Longo's 'The Loft' Cooking Demonstrations

>> Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Have you ever had the experience of signing up for a class/lessons/demonstration of anything and being slightly anxious albeit excited about going?

What to wear, what to bring, who will be there?
I think that's a pretty normal occurance for most people and I definitely get a bit nervous walking into a room full of people that I have never met before..which is certainly what was about to transpire as I climbed the stair's to 'The Loft'.

The Loft, based in Longo's grocery store is a self-contained kitchen set above the shop floor complete with a fully functioning demonstration kitchen (video screens for you to see what is happening on the counters and a giant mirror above the stovetop) and large seating area.

I opened the doors and entered the area and was welcomed by host (Nicol Mentis) for the evening, the chef (Chef Robert) and two other 'students'. So far, everyone was pleasantly chatting and I got myself settled to join in.

~Chef Robert & the view of the stove from the mirror above the table~

I was fortunate to sit next to Mac, who talked to me about the other Loft classes her & her husband had taken. She also mentioned that they were the host's inlaws! It definitely says something about your relationship with your inlaws when they come to support your classes...they clearly know a good thing when they taste it!

I enjoyed chatting with them immensely and they definitely made me feel more relaxed and welcome. I was very ready to enjoy the evening and some other people came in who also knew Nicol. It made for a very cozy and relaxed first time.

You may recall that I made
Canadian Maple Mousse a little while ago, well this recipe was featured in the same Longo's Experience magazine as the recipes that we enjoyed in the demonstration. (And with MUCH less ease than me cooking it up myself!)

Timing has always been my problem with preparing a meal, and Chef Robert made everything look so much easier and pretty freeform, which is always great! He spoke about timing and proper techniques of cooking and when to add certain ingredients, all the while, the kitchen filled up with delicious aromas that seriously made me wish I had remembered to eat lunch!

~Scallops & Shrimp in Pernod Cream Sauce~

Soon we were eating, and all the questions fell by the wayside as we devoured everything...it was all so delicious and fresh and so very unlike anything I would even attempt at home, but it was great to see how easy it would be to do!

~Rack of Lamb with Curry Sauce on a bed of Saffron Rice and Cumin Scented Chickpeas~

I have to say that my experience at the Longo's Loft was both fun and educational.I learned a lot of little tips and tricks and ate a fantastically gourmet meal that would cost you an arm and a leg in a fancy restaurant.

The host, Nicol was incredibly helpful and threw out questions and brought around the spices being used for everyone to smell and examine, helped tidy up and in general pull everything together so it was easy for both the Chef and us to gel. Chef Robert was great with answering any questions and spoke about everything from the restaurant industry in general to the best way to wash herbs, cook rice and french your rack of lamb..lots and lots of useful tips!
It seems to me that the Loft classes would be a terrific date night or get together with your foodie friends or a great gift to give!

~Dessert: Bread Pudding with dried cranberries in a Jack Daniel's sauce~

I am definitely signing up for a couple more in April, so if anyone wants to come along, please let me know!


Anonymous,  24 March 2010 at 20:29  

Okay, wow!! That seafood dish looks absolutely delicious!! What a wonderful treat to take a class like this!

Nicole,  13 April 2010 at 19:21  

I just attended my first class at the Loft Bathurst location. The Moroccan meal was incredible as well as Chef Marjorie Vella and Nicol. I've signed up for quite a few more as well.

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