Fun in the Kitchen at these Cooking Classes for Hobby Chefs

Cooking

With the rise of celebrity chefs and cooking shows on the Food Network, improving one’s skills as a hobby chef is more popular than ever. It’s one thing to dine out at restaurants all of the time and call yourself a “foodie”; it’s another to actually know how to make many of the dishes you are eating.

In Vancouver, a growing number of culinary schools are offering evening and weekend classes for amateurs. Here are some fun classes to try. Even if you don’t become the next Food Network star, you’ll at least host the best dinner parties.

The Dirty Apron

The Dirty Apron Cooking School & Delicatessen is a popular spot for gourmands. Located near Gastown, the school offers a range of classes, whether you’re looking to sharpen your knife skills or plan an unusual date. Their “Mamma Mia” class explores the rustic and rich flavours of Italy, and attendees will learn to prepare a three course meal that includes ravioli, grilled lamb and gnocchi, as well as panacotta for dessert. The “Hawaiian Nights” and “Ocean Potion” seafood class will help those with the basics covered expand their repertoire. If you’re looking to take date-night off the beaten path, why not sign up for a couple’s class, where pairs will cook a romantic dinner together to enjoy afterwards?

Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts

The Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts has a well-earned reputation as a school for culinary and pastry professionals; however, the Granville Island-based school also offers an array of courses geared towards home cooks. Technique classes, which teach all of the basics over the course of eight weeks, are good for building a solid foundation in the kitchen. The school also offers more specific classes, including those for macaron making, Scandinavian cuisine, cooking a Christmas feast, and cake decorating. Of course, these casual classes can also help you decide whether you’re cut out for the professional program and a career in the restaurant industry.

Quince

This Kitsilano cooking school is a café, shop, and commercial kitchen by day. At night and on weekends, hobby chefs are welcomed into Quince’s well-equipped kitchen for classes in various aspects of cooking. A two-hour classic in Classic French Bistro will have you feeling like Julia Child in no time. Learn to make a menu that includes goat cheese soufflé, roast chicken with French green lentils, and a dark chocolate tart. With Spain’s rise as a trendy culinary capital, those interested in Spanish cuisine might want to learn how to throw together a proper paella. Hobby bakers can spend a Saturday perfecting how to make Madeleines paired with lavender lemonade.

The Pastry Training Centre of Vancouver

Learn to bake your own breads and make awe-inspiring cakes at the Pastry Training Centre of Vancouver. The East Van school has classes for bread-baking newbies, where students will learn all of the basics—including whole-wheat bread, baguettes, and rolls—to more advance course, where artisan breads, like rye and focaccia will be taught. If your love of carbohydrates is directed towards sweets, learn to make pies, cheesecakes, cream puffs, tarts, and more in one of the many pastry classes.

Well Seasoned

Well Seasoned is part-gourmet food store, part-cooking school in Langley. It’s a great place for home cooks from across the Lower Mainland to refine their skills in the kitchen. Many of the classes are demo-type classes, where a chef will show and tell how to make a recipe and attendees get to eat all of the goods, while others are more hands-on. Popular classes include learning how to make various ethnic eats, including Indian vegetarian cuisine, hand-rolled sushi, Greek food, and Mexican meals.

Build your dream home kitchen and outfit it with top-of-the-line pieces through Kijiji. Think you’ve got what it takes to work in a professional kitchen? Check out restaurant job postings.

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Top Five Ice-Cream and Gelato Shops in Vancouver

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There is always an excuse for an ice-cream or gelato when it’s hot out in the summer. Luckily, Vancouverites have access to some of the most delicious icy treats right here in our own backyard. All of these independent ice-cream and gelato shops offer scoops of the classic (like chocolate and vanilla), but if you’re looking for something a little different, they’ve got that too.

Rain or Shine Homemade Ice Cream

Kitsilano’s newest ice-cream shop is all about local, all-natural flavours. Rain or Shine Homemade Ice Cream (1926 West 4th Avenue) makes everything in-house, from the waffle cones and ice-cream, right down to the fudgy toppings and syrups. The shop offers a menu of regular flavours, including salted caramel, honey lavender, blueberry balsamic, and peanut butter, and features a rotation of seasonal flavours such as brown butter snickerdoodle and chocolate rosemary. For the adventurous, flavours like honey blue cheese or spiced Brassneck brown porter (yes, that’s beer ice-cream!) will surely tickle your tastebuds. Vegans and customers with other dietary restrictions need not miss out—Rain or Shine makes a coconut-chocolate chunk ice-cream, which is made with coconut milk.

Bella Gelateria

Expect to wait in long lines for a taste of Bella Gelateria (1001 West Cordova Street). The multiple-award-winning gelato shop boasts some of the best cold treats in the city, including gelato made in the old-world, handcrafted tradition. With many flavours to choose from, you may be tempted to order more than one scoop—classics like Tahitian vanilla and old fashion chocolate are just as good as more unusual flavours, such as Torrincino (honey nougat), Flor di latte (flower of milk), and Amerena cherry. For those seeking a lighter treat, Bella Gelateria makes an assortment of sorbettos including chocolate, lemon, and rosewater.

