Earlier last month, I was invited to Fusion Kitchen‘s event – A Taste of Pakistan. Fusion Kitchen is a start-up social venture that helps recent immigrant women develop their transferable skill sets, work experience, and self-confidence through teaching cooking classes focused on dishes specific to their cultures. Sonam Swarup & Chantelle Buffie from Simon Fraser University started up this project.
Sonam and Chantelle started Fusion Kitchen because they were both passionate about helping this particular demographic of women overcome the barriers they face to get in employment in Canada. There’s so many opportunities in Canada, and these women have so much to offer, but because of a combination of things, employers don’t tend to give them that “first chance” in the Canadian workforce. Having mothers both from ethnic background who came to Canada at a much older age also made the issue resonate more personally with them. Fusion Kitchen combines their love for community giving, culture, food, and travel into one.
During this event, our special guest – Shahnaz Afsar led us through the evening. She emigrated from Pakistan to Canada and has a background in the education sector. We have 3 hours to work in groups to create a whole meal.
As we arrived, we were greeted by Shanaz and given traditional Pakistan appetizers and juice. All the other attendees were able to mingle and have a snack before getting down and dirty.
Before we got into the cooking, we were given a quick lecture on Pakistani culture and quick steps for the recipes we were going to create. The audience is able to ask questions anytime.
All the ingredients were nicely laid out for us and it was a joy using spices and ingredients that were foreign to me.
Everyone was split up into groups. It’s a great chance to meet new people in the community. Plus team building is always so much fun! At the end of the class, the best group wins a prize!
We all had the recipes in hand and we begun prepping all the ingredients. I loved all the vibrant colors and smells.
You really gotta get your hands down and dirty when prepping.
One of the bes tricks I’ve learned is how to separate the yolk from its egg. You crack the top of the egg so there is a small hole. Then, you can easily pour the egg white out without getting the yolk or egg-shell in it.
You make everything from start to finish. These were our Lentils and Mint Kebabs!
There was a cooking area on the other side of the kitchen. I spent much of my time prepping, so I didn’t spend much time here. Our group left most of the cooking to Colleen.
After a while, everyone’s prep area would become a mess. hahaha. Sometimes the ingredients can look similar. There were times when we were just tossing things around trying to look for something. A great thing about a shared kitchen space is that everyone is willing to help each other out.
With all the hard work, we were able to enjoy the meal together as a class!! The food we cooked accommodated vegetarian as well.
Lentils and Mint Kebabs
Potatoes with Cumin
Chicken Makhni (Spinach) was my favorite. I don’t know if it was the recipe or the awesome cooking abilities of the class, but it was so good. It was so good that I am even considering cooking it at home. (Me cooking?! I know right?)
You can grab as little or as much as you want…but keeping in mind others appetites too. It was really good!
My group didn’t win the prize for the best group, but it was very full to compete. The winning group got the ingredients for one of the recipes.
It was really fun and I had a great time! We all got a booklet at the end of the class that summarized the event and included all the recipes! I would suggest this cooking class to anyone who want to try to cook new types of cuisines, while meeting new people!
Check out their next cooking class: http://www.thefusionkitchen.com/our-next-cooking-class/