Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cooking up a storm ... loft style!

For the average person cooking is a necessity and sometime a chore. We are not all, unfortunately, blessed with the ability to throw ingredients into a pot and produce a masterpiece. Nor are we all necessarily capable of following a recipe and producing the required results. “Hmm...Is preheating the oven important?”

It’s fascinating therefore to combine a group of ten people, many of which fit into the ‘average-in-the-kitchen’ skill set and then proceed to teach them to cook! This is precisely what Gail Hall bravely attempts to do with her cooking classes.

Let’s get clear here ... this is not a basic ‘learn to boil an egg’ cooking class!

Gail Hall is the owner of Seasons Solutions, an Edmonton based company, and spends her time educating folk on local and regional produce, leading hands-on cooking classes and developing and hosting international culinary tours. Just to ensure Gail does not get bored in her downtime, she also has a weekly food column on CBC radio and regularly appears on breakfast TV.

Gail’s enthusiasm is contagious as she soon organises the group into chopping, peeling, coring, seasoning, whisking and just about every other kitchen activity possible. Yet the emphasis on this experience is fun!

Gail hosts her classes in her home, in a kitchen setting to die for. Class members sit around a large island, on tall stools and the atmosphere is engaging and relaxing. As an individual you can be as hands-on as you wish, but soon find yourself clamouring to be involved as the enthusiasm spreads. Or maybe it’s the wine, which Gail pours liberally!

It’s not just physical work either. Gail’s husband Jon often partakes in entertaining the class members. He is a local historian and enjoys regaling the group with snippets of Edmonton’s history. He’s also very knowledgeable about the wine, which he also liberally pours!

After the hard work is complete it’s time to reap the rewards and the whole group sits down to enjoy a 4 course meal over a glass or two of wine.

Together we managed to create a very respectable and enjoyable meal consisting of a market salad with honey dressing, a fresh maple sausage frittata with roasted vegetables and yummy mini ‘tatin’ apple tarts. Most importantly, as Gail is so proud of reminding us; the meal is created with local and regional ingredients, most of which are organic!

When you enter The Loft, it is as a group of colleagues or friends or as individuals or couples. When you leave the experience, you feel warm, tingly, and well-fed; with a smug feeling that perhaps your kitchen prowess was indeed hiding, under a very large bushel! 

Seasoned Solutions Loft Cooking School hosts regular classes with a maximum of 10 participants and is a great introduction to Alberta regional cuisine.

Contact Urban Insight Travel to book one of our culinary travel packages.