La Casa Gelato

One of Vancouver’s most popular gelato shops attracts hundreds of customers each day during the summer. La Casa Gelato (1033 Venables Street) may seem out of the way, but that doesn’t stop die-hard ice-cream fans from making multiple trips. Known for a daily assortment of more than 200 flavours, choosing the right scoop can seem overwhelming. La Casa Gelato produces some daring flavours, like durian, curry, and wasabi, but also classics, such as mint chocolate chip and strawberry for customers wanting a classic cone. Non-fat, dairy-free, and sugar-free options are also available.

Earnest Ice Cream

Small-batch and handmade is the growing trend in food, and Earnest Ice Cream (3992 Fraser Street) is at the forefront of the ice-cream movement. Launched as a bicycle-driven cart in 2012, the local ice-cream producer has quickly grown to include pint sales at independent shops across the city as well as a scoop shop. Inspired by local ingredients, some of Earnest Ice Cream’s most-loved flavours include salted caramel, whiskey hazelnut, and London fog. Seasonal favourites include peanut butter & chocolate chip, cardamom, lemon poppy seed, and rum raisin.

Gelateria Dolce Amore

Located in the heart of Vancouver’s Italian community, Gelateria Dolce Amore (1590 Commercial Drive) serves the real deal. Offering handcrafted, seasonally-inspired gelato, sorbetto, and cakes, Gelateria Dolce Amore whips up both rich chocolaty and caramel flavours and lighter fruit options. For those looking for gelato in a slighty different format, this shop also sells gelato ice-cream bars and gelato ice-cream sandwiches.

Looking for a sweet job? Many of Vancouver’s ice-cream and gelato shops hire extra scoopers during the summer. Find restaurant and hospitality jobs at Kijiji.

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What to Buy when You Move Out on Your Own for the First Time

Moving Day

Congrats, you’re moving out on your own for the first time. Whether you’re headed off to university in a different city, moving out of a house you shared with roommates, or living on your own for the first time as newlyweds, knowing what to buy in order to live comfortably can feel intimidating.

The reality is, over the years, as you live on your own, you’ll accumulate furniture, appliances, décor, and art as you go, but at the same time, there are a couple of essential pieces you’ll need right from the start. So here’s a list of thing you’ll need to buy for your home when you move out on your own.

Furniture

Walking through the showroom area of Ikea can be overwhelming. Suddenly, you realize that you want that quirky chandelier, that expensive patterned rug, and that decorative mirror. You only need a few pieces in each room to live comfortably for the first few months.

In the bedroom, you’ll need a bed. In the living room, you’ll want a sofa—or at least two chairs—and a coffee table. In the kitchen or dining room, you’ll need a table and a chair or two to eat meals at. Everything else—the bookcases, entertainment consoles, nightstands, area rugs, and decorations—can wait until you’ve saved up some money. If you’ve spent your money wisely, perhaps by buying second-hand furniture, you may have some leftover for lamps…and that decorative mirror.

Appliances

When you move out on your own, there’s a good chance you’ll be eating a handful of meals alone. Unless you plan on emptying your wallet on take-out meals, you’ll want a few kitchen appliances to help you cook. While a KitchenAid mixer might look stylish on your kitchen counter, it’s probably not a must-have unless you’re planning on doing a lot of baking right off the bat. Assuming that your kitchen comes with a fridge and stove, set yourself up with a toaster (bonus, if it’s a toaster oven, which means not having to turn on your oven to warm up bread rolls or baked fish) and possibly a microwave for everything else.

Kitchen Utensils

Even if you don’t plan on doing a whole lot of cooking, you should probably own at least one frying pan and one pot. The pan will allow you to fry and egg easily, sauté onions, and cook a chicken breast. The pot will help you boil pasta noodles—and trust me, you’ll be eating a lot of pasta—and heat soups. Kettles are often surprisingly expensive, but you can find both the stove-top and electric variety in the Kijiji listings for sale.

The only other thing you’ll need to make sure you buy as soon as you move into your new home? Toilet paper.

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Five Vancouver Cafés with a Taste of Paris

Macarons

Paris might be a 12-hour flight away, but Vancouver has a growing number of cafes and patisseries that offer a taste of that je ne sais quois. Croissants, macarons, and petits fours are all on the menu, as are proper café au lait. So while you may not remember much from highschool French classes, the only Français you’ll need to know at these shops is “oui” when you’re asked if you’d like more.

Beaucoup Bakery & Café

Owner Jackie Kai Ellis studied pastry in Paris before opening up this French-inspired bakeshop in Vancouver, so it’s no wonder the space feels utterly charming and the treats authentic. The menu includes a daily assortment of croissants, tarts, and cookies, including indulgent pain au chocolat and brioche as well as not-as-common peanut-butter sandwich cookies and yuzu lemon tarts. If you pop by for lunch—market-fresh produce sandwiched between flaky croissants—be sure to save room for a kouign amann. Beaucoup’s miniature version of this cakey pastry from Breton is worth every calorie.

