Review: Cooking Classes at Calphalon Culinary Center

Have you ever wondered where in the city you can get a relaxed but professional cooking class experience? Look no further than Calphalon Culinary Center, located in the core of downtown Toronto at King St. and Spadina, which may provide just what you’re looking for. Whether you are looking to learn basic skills or just update your personal book of recipes, Calphalon offers an abundance of classes for every skill level and personal taste.

After taking one of Calphalon’s Italian cooking classes several years ago, I decided to head back recently to try one of their hands-on seafood-oriented classes: Sustainable Fish 201. I arrived at the class for its 6pm start time and was met with a delicious butternut squash soup appetizer to warm my appetite. Various drinks were also available for purchase throughout the class, so you can enjoy a glass of wine or two as you cook through the three hours of class time. The chef, who was informative, friendly and interactive, began by giving us a background on the importance of purchasing and consuming fish that are farmed in ways that ensure long-term health and stability of the species. 

With only twelve cooking stations, the classes are small and intimate, giving you the chance to ask questions and receive personal attention. Included at each station are two gas-range burners and all the high-quality cookware, utensils, and accessories needed to prepare that night’s menu. In our class, we made four different types of fish recipes, including a pan-seared Arctic char with fennel salad and a poached black cod filet with crispy shallots and soy glaze. After each recipe we were given the chance to either taste what we’d cooked or pack it up in take-home containers for later. 

What I really enjoyed most about the class was its environment. After a long workday, I don’t always look forward to the idea of doing a lot of prepping, cooking, and cleaning up. Calphalon took care of all the tedious steps by providing us with pre-measured ingredients for each recipe. The chef then walked us through each step of the cooking process as we chopped, poached, fried, and glazed our fish creations. At the end of the night, the entire cleanup was taken care of so we could head home, leaving the dirty dishes and our stresses behind.

When the class is over, you are also given the opportunity to browse around the center’s store and purchase cookware that you may have used directly in the class. The classes therefore provide the benefit of allowing you to fully test out different cookware and utensils so you know exactly how the items you’re purchasing feel and function.

Sustainable Fish 201 is one of many types of classes offered at Calphalon. Classes offered include demonstration classes, hands-on classes, wine classes, and specialty classes. The hands-on classes even include couples classes, and range from the basis such as Knife Skills or Sauteing and Pan-Frying to themed classes such as Arabian Nights and French Bistro, along with classes focused on one particular type of food, such as Beef 101. 

All in all, the $150 price for this single evening class was well worth it as it was a fun departure from the usual evening out and I walked away with delicious recipes and new skills. The next time you’re looking for a fun new activity to try with friends, your significant other, or even just on your own, consider trying a cooking class at Calphalon.