Cookin’ confidential

Whether you’re already something of a foodie or a total newbie in the kitchen, here are four great schools to help you get cooking.

Dirty Apron Cooking School, Vancouver
You will get your apron dirty at this cool school in downtown Vancouver, attached to the popular Chambar and Medina restaurants.

The cooking school is a joint venture for Chambar’s Belgium-born chef/owner Nico Scheurmans and his former sous-chef David Robertson. Relax in the kitchen’s central “auditorium” to watch Robertson create a dish. Then go to your stove/station where the entire mise en place is arranged and start cooking. Courses range from 2.5 to 4-hour hands-on classes to five-week Gourmet Boot Camp.

Culinarium, Toronto
As they advertise — “it’s all Ontario, all the time” — at Culinarium, Toronto’s locavore grocery. Owner Kathleen Mackintosh’s mandate is promoting local and sustainably produced Ontario foods and the shelves are filled with 100 per cent Ontario goods, from wild leeks and birch syrup, to peach preserves and freshly churned butter. The cooking school is an outgrowth of the east-end retail shop, and reflects her farm to fork philosophy. (1.5-hour to three-hour classes, $99 to $111 pp).

Mezza Luna, Montréal
There are cooking classes every weekday evening and Saturday mornings at Montréal’s Mezza Luna, a friendly place to learn about food with school founders Stefano Faita and his mother Elena Faita.

You’re a spectator for the 2.5-hour demos — but the resident chef usually asks someone to help out with the preparations and there’s a great meal to enjoy with a glass of wine at the end. Make savoury pies — from Flamiche pie to Beet & Maple Syrup Pie — with Louise Grenier, or spend an evening immersed in pork with celebrity chef Martin Picard of the famed Au Pied de Cochon ($70-$125 pp).

Le Cordon Bleu, Ottawa
Based in Paris, Le Cordon Bleu has satellite campuses in 10 cities around the world, but Ottawa is the only location in North America. It’s a great place to learn about fine cooking and Canadian cuisine while exploring Canada’s capital. They offer a Grand Diplôme Professionnel for chefs, but hobby cooks can also sign on for a short course. Whether you want to learn the basics of French sauces, how to cook with wild Canadian game, or simply create a variety of dishes with the bounty of the fall harvest, this Ottawa institution offers a variety of options. Cooking classes range from three-hour demo courses ($50) to 6.5-hour demo/practical classes ($245-$695).

Article courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission.

Photo: Ottawa, Ontario. Credit – Ottawa Tourism