Fresh and Feisty

This week, I was lucky enough to be invited to an exclusive cooking class with local chef, Renée Lavallée, also known as the “Feisty Chef.”

Lavallée is renowned for preparing the freshest locally sourced meals and being the culinary mastermind behind Two if By Sea’s family dinners. I’ve been following her blog for a while now and was excited to get the chance to watch her work in person.
Halifax is the final stop for a unique cooking series called Passion for Fresh in which Samsung Canada offers twelve Canadians in each city the opportunity to cook with a local chef using the new Samsung Slide-In Flex Duo Range. For our special preview, Lavallée led our class through the steps of preparing a three-course gourmet meal in less than an hour.
Held at Two if By Sea in Dartmouth, each participant had their own cooking station set up as Lavallée coached us through a meal that (I can only guess) normally would’ve taken me hours to painstakingly prepare. My guest and I helped roll out the meatballs for the hearty starter of meatball soup while other participants were given assignments as well (think pomegranate seed extracting, herb chopping and cauliflower dicing). Our main course was lamb locally sourced from Oulton’s drizzled with a tahini sauce and paired with roasted cauliflower salad with pomegranate and pumpkin seeds. True to form, Lavallée used the freshest ingredients and the pairings were colourful and creative. The show-stopper for me was the roasted pears with caramel sauce prepared for dessert. Surrounded in a mountain of salt (who would’ve guessed?) to help keep the pears’ original shape, the pears were baked to golden perfection. Lavallée was able to prepare multiple dishes at the same time using the Slide-In Flex Duo Range and made it all look effortless.
Stylish guests included designer, Deb Nelson, fashion blogger, Kayla Short, and food writer and stylist, Lindsay Wilson, among others. After the aprons came off, we all had the opportunity to join in a communal dinner TIBS style at a beautifully set table with fresh flowers and local wines, of course. The food and company were pretty sensational and, as I predicted, the amazing roasted pear dessert with the most heavenly caramel sauce was my favourite.
Now, will I be able to recreate such an impressive meal at home without Lavallée’s easygoing coaching or the magical Samsung oven? It’s a dicey proposition, but I’ve definitely picked up a few tips….

Lavallée proudly showcases the pears moored in a mound of salt.

Lavallée proudly showcases the pears moored in a mound of salt.

table TIBS

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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