along the way.