Local Chefs Teach at #EATalian Fare

EATalian was a cooking demo event held at the Urban Fare Yaletown location over two days, Saturday, April 11th and Sunday, April 12th. We joined three local chefs in four hour-long interactive cooking demos.

Tickets to the event were $10 for one demo or $30 for all four. All the demos included a tasting as well. All proceeds went towards the BC Children's Hospital. Food and helping charity at the same time? Sign me up! It was a win-win experience!

An area in the centre of the store was partitioned off for the demo, which had room for 20 people per session.

The first demo was with local chef, Chef David Robertson of the Dirty Apron Cooking School & Delicatessen and author of the bestselling cookbook, Dirty Apron Cookbook. Chef David demonstrated how to make a Classic Italian Osso Buco with Garlic & Asiago Polenta. All attendees received the recipes so we could recreate them at home. While he cooked the delicious smelling dish before our eyes, he also gave us useful tips to help us in the kitchen.

Tip: Keep all vegetable scraps (Even the onion peels!) in a zip lock bag in fridge. Once it's full, you can make vegetable stock at home!
Tip: Grapeseed oil is a high temp cooking oil and has no odour! No more stinky home. Olive oil should only be used for low to medium heat. 
Tip: Stainless steel and cold water gets rid of onion/garlic smell from your fingers - rub your sink or faucet!

This is a tip that is repeated consistently from chef to chef to chef:
Tip: Don't use "cooking" wine but you don't need to buy a $50 bottle either. Use something that you'd drink ordinarily. 

While Chef David was up demoing the dish for us, his colleague was busy preparing 20 smaller plates of the same dish for the hungry attendees! The veal was really tender and the sauce was so delicious! So much flavour!

After the demo, Chef David was autographing cookbooks for those who requested it. $1 of each sale of the cookbook was donated to BC Children's Hospital. Chef David is also going on tour to promote the launch of his cookbook in the US. It is already a bestseller in Canada and also recently won 1st place for design in the Alcuin Society Book Design Awards!

The second demo was by Chef Colin Aspinall from HillsFoods, which also supplies exotic meats at Urban Fare. He showed us how to make Wild Boar Sugo with Rustic Pasta. What is sugo? It is essence, flavour - sauce with lots of flavour.

Wild boar has more fat than pork, which adds more flavour.

Tip: To get a nice caramelization on the pork, don't stir so much. This tip extends to a lot of other foods as well; leave the food to cook and leave it alone!

The dish was amazing! It was very big on flavour! One of the reason it tasted that good was because the amazing sauce was complimented with a great pasta.

Artisan pasta usually as a rough edge to make the sauce stick. Rusticell pasta was slowly dried so retains moisture, therefore you don't need to use as much as a conventional cheap pasta to get the same volume. It's good to remember that an average tasting pasta can bring down a great tasting sauce and vice-versa.

Besides pasta, olive oil was also talked about. Did you know, next to currency, olive oil is the most counterfeited product in the world? A good olive oil shouldn't go rancid. If it does, it's probably because there were other types of oils mixed in! Gasp!

What's this? Champagne glasses? We took a little break in the middle of the demos to savour some bubbly.

Val D'oca Prosecco. It's a great summer wine - good for sipping.

Chef David Robertson returned to show us how easy it is to make homemade pasta. The main difference between dried and fresh pasta is that dried uses water while fresh uses egg.

He made us a delicious arugula & goat cheese ravioli with brown butter sage sauce. To make brown butter, heat butter over high heat and listen for the crackling. Once the crackling stops, BAM! You have brown butter!

Tip: You can make brown butter ahead of time and keep it in a fridge for a month. 

The last demo, is of course a dessert! Chef Takashi Mizukami subbed in for Chef Kat Tuason on Sunday. He is also from Dirty Apron Cooking School.

Tip: Don't crack an egg on the edge of a bowl; crack it on the counter or a flat surface so that you don't get any egg shells in and also cracks straighter. 

Chef Takashi made this beautiful frangelico & red wine poached pear tart with muscat sabayon. Heavenly was the only word to describe it.

This event raised about $1040 for BC Children's Hospital! Attendees left the event bellies full and feeling happy about having helped a good cause. I hope Urban Fare does more of these cooking events!

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