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Restaurants & Bars

Cookworks in Toronto

Mermaid | May 2, 2002 05:43 PM

I just have to rave about an amazing food experience my husband and I had over the weekend. We went to a weekend pan-asian cooking workshop at The Cookworks under the instruction of chef Claudio Aprile, the executive chef from Sen5es. What a fabulous weekend!

After feeding us breakfast (scrambled eggs mixed with shitake mushrooms!)the people running the show gave an instructive chat about ingredients and equipment. Then we were handed recipes and divided into groups where we all learned various techniques hands-on. The first day we made Sen5es reknown tempura nori rolls along with a few other dishes (my husband and I were assigned rack of lamb with dried apricot and fig chutney). The next day we were assigned some pretty challenging dishes (tea-smoked quail, duck breast salad, seared sea scallops, beef tenderloin and banana fritters) with Claudio Aprile personally assisting all of us. We used all sorts of exotic ingredients (umboshi plums, palm sugar, salsify) and the highlight was sitting down as a group when we were done to eat everything that we had worked on.

We found all the staff extremely patient (imagine 15 people running around a kitchen they've never been in before, making sure they don't screw up since we all ate everything everyone prepared), and Claudio was so laid-back and excited about showing us what he knows, not at all pretentious.

For those chowhounds who are seriously into cooking, this is a great experience. They've got a wide range of courses covering different cuisines and techniques, and they offer one-day courses as well. We came home totally inspired to try doing some of this stuff at home! And Sen5es has shot to the top of our must-go-to restaurant list (how embarrassing to have to admit to the chef that we'd never been to his place!)

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