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My Vancouver #6: Cooking Class at The Dirty Apron

My Vancouver #6: Cooking Class at The Dirty Apron
My Vancouver #6: Cooking Class at The Dirty Apron

I love to explore new places in and around Vancouver, get lost on the trails, and eat my way through the city. In the My Vancouver series I’ll share the latest places I’ve explored, eaten at, and adventured to.

Food, Fitness, and Flavour Cooking Class at The Dirty Apron

Two years ago, my parents gave me a gift certificate to take a 4-hour cooking class at The Dirty Apron. I couldn’t have asked for a better gift. The Dirty Apron Cooking School & Delicatessen is described as Vancouver’s “culinary playground” and is located in the historical crosstown section of Vancouver. The first cooking class I took at the Dirty Apron was Mediterranean Mingle, and it was fantastic.

This past December, I was gifted with another class, thanks Mom and Dad! In the thick of marathon training, I signed up for the Food, Fitness, and Flavour Cooking Class: the art of fueling your body without offending your taste buds. Chef Takashi Mizukami taught us how to make each course. Nutritionist and Personal Trainer Jana Finkbiner shared with us the nutritional benefits of each ingredient.

The class was created to show food and fitness lovers alike one doesn’t have to choose between food that is healthy and food that is flavourful. I really loved the emphasis on eating high quality, whole and unprocessed foods. The cooking school is also very accommodating for any food allergies (providing alternative ingredients) so long as you notify them in advance of the class.

First Course: Lemon herb grilled trout with warm lentil and spinach salad

When you arrive at The Dirty Apron, you are welcomed into the cooking school dining room where wine and light snacks await. After a helpful demonstration by the Chef, we made our first course: lemon herb grilled trout with warm lentil and spinach salad. The salad was topped with toasted walnuts and a balsamic reduction.

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Helpful Cooking Tips

Use lemon zest and juice for extra flavour. Squeeze the juice through your hands to catch the seeds.

Maximize flavour when mincing garlic. Mush the clove with the side of a knife to remove the skin. Chop, mince, and mush again to release the oils.

Soak your lentils before cooking them to improve the taste and ensure they cook all the way through.

Second Course: Roasted chicken breast with apple, avocado, and fig salad

For our second course, we seasoned the chicken breast with smoked paprika, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper. It was seared in a pan and roasted in the oven. The salad included French green beans, watercress, figs, avocado, and pumpkin seeds and was lightly dressed with high quality olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

To plate the salad, we first laid down a strip of avocado puree. To make this, put the flesh of 1/2 or 1 whole avocado in a Ziploc bag. Seal the bag and mash the avocado with your hands. Put the bag in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Then, remove from the freezer, cut off the edges of the bag, and peel away the plastic. You should be left with a flat sheet of avocado for your food plating and styling pleasure.

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Helpful Cooking Tips

Use a melon scoop to get rid of seeds before slicing and dicing an apple.

Use a meat thermometer to check if your meat is done instead of cutting it open to keep the juices intact

Let your meat sit for several minutes before serving it (it should be cool enough for you to touch and cut it). This will also help keep the juices in and improve flavour.

Third Course: Herb roasted beef tenderloin with salsa verde, brussel sprouts, and honey roasted yams

For our final course, we scored the yams, drizzled with honey, and popped them in the oven. Then we prepared the salsa verde, adding salted anchovy fillets and baby capers for extra flavour. Our final step was season the beef tenderloin with salt and pepper and cook it medium rare. Once done, we sauteed brussel sprouts in the same pan.

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Dessert: lemon basil sorbet

At this point, I was very full! We finished off the meal with a light and refreshing lemon basil sorbet, prepared in advance by the Chef. We were also given a vegan pumpkin spice granola bar to take home with us. I had it for a snack the next day and it was delicious.

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Take-home snack: vegan pumpkin spice granola bar

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Have you taken a cooking class before? What is one of your favourite cooking tips or tricks?

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