ELLICSR Kitchen Community Friends: Year in Review

Written By Geremy Capone

What a year it has been in the ELLICSR Kitchen. Christy and I met and interacted with some incredible people who’ve taught us a lot. I learned so much this year - how cold it needs to be before tapping trees for maple syrup, the amazing power of cacao, the inspiring stories of our ELLICSR Kitchen friends, and more. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the guest hosts who’ve come to the ELLICSR Kitchen this year.

Image of hot chocolate in a mug.

We started the year off strong when Health & Wellness Entrepreneur Rose Reisman joined Christy and myself behind the kitchen counter and inspired people about the art of living well. Her recipe for sweet potato fries with cinnamon & maple syrup was seriously addictive!

February ushered in the month of romance and, of course, chocolate. Michael Sacco, founder of the artisan chocolate shop ChocoSol, filled the room with his passion and excitement for the powerful cacao bean and all the good things that come from it. He treated the audience to some chocolate history and knowledge, and the rich and decadent hot chocolate tea wasn’t half bad either ;) CACAO!

If you haven’t heard of Amy’s Food Adventures and Charming Desserts, the amazing Toronto food blog and dessert shop of delicious French and Asian inspired baked goods, then you are definitely missing out. Amy Lu took our class on an adventure using green tea matcha powder and black sesame seeds to make some amazing cookies.

Image of maple pulled pork tenderloin

In 2012, Ron Reid taught us everything there was to know about garlic. We were thrilled to have him back in April 2013 to share his other food passion (the other half of his Reids Sweet and Savoury business): maple syrup. “Liquid Gold”, “Syrup of the Gods”, “Canada Sauce” are just a few of the nicknames bestowed on the amazing product that is maple syrup. Ron taught us everything from the tree tapping process, to how he boils the sap into the delicious syrup we know and love. We used his very own maple syrup to make a mouthwatering maple glazed pulled pork tenderloin. Oh ya!

In May, Chef and Owner of Lisa Shamai Cuisinère showed us her favorite healthy breakfast ideas. I loved her nifty little trick of using muffin tins to make some personalized huevos rancheros. Yum!

In June I was so happy to introduce our ELLICSR Kitchen family to a member of my own family and one of my culinary inspirations growing up, my Zia (Aunt) Anna. She absolutely loves to cook, and it shows. She’s all about rustic cooking with big flavours, and keeping it simple in the kitchen. My Zia’s creamy rose almond sauce for pasta was so tasty, it’s hard to believe we prepared it in under 5 minutes.

And talking about big flavours, we had Toronto food blogger Nadia Wasti of For the Love of Yum take us into the world of modern Pakistani cuisine. I have always loved the flavours from Pakistan but only then learned how to make a proper Tarka seasoning which we used in a delicious potato salad. We also prepared a fresh new take on French toast, seasoning it with cardamom and topping it off with a mango and lime chutney.

In September we had a very special class where we were joined by Desneige, one of our youngest guest hosts and a cancer survivor. She inspired the class with a story on her cancer journey and her love for cooking. I absolutely loved Desneige’s cheesy broccoli soup. Talk about comfort food.

Image of cardamom French toast

Working at ELLICSR you get to meet amazing people and I love to hear when they are as a passionate for food as I am. Our Volunteer Resources Program Coordinator at the University Health Network, Pirkko Shalden, is responsible for training some of the wonderful volunteers that come to help me in the kitchen. She was also a guest for one of our classes in October showcasing her love for Finnish dishes and food culture as a whole. Pirkko shared her father’s recipe for pickled beets and roasted root vegetable salad.

For the entire month of November the ELLICSR kitchen focused on prostate cancer nutrition. We were honoured to have Prostate Cancer Canada and prostate cancer survivor, Jim Sullivan, join us in the kitchen. What a blast! Jim shared his incredible story and advocated to the audience to tell their brothers, fathers and husbands to get tested! On the menu that day was sweet potato pie with brazil nut crust…more please.

In December, to close off the year and really celebrate the holidays, we wanted to treat our ELLICSR Kitchen family with some fun and tasty eats. Comfort food was the focus and what’s more comforting then a warm bowl of hearty soup with ice cream for dessert? We took care of the soup while special guest Ice Volcano Ice Cream made us some of the best ice cream I have ever tasted. Using liquid nitrogen, this cool duo made the class some delicious fig and honey ice cream in less than a minute. What a great way to end the year.

On behalf of Christy, myself, our eager and energetic class participants, and the entire ELLICSR team, thank you to all the ELLICSR Kitchen guest hosts who made 2013 one to remember.


For more information on our ELLICSR Kitchen guests, check out our kitchen guests page. And for any culinary questions you may have, please email me at geremy@ellicsrkitchen.ca or tweet @ELLICSRkitchen