Wednesday, July 13, 2011

happy summer!

we are halfway into july with some great classes and events behind us ... and many more to come! thought i’d share a few.

the urban element kicked off the season on june 18th with local chef richard nigro’s beer, bourbon and grilling class. it was a gorgeous day ... warm and sunny with a light breeze. the bbq’s were rolled out to the back door, fired up and made ready for action.

the sold out class of grilling enthusiasts gathered at 10am in the kitchen, hosted by the charming barbara (famous for remembering everyone’s name within five minutes). we had some new folks and some ue regulars with us ... everyone enjoyed this informative and engaging class. there was meat - a lot of meat!! pork, chicken, and beef, all done up with an amazing variety of rubs and marinades that chef richard has created from scratch. (in fact, he is selling his products locally at sasloves on wellington, and the red apron on gladstone avenue). the kitchen was busy with participants creating yummy sides such as red cabbage slaw, grilled naan, plantain fritters, and tomato-avocado salsa, to mention a few. and everyone took turns on the grill with chef richard at their side offering up his secrets of great grilling and bbq.

our next grilling intensive was led by chef charlotte langley of the whalesbone. grilling fundamentals: the heat is on (the first of three this summer) was an introduction to chef langley’s unique approach on grilling techniques and accompaniments. with recipes for such sauces as ‘southern funk’ and the ‘mediterranean invasion’ lovingly slathered over chicken wings, lamb chops and some of the biggest scallops i’ve yet to see, the participants had plenty to do and plenty to eat. it was another perfect summer day to be outside around the grills. in fact, we’ve had to add a bottle of sunscreen to our first aid supply!

on a side note and in closing, my favourite event this time of year is now a distant memory ... but still worth a mention. oysterfest, the annual event hosted by josh, kate, charlotte and the rest of the whalesbone crew just gets better and better. we arrived to the outdoor site on kent street about an hour before shucking began. as an ‘oyster-girl’, running shucked oysters from the shuckers onstage ... to the judges backstage ... and finally to delighted onlookers for sampling, i was in the thick of it and enjoyed every minute. top local and visiting shuckers and chefs from ontario and quebec competed against each other. the contest closed with chef mike poliquin from metropolitain brassiere (the winner of the chef contest) beating the rodney of rodney’s oyster house ... very exciting! i saw many good friends, ate a lot of oysters, drank beau’s beer, danced to the devillaires and the soul jazz orchestra ... and didn’t even get rained on. perfection!

again ... wishing everyone the happiest of summer days. till next time!