Saturday, 30 April 2011

Celiac Cooking Class at Sorrentino's! You bet!

Ok Folks.

I've lived Gluten Free/Wheat Free for over 20 years now. After diagnoses of IBS, "You should seek Professional help", and other discouraging excuses from medical "Professionals", my Chiropractor figured it out.

I grew up with scratch-made food. My family wasn't really well-off like some of my friends, but we were comfortable.  We simply didn't have extra money for junk, pre-packaged, pre-made, or other such things.  With allergies in the house, it was safer to make it ourselves as well.  We made our own bread.  We had family on the farm still, and as such had access to the best lamb, pork and sometimes beef.  With such a diverse background (Canadian, British, Hungarian) there was a huge variety of food in the house.  So I am no stranger to cooking and baking for myself.  (BUY cookies? Are you kidding?!)

After today, it again brings home the message Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution has been trying to get the world to understand: It really doesn't take much to make a quick, healthy, and delicious meal at home.

Today, I had the pleasure of enjoying a few hours with 5 other lovely folks as a guest of Chef Chris Hrynyk Catering Manager/Chef of the Sorrentino's Group here in Edmonton, AB.

We made SO much food… GOOD food.  We started off with a recipe that has been on the menu at Sorrentino's for 30 years (and they just celebrated 31 years in business! This one's stood the test of time.).  Frutti di Mare alla Sorrentino.  Prawns, scallops in a sauce of garlic, white wine (Mission Hill - Canadian), olive oil and tabasco or chilli flakes. Minutes - seriously minutes.  Throw some pasta in there if you like, or just sop up the sauce with some doughy goodness of your choosing. Mmm.

More after the break!

Ooo, ugly presentation, but tasty…

Followed with Roasted Chickpea and Arugula Salad with warm vinaigrette. Who knew chickpeas were good for more than hummus? I have tried them in salad before, but the texture just wasn't appealing to me.  Roasted, crusted in olive oil, cornmeal cayenne and slightly warm… heaven!

The first two courses he paired some South African Chardonnay from Cathedral Cellar with the dishes, and they were quite complimentary.

After that, the main course (there are 4 courses in this class!). Chicken Picatta with Spicy Tomato Beurre Blanc. Stuffed with herbs & Goat cheese, and served with Classic Risotto with Asparagus and Parmesan. What a beautifully balanced dish! Apologies for the lack of finished dish photo - busy stirring!

Update: Seriously forgot to mention those black flecks up there? Yeah those at the top of the pot with the spatula… those are Black Garlic.  Really interesting stuff.  Tasty too.

For dessert, Chef Chris made the Zabaglione for us to demonstrate technique, and so we wouldn't be eating scrambled eggs with our strawberries.  Creamy and smooth, and something I WILL make on my own.

Our wine pairing with the last two courses was again a South African Merlot from Cathedral Cellar that was smooth and lovely - the least like the majority of Merlot I've tasted.

All this was accomplished in 2.5 hours. Less if we hadn't chatted and lingered over the Goat cheese stuffed chicken.

I thought twice about investing $75 in a cooking class, but I'll say to you - DO IT! It isn't often you can spend a few hours picking the brain of a chef and *eating* too!

As a really nice take-away, the classes send you off with the recipes, and an apron to go forth and conquer!


  1. Wow, that looks like some great stuff! Heard about your blog through Gluten-Free Edmonton.

    Can't wait to see what else gets cooked up.

  2. Thanks Dan! And thanks to Gluten Free Edmonton.

    I'm looking forward to attending future offerings. They have gift certificates for classes too…