Thierry Chocolaterie and Patisserie

Since 2011, Thierry has been a tucked-away gem amongst the hustle and bustle of downtown’s shopping district. Owned by French-born pastry chef and chocolatier Thierry Busset, the shop and café offers an assortment of authentic French treats, including macarons, pate de fruits, and petits fours such as financiers, madeleines, and tuiles. Flaky croissants and airy brioches provide a more substantial snack, while handmade chocolates and caramels offer just the right finish.

French Made Baking

The couple that bakes together stays together. David and Catherine Introligator moved to Vancouver from France only a few years ago, and in 2011, they decided to open their very own sweet shop in Mount Pleasant. The small, Parisian-style bakery specializes in the likes of macarons, croissants, madeleiens, brioches, and financiers. They also produce a lesser-known pastry called canalé de Bordeaux. It’s an airy cake flavoured with dark rum and vanilla, and if you’re lucky, served warm from the oven when you stop by French Made Baking.

Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie

Thomas Haas is a fourth-generation patissier who has not only mastered the fine art of chocolate, but of French desserts as well. At his Kitsilano shop, treat-seekers will encounter a beautiful assortment of chocolate-covered fruits and nuts, delicate pate de fruit, macarons, tarts, and cakes, as well as freshly-baked croissants, danishes, scones, and cookies. With such a large assortment of pastries and chocolates on the menu, several visits are required to sample a satisfying selection of goodies.

Faubourg

From the marbled floors and cream-coloured décor, it’s not hard to see that Faubourg is deeply inspired by Paris. At three locations across Metro Vancouver, Faubourg offers a large assortment of macarons, viennoiserie, cakes, and dessert. If you’re looking to indulge, the lemon tart with its smooth lemon curd and vanilla milk foam is a showstopper. Eclairs are baked to perfection and the ultimate Parisian indulgence. As a contrast, sacristains, or slightly sweetened swizzle sticks made from puff pastry, are light and airy. Before you leave, pick up a freshly baked baguette or braided brioche loaf to take home.

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Top-Five Doughnut Shops in Vancouver

Doughnuts

It’s amazing how something so simple—deep-fried dough covered in sugar—can taste so good. For the past year or so, doughnuts have been enjoying a bit a revival here in Vancouver. A handful of shops specializing in doughnuts have emerged onto the food scene, and many restaurants have added the circular sweet-treat back onto dessert menus.

Here is where to find the best doughnuts in town.

Cartems Donuterie

Cartems Donuterie emerged onto the scene in 2012—first as a pop-up shop in the Downtown Eastside, before opening an official retail space (543 West Pender Street) in 2013. These doughnuts are all about gourmet, hard-to-find flavours, from Canadian Whiskey Bacon, to Salted Caramel, Earl Grey, Citrus Dust, and Vegan Gluten-Free. At $3 a pop, Cartems’ doughnuts are on the higher end of the doughnut scale, but one bite and you’ll understand why. These doughnuts are dense and flavourful, ingredients are top-notch, and they’re made fresh daily.

Lee’s Donuts

Lee’s Donuts is one of the oldest doughnut shops in Vancouver. Located inside the Granville Island Public Market (1689 Johnson Street), this tourist attraction that is beloved by locals doesn’t mess with crazy flavours. Lee’s sticks to the classics, including Honey Dip and Chocolate Glazed. If you’re looking for a sharable treat, grab a bag of their doughnut holes—the original Tim-Bit as far as any Vancouverite is concerned.

Lucky’s Doughnuts

Lucky’s is brought to us by Forty Ninth Parallel coffee roasters, and as such, are only available at two of the coffee house’s locations (2902 Main Street and 2198 West 4th Avenue). The doughnuts are based on homemade old-fashion doughnuts, but that doesn’t mean that these doughnuts are predictable or boring. Lucky’s offers an array of unique flavours, including the PB & J, Orange Honey Pistachio, Mango Square, and Apple Bacon Fritter. These unusual flavours sit next to classics, like French Cruller, Chocolate Old Fashioned, and Long Johns. What better snack to enjoy with a cup of good coffee than a well-made doughnut?

Honey Doughnuts & Goodies

Just across Burrard Inlet is a doughnut shop worth traveling for. Honey Doughnuts & Goodies (4373 Gallant Avenue) is located in Deep Cove. While they serve brunch daily, it’s their variety of homemade doughnuts that keep most people returning again and again. Find classics like plain glaze and chocolate, but we hear that their maple-glazed doughnut that is to die for.

Duffin’s Donuts

Duffin’s Donuts (1391 East 41st Avenue) has been serving the Fraserview community for a very long time, and it’s a favourite among locals. Perhaps the best thing about this doughnut shop is that they are open 24-hours a day, every day, making it that much easier to fulfill 3 a.m. doughnut cravings. These doughnuts, which are served alongside Vietnamese food, are of the homemade variety—simple and glazed, fully and fresh.

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