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Unleash your inner chef at Calphalon

May 4, 2010

Don’t think you can cook gourmet?  Think again.  If you need a little ego boost in the kitchen head to Calphalon.  You may have strolled by their storefront at King and Spadina, seen a piece of their cookware collection or heard me bragging about my cooking classes with them.       

Cooking classes have been on my Christmas and Birthday wish list for years now.  Last year, after some begging and pleading, my wish was granted – I received a Calphalon gift certificate for a ridiculous amount.   Some might take offense to this and interpret it as an insult to their cooking capabilities.  Not myself.  I knew there was room for improvement.  The $500 certificate was intended to cover Calphalon’s “Basic Skills Series” – 4 classes (each are approximately $130) over 4 weeks.  

  1. Kitchen foundations & knife skills
  2. Soups and stocks, steaming and poaching
  3. Grilling, roasting and baking
  4. Sauteing and stir-frying


 A week before the Series started I received a call from Calphalon inviting me to bring a guest to the 4 classes for free!   In case you haven’t done the calculation, that’s a $500 value.  Nuts!  They were short on numbers so my mother was the lucky recipient.    

I know what you’re thinking…$500 is a lot of money.  It’s a weekend at the spa or a few pairs of really nice jeans, but here’s why the splurge is worth it.  At Calphalon you will:  

  • Learn how to make 3 to 4 AMAZING recipes every class. 
  • Learn a few tips and tricks to minimize screw ups in the kitchen.  
  • Leave class with leftovers (you’ll have tomorrow’s lunch & dinner ready to go!).
  • Be greeted with a tasty appetizer at the beginning of class.
  • Have your OWN cooking space and cookware.  
  • Get an ego boost in the kitchen!
  • Collect recipes you can replicate at home with no fear.  You’ve been there, done that!


Six months later, I was going through Calphalon withdrawal while Michelle and I were brainstorming birthday gifts for our girlfriend MC.  I had the perfect gift in mind – cooking classes!   This time we registered for Fish 101 (Calphalon’s most popular class).  By the time the course came around, MC was at the peak of her pregnancy and the thought of raw fish, standing for 3 hours and being up past 9pm sounded hellish.  So Leigh took MC’s spot and joined us for the evening.     

Although, I was a little embarrassed working next to these girls – both Leigh and Michelle had cuts on their fingers and were sporting “finger condoms”.   



Recipe  #1 – Snapper Satays with Mango Dipping Sauce 

I wondered what I was getting myself into when I was introduced to the first recipe and our little friend Nemo.  No one told me I had to fillet a fish!   



I guess there’s a first (and last) time for everything.  Including filleting a fish.  I contemplated vegetarianism in the first few minutes, but it got much easier and in the end, it tasted great.  However, I think I’ll stick to the headless fish from now on.     

Recipe #2 – Grilled Tuna Loin with Soy   

This was a much simpler recipe to prepare (physically and psychologically).  No fish eyes glaring at you.   I also liked the fact that this requires little to no grocery shopping.  Most of us have lemon, soy and sesame oil sitting in our fridge.  You just need the fish.      

Tuna marinading


Tuna with sesame seeds and green onion


Recipe #3 – Pan-seared Salmon with Pesto Crust 

This was my favourite dish.  Sauteing the salmon first, followed by baking it gave the fish a wonderful crispness.  Topped with the homemade pesto (also freshly made by us in class) was the perfect complement.  I would have licked the bowl clean if there wasn’t a professional chef standing in front of me.       

Salmon with pesto


Recipe #4 – Flounder en Papillotte  

This recipe has a nice ring to it.  If only I had the French accent to make it sound as wonderful as it looks and tastes.   The Mediterranean “salsa” was just what this mild fish needed.   

Flounder with capers, tomatoes and herbs


I have parchment paper at home but never knew what to do with it.  Now I do – I have a fun way of surprising my guests with dinner AND keeping my pans clean(er).  So if you’re over at my place and this little package is placed in front of you, you know what to expect – Flounder en Papillotte!    

Flounder wrapped in parchment paper


 There you have it!  4 recipes, 3 hours and 2 finger condoms later, I was one happy girl.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2010 3:14 pm

    Oh I am still sorry I missed that one!

  2. Natasha Brault permalink
    May 5, 2010 12:27 pm

    I am soooooo jealous! I have wanted to do these classes for ages. Am definitely signing up soon! Your blog has been great, btw.

    • May 5, 2010 2:35 pm

      Thanks Natasha! I’m starting to save up for my next round of classes. Or hoping that Santa Claus will be good to me again this year : )

  3. May 4, 2010 7:29 pm

    I received an entire Calphalon One set for my birthday and the matching stainless omelette pans. Which due their lifetime warranty I’ve swapped out once already!, time for cast iron dutch ovens and grill pans.

    Have you found your perfect chefs knife yet?

    • May 4, 2010 10:04 pm

      Lucky you! I was also spolied last Christmas with my first 2 pieces of Calphalon cookware (a wok and saute pan). The rest of my pots and pans from Walmart (shhh) are also getting replaced. Slowly but surely. Are you happy with yours?

      After using REAL knives in my cooking class I realized what I’ve been missing out on. I was spoiled again with a few Henckels knives the following Christmas. What a difference.

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