Friday, October 26, 2007

Marrying Friends and Cooking: Paradiso

Who knew that cooking with friends would be such a pleasure? Paradiso Restaurant in Oakville hosted a wonderful cooking class to teach us how to prepare the "Signature Dishes" of Paradiso. While preparing our cornmeal pizza crust, chopping our tomatoes and pureeing our pesto, my group of friends (who are also clients) and I had a laugh and got to know each other.

We arrived early to check out the scene and make friends with our waiter, Richard, who was super! Sharing our stories over a glass of wine was relaxing, it was so nice to unwind and be social. As everyone arrived, we chose our seats and Chef Franco gave us our aprons and we headed into the kitchen. The first lesson of the day was to get in there and feel the food, work with it, enjoy it. Press the pizza crust, don't be shy! "My girls" and I got to know each other a little bit more, we shared lots of laughs and told a couple of stories. We attracted a fair bit of attention (What? There's nothing wrong with that).

I was familiar with our counter-top, stainless steel, the food processor ( I had bought a new one a couple of weeks earlier), the knives, although we did learn a new way to hold it. But I was there to step out of my element, ADD that olive oil, work over the open flame, which isn't the most natural thing for me. I did it, I even volunteered. The real test, though, came after our wonderful meal. The shrimp bisques was amazing, our pizza was very tasty, the Moroccan chicken was excellent...and onto the Creme Brulee. You do know how that's prepared? With a BLOWTORCH! Anyone who knows me has know that I don't do barbeques, I like the taste, but that cylinder of gas freaks me out. But I jumped right in there with Chef Franco to caramelize the double chocolate (of course, my favorite), the caramel and the tiramisu Creme Brulees. I'm not too bad with a blowtorch...My friends were there to give me some courage, the Chef acted like he'd never heard of such a thing, so on I went, not a problem.

Great conversations, stories, laughs with friends who now know each other and who know a different side of me (their trainer). Thank you so much, ladies, that was fun! We will do it again on Thursday January 17th, 2008 and Chef Franco has designed a lovely "Healthy Choices" menu for us that sounds delicious, of course. Spaces are very limited, so please